Patterns of fish utilisation in a tropical IndoPacific mangrove-coral seascape, New Caledonia

Dubuc, Alexia, Waltham, Nathan J., Baker, Ronald, Marchand, Cyril, and Sheaves, Marcus (2019) Patterns of fish utilisation in a tropical IndoPacific mangrove-coral seascape, New Caledonia. PLoS ONE, 14 (4). e0207168.

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Mangrove forests are important habitats for fish. However, their utilisation by fish, and the specific values they confer, are still not fully understood. This study describes how fish use mangrove forests in an Indo-Pacific mangrove-coral reef seascape. Sampling was conducted using underwater video cameras (UVCs) to describe spatial and temporal variations in fish assemblages across a small-scale (~ 2.5 km2) system, and over the tidal and lunar cycle. UVCs were deployed in the two main component habitats of mangrove forests: at the mangrove forest edge, and inside the forest (5 m from the forest edge), to establish patterns of utilisation of fish across the tidal and lunar cycle. Proximity to coral reefs had a strong influence on the mangrove fish community, as most fish recorded were reef-associated. Juveniles of 12 reef species were observed, including two species classified as vulnerable on the IUCN list, and one endemic species. Fish assemblages on the mangrove edge differed significantly from those inside the forest. Most fish utilised the forest edge, with few species making regular use of in-forest habitats, supporting the contention that most fish species remain on the edge and potentially retreat into the forest for opportunistic feeding, or when threatened by larger predators. Species-specific patterns of utilisation varied across the tidal and lunar cycle. Small differences in depth profiles and substrate across the small-scale system had a significant effect on fish assemblages, highlighting the importance of accounting for spatial heterogeneity in these factors. These data provide important information for managers to implement adequate conservation strategies that include broader interconnected habitat mosaics.

Item ID: 58119
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Keywords: tropical; mangrove; fish; coral; seascape; New Caledonia
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Copyright Information: Copyright © 2019 Dubuc et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 3 of the following PhD thesis: Dubuc, Alexia Ida Anne (2019) Dissolved oxygen as a constraint for the structure of mangrove fish assemblages and their patterns of mangrove utilisation: a comparison between natural and disturbed mangrove ecosystems through the Australian and Caledonian coastlines. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Projects and Grants: DFAT Australian Awards Scholarship
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2019 01:23
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 30%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410299 Ecological applications not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 30%
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