Wave energy and spatial variability in community structure of small cryptic coral reef fishes

Depczynski, Martial, and Bellwood, David R. (2005) Wave energy and spatial variability in community structure of small cryptic coral reef fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 303. pp. 283-293.

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The distribution and abundance of small cryptic reef fishes were quantified among microhabitats and reef zones at both exposed and sheltered sites at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. A total of 1042 individuals from 44 species in 8 families were sampled. Marked variation in abundance, species numbers, size-class distribution and species composition were displayed among reef zones at exposed sites; in contrast, comparatively little variation was found in sheltered sites. The exposed, wave-swept front flat reef zone was clearly the most depauperate and species-poor zone with calmer back reef, lagoonal and reef base zones containing the highest numbers of individuals and species. Larger, heavier individuals predominated in exposed wave-swept reef zones whereas smaller, lighter individuals were commonly found in calmer waters. Sheltered sites exhibited little variation among zones. In these sites, microhabitat appeared to play a much greater role in shaping community composition. Overall, 68.5% of all individuals (70.1% at exposed and 65.4% at sheltered sites) were collected from sand/rubble microhabitats as opposed to 31.5% from open reef microhabitats. Assemblages at exposed and sheltered sites exhibited little taxonomic overlap, even of highly abundant species. These results indicate that wave energy plays a significant role in structuring small cryptic coral reef fish communities, with microhabitat type playing a key role in the absence of wave energy.

Item ID: 6841
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: Blenniidae; community ecology; cryptic; distribution; Gobiidae; habitat; reef fish; wave exposure
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2010 04:42
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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