Coral decline threatens fish biodiversity in marine reserves

Jones, Geoffrey P., McCormick, Mark I., Srinivasan, Maya, and Eagle, Janelle V. (2004) Coral decline threatens fish biodiversity in marine reserves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101 (21). pp. 8251-8253.

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The worldwide decline in coral cover has serious implications for the health of coral reefs. But what is the future of reef fish assemblages? Marine reserves can protect fish from exploitation, but do they protect fish biodiversity in degrading environments? The answer appears to be no, as indicated by our 8-year study in Papua New Guinea. A devastating decline in coral cover caused a parallel decline in fish biodiversity, both in marine reserves and in areas open to fishing. Over 75% of reef fish species declined in abundance and 50% declined to less than half of their original numbers. The greater the dependence species have on living coral as juvenile recruitment sites, the greater the observed decline in abundance. Several rare coral-specialists became locally extinct. We suggest that fish biodiversity is threatened wherever permanent reef degradation occurs and warn that marine reserves will not always be sufficient to ensure their survival.

Item ID: 513
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: marine protected area, coral reef, habitat degradation, biodiversity, extinction, habitat specialization, recruitment
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Copyright © 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences.

Date Deposited: 28 May 2007
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8399 Other Animal Production and Animal Primary Products > 839999 Animal Production and Animal Primary Products not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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