Keep your friends close and your anemones closer - ecology of the endemic wideband anemonefish, Amphiprion latezonatus

Steinberg, Rosemary K., van der Meer, Martin H., Pratchett, Morgan S., van Herwerden, Lynne, and Hobbs, Jean-Paul A. (2020) Keep your friends close and your anemones closer - ecology of the endemic wideband anemonefish, Amphiprion latezonatus. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 103. pp. 1513-1526.

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Endemic marine species often exist as metapopulations distributed across several discrete locations, such that their extinction risk is dependent upon population dynamics and persistence at each location. The anemonefish Amphiprion latezonatus is a habitat specialist, endemic to two oceanic islands (Lord Howe and Norfolk) and the adjacent eastern Australian coast from the Sunshine Coast to Southwest Rocks. To determine how extinction risk varies across the limited number of locations where A. latezonatus occurs, we quantified ecological, biological, and behavioural characteristics at six locations and four reef zones. The abundance of A. latezonatus and its host anemones varied considerably throughout its range, with A. latezonatus abundance being very low at Sunshine Coast and Elizabeth Reef, low at Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island, and moderate at North Solitary Island. This species was not detected at Middleton Reef, despite local abundance of their host anemones. Abundance of A. latezonatus was generally correlated with depth and host anemone abundance, from which we infer that extirpation risk is directly proportional to their host anemone population's size. Consistent with this, A. latezonatus social group size was positively correlated with the number of anemones inhabited. A. latezonatus may be impacted by interactions and competition with other anemonefish species in shallow (< 10 m) waters, but competition has little effect in deeper water where population abundances are highest. Significant differences in population characteristics demonstrate a need for location-specific conservation strategies and identify the Sunshine Coast population as most vulnerable.

Item ID: 66098
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-5133
Keywords: Anemone bleaching, Endemic, Climate change, Clownfish, Conservation, Reef
Copyright Information: © Springer Nature B.V. 2020
Funders: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), James Cook University (JCU)/ Griffith University (GU), Australian Government (AG), Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CECRS)
Projects and Grants: GBRMPA Science for Management award, GU/JCU collaborative grant scheme (2011), AG Research Training Program Scholarship, ARC DECRA – DE200101286
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2020 07:47
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190102 Ecosystem adaptation to climate change @ 100%
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