Habitat patch size and mating system as determinants of social group size in coral-dwelling fishes

Thompson, V.J., Munday, P.L., and Jones, G.P. (2007) Habitat patch size and mating system as determinants of social group size in coral-dwelling fishes. Coral Reefs, 26 (1). pp. 165-174.

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It is thought that the size and dispersion of habitat patches can determine the size and composition of animal social groups, however, this has rarely been tested. The relationship between group size, the mating system, and habitat patch size in six species of coral-dwelling gobies was examined. For all species, there was a positive correlation between coral colony size and social group size, however the strength of this relationship varied among species. Paragobiodon xanthosomus exhibited the strongest relationship and a manipulative field experiment confirmed that coral colony size limited group size in this species. For other species including Paragobiodon melanosomus and Eviota bifasciata, either a highly conservative mating system (P. melanosomus), or increased mobility (E. bifasciata) appeared to disrupt the relationship between habitat patch size and group size. There was no consistent relationship between the mating system exhibited and group size among the species investigated. These results demonstrate that habitat patch size, mobility, and mating systems can interact in complex ways to structure group size even among closely related species.

Item ID: 5199
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: social organization; group size; habitat specialization; mating system; Gobiidae
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2009 01:09
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 70%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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