Broadening our horizons: seascape use by coral reef-associated fishes in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea, is common and diverse

Sambrook, Katie, Bonin, Mary C., Bradley, Michael, Cumming, Graeme S., Duce, Stephanie, Andrefouet, Serge, and Hoey, Andrew S. (2020) Broadening our horizons: seascape use by coral reef-associated fishes in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea, is common and diverse. Coral Reefs, 39. pp. 1187-1197.

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Abstract

There is increasing evidence that non-reef habitats in the seascape surrounding coral reefs are widely used by reef-associated fishes. However, our understanding of seascape use in the Indo-Pacific region is incomplete due to its large geographical range and as a consequence, considerable environmental variation (e.g. tidal regimes). We used remote video cameras to survey reef-associated fishes within five habitat types (coral reef slope, coral reef flat, macroalgal beds, mangroves and seagrass meadows) around the Tigak Islands, Kavieng, Papua New Guinea. Of the 282 shallow-water reef-associated species observed across 360 videos, 35% (99 species) were recorded in non-reef habitats, the majority (78 species) on multiple occasions. We found that macroalgal beds dominated by low-complexity algal genera (e.g. Halimeda, Caulerpa) were used extensively by reef-associated fishes, complementing previous research that has documented the use of canopy-forming macroalgae (e.g. Sargassum). Mean species richness and relative abundances (MaxN) of reef-associated fishes were twofold higher in macroalgal beds than mangroves or seagrass. Interestingly, mangroves contained the most distinct fish assemblage of the three non-reef habitats, including several reef-associated species that were not recorded from any other habitat type. This suggests that mangroves possess attributes not shared by other shallow non-reef, or even reef, habitats. Importantly, many of the fish families commonly found in non-reef habitats (i.e. lethrinids, lutjanids) are targeted by local fishers and are thus critical to sustaining local livelihoods. Our study demonstrates that non-reef habitat use is common for many reef-associated fishes and highlights the need to incorporate a range of habitats into study designs to better understand habitat use patterns in the Indo-Pacific. Given the widespread degradation of coral reefs and other shallow-water habitats, we emphasize the need to recognize that reefs are embedded within a mosaic of habitat types that influence patterns and processes and that management strategies should be scaled appropriately.

Item ID: 63388
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: Habitat complementarity, Seascape ecology, Mangrove, Macroalgae, Seagrass, Indo-Pacific
Copyright Information: © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CECRS), James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2020 07:38
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
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