Effects of coral restoration on fish communities: snapshots of long-term, multiregional responses and implications for practice

Hein, Margaux Y., Beeden, Roger, Birtles, R. Alastair, Chase, Tory J., Couture, Fanny, Haskin, Elouise, Marshall, Nadine, Ripple, Kayla, Terry, Lisa, Willis, Bette L., Willis, Reanna, Gardiner, Naomi M., and UNSPECIFIED (2020) Effects of coral restoration on fish communities: snapshots of long-term, multiregional responses and implications for practice. Restoration Ecology, 28 (5). pp. 1158-1171.

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Abstract

Coral restoration is widely used around the world to address dramatic declines in coral cover; however, very few studies have looked specifically at the temporal response of fish assemblages (i.e. abundance and diversity) to coral restoration. Several critical reef functions and processes are driven by fishes, thereby making their recovery and responses around restoration structures key indicators of success. This study evaluates fish abundance and community composition on restoration plots following 8–12 years of restoration activity, in four locations (two Caribbean and two Indo‐Pacific). Responses were very complex with region‐, site‐, and body size‐specific patterns. Overall, fish abundance only increased in Indo‐Pacific sites where damselfish responded positively to increased coral cover and topographic complexity. Restoration effects on other fish families and particularly on larger bodied reef fish were negative or neutral at all locations. If restoration initiatives are going to substantively improve the condition and recovery of degraded reef fish communities, restoration efforts need to be planned, designed, and monitored based on fish‐specific habitat requirements and locally specific community dynamics.

Item ID: 66843
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1526-100X
Keywords: body size, community composition, coral cover, coral restoration, management, monitoring, reef fish, structural complexity
Copyright Information: © 2020 Society for Ecological Restoration
Funders: James Cook University (JCU), Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies)
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2021 23:59
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410405 Environmental rehabilitation and restoration @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180507 Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments @ 100%
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