Environmental drivers of sheltering behaviour in large reef fishes

Kerry, James T., and Bellwood, David R. (2017) Environmental drivers of sheltering behaviour in large reef fishes. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 125 (1-2). pp. 254-259.

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Studies of shelter use can provide key insights into the ecology, and structural needs of mobile organisms. Using videos, we examined the usage of tabular corals by large reef fishes, over a 10 week period, compared to multiple environmental drivers: visibility, tide (and depth), irradiance, wind speed (as a proxy for wave energy) and water temperature. We found that two of these predictor variables (visibility and wind speed) had a significant effect and together accounted for almost half of the variation in tabular coral usage by fishes. Increases in both variables correlated with increased shelter use. To date use of shelters by fishes has primarily been attributed to UV avoidance. Our results support this notion as more turbid conditions (reduced visibility) have an attenuating effect on UV irradiance. Additionally, tabular corals may reduce the energetic costs of increased wave energy by reducing incidental water velocity beneath the structure.

Item ID: 52026
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Acropora, coral reef fish, turbidity, shelter, UV irradiation, wave energy
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), James Cook University (JCU)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE140100020, JCU GRS grant
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2018 07:33
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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