Microhabitat utilisation patterns in cryptobenthis coral reef fish communities

Depczynski, M., and Bellwood, D.R. (2004) Microhabitat utilisation patterns in cryptobenthis coral reef fish communities. Marine Biology, 145 (3). pp. 455-463.

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Abstract

The cryptobenthic reef fish communities from four microhabitats at Orpheus Island, central Great Barrier Reef are described. Eighty-four 0.4m2 samples yielded a total of 368 individuals from 42 species in eight families, with a mean density of 11 individuals m–2 (±1.7SE) and 2.9 species 0.4 m–2 (±0.2SE). Caves contained the highest number of both individuals (120) and species (26), followed by sand/rubble, soft coral, and open reefs. Microhabitat associations included cave and soft coral specialists. Site fidelity in 71 tagged individuals of 4 species was high, with a mean recapture rate of 53% (±8.4SE) remaining within the ~0.4 m2 sampling area after a 48-h period. Behavioural observations also reflect this limited movement, with the dominant mode of behaviour in 7 species being a motionless state (67.5% ±11.6SE), followed by feeding (21.8% ±8.7SE), hiding (6.3% ±1.6SE), and swimming (4.4% ±1.5SE). Two distinct behavioural groups are identified: (1) sedentary forms, characterised by long periods of immobility (5 species); and (2) winnowers, characterised by long feeding bouts (2 species). The fine-scale partitioning of microhabitats, restricted home ranges, and sedentary behaviour of many cryptobenthic reef fish species suggest that this reef fish community exhibits similar patterns of habitat utilisation to their larger reef-fish counterparts, but at a much finer scale.

Item ID: 6791
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: behaviour; life histories; microhabitat; reef fishes
ISSN: 1432-1793
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2010 23:41
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969902 Marine Oceanic Processes (excl. Climate Related) @ 51%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961303 Protected Conservation Areas in Marine Environments @ 49%
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