Behavioral trade-offs and habitat associations of coral-dwelling damselfishes (family Pomacentridae)

Chase, T. J., Pratchett, M. S., and Hoogenboom, M. O. (2020) Behavioral trade-offs and habitat associations of coral-dwelling damselfishes (family Pomacentridae). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 633. pp. 141-156.

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Many coral reef fishes are intimately associated with branching corals. While these fishes rely on their host corals for shelter, fishes may exhibit behavioral trade-offs linked to spatial and temporal variations in their association with corals. This study quantified variation in coral use by 5 species of damselfishes, assessing key behavioral traits that determine the extent to which damselfishes interact with their host colonies. In situ behavioral observations revealed marked interspecific differences in diurnal and nocturnal behavior among 5 damselfish species. Dascyllus aruanus and D. reticulatus consistently displayed frequent and sustained interactions with and around corals (i.e. frequent colony visits and high aggressiveness towards other fishes) compared to Chromis viridis, Pomacentrus moluccensis, and P. amboinensis that exhibited weaker associa- tions (i.e. few colony visits and low aggression) with host colonies. Coral bleaching impacted modal diurnal swimming positions, thereby altering damselfish−coral interactions under thermal stress. This research demonstrates that coral-associated damselfishes utilize host colonies in very different ways, with complex variations in behavior that extend beyond simple proximity to host coral. Such among-species variation is likely the result of behavioral trade-offs related to coral association. Understanding species-specific foraging and colony-use behavior is important be- cause habitat degradation may undermine habitat associations of coral−damselfish and associated mutualistic services.

Item ID: 63852
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: coral−fish associations; fish behavior; behavioral trade-offs; species coexistence; colony usage; interspecific variation
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Copyright Information: Copyright © 2020 Inter-Research.
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 3 of the following PhD thesis: Chase, Tory John (2019) Effects of coral-dwelling damselfishes' abundances and diversity on host coral dynamics. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: James Cook University, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies CE140100020
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2020 04:19
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 60%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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