Local fishing influences coral reef fish behavior inside protected areas of the Indo-Pacific

Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A., Graham, Nicholas A.J., Cinner, Joshua E., and Russ, Garry R. (2015) Local fishing influences coral reef fish behavior inside protected areas of the Indo-Pacific. Biological Conservation, 182. pp. 8-12.

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Fishing is altering aquatic ecosystems through changes in the abundance, species composition and behavior of target species. Changes in fish behavior have received relatively little attention, despite significant evidence of behavioral change driven by human impacts mediating function and processes in terrestrial ecosystems, and emerging evidence that the same is true in marine systems even within marine reserves. Here, we measured the wariness of two families of coral reef fishes in both fished areas and marine reserves embedded within a fished seascape along an exploitation gradient ranging from wilderness sites (Chagos) to heavily fished areas (the Philippines). We used linear mixed effect models to identify relationships between fish flight initiation distance (FID) and fishing pressure, fish size, habitat complexity and life-history stage. Critically, fish FID increased with fishing pressure both in fished areas and inside marine reserves. These results imply that as fishing pressure increases in adjacent areas, progressively greater fish wariness may reduce the magnitude of some ecosystem functions within small marine reserves.

Item ID: 41837
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2917
Keywords: behavioral ecology, coral reefs, flight initiation distance, marine reserves, parrotfish, surgeonfish
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), James Cook University Graduate Research Scheme (JCU GRS)
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 16:15
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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