Habitat specialisation, site fidelity and sociality predict homing success in coral reef cardinalfish

Gardiner, N.M., and Jones, G.P. (2016) Habitat specialisation, site fidelity and sociality predict homing success in coral reef cardinalfish. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 558. pp. 81-96.

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Species that home demonstrate faithfulness to a particular location, however not all species with high site fidelity can or will home. These movement decisions are often mediated by a species social behaviour and habitat preferences. Here we explored how habitat specialisation, site fidelity and social traits relate to homing behaviour in five species of cardinalfish (Family: Apogonidae). We also compared species' capacity to home across open water versus continuous reefscapes. To track site fidelity and then homing behaviour the precise location of over 1200 tagged cardinalfish on Kimbe Bay reefs (West New Britain, Papua New Guinea) was visually monitored over time. Following experimental displacement, all species homed quickly across ~ 400m of both open water and continuous reef habitats. Incredibly, individuals of one species homed up to five kilometres across multiple reef and inter-reef passages. Homing was not coupled with site fidelity as both low and high fidelity species homed well. However, it was correlated with the degree of habitat specialisation, with specialist species returning in greater numbers than generalist species. Social traits alone did not predict stronger homing behaviours, but gregarious species with high site fidelity homed better than the less social and less specialised species. Hence, both social factors and habitat preferences appear to influence the propensity to home. Generalist species and those that do not form rigid social groups are more likely to be able to settle for new sites and have less need to return to precise locations.

Item ID: 45208
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: homing, behaviour, habitat specialisation, aggregation, coral reef fish, social preferences, Apogonidae
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Nancy Vernon Rankine Award, James Cook University
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2016 22:34
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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