Variation in the population demographics of Scolopsis bilineatus in response to predators

Hall, A.E., and Kingsford, M.J. (2016) Variation in the population demographics of Scolopsis bilineatus in response to predators. Coral Reefs, 35 (4). pp. 1173-1185.

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Predatory fishes play critical roles in the trophodynamics of coral reefs, and the biomass of predatory fish can be a strong determinant of the structure of reef fish assemblages. In this study, we used variations in predator biomass between management zones on the Great Barrier Reef to examine how predators influence the biomass, mortality, condition, and reproductive potential of a common prey species Scolopsis bilineatus (bridled monocle bream; Nemipteridae). Despite no numerical differences in biomass or mortality, we found significant differences in a variety of demographic traits for S. bilineatus between multiple areas of high and low predator biomass. The size-at-age, condition, and reproductive potential of fish were reduced in marine reserves where predator biomass was high. The response of fish to predators was highly sex dependent; females suffered the greatest reductions in condition and reproductive potential. This study supports the notion that predators can play important roles in regulating prey dynamics and emphasises the importance of understanding top-down control by predators when considering fisheries management techniques and conservation strategies.

Item ID: 47103
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: predator-prey interactions, demography, fishing impacts, trophodynamics, Scolopsis bilineatus, marine reserves
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2017 07:57
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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