Effects of habitat fragmentation on the recruitment and early post-settlement survival of coral reef fishes

Blandford, M.I., Hillcoat, K.B., Pratchett, M.S., and Hoey, A.S. (2023) Effects of habitat fragmentation on the recruitment and early post-settlement survival of coral reef fishes. Marine Environmental Research, 183. 105798.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marenvres.2022...


The combined effects of global climate change and local anthropogenic stressors are leading to increasing loss and fragmentation of habitats. On coral reefs, habitat loss has been shown to influence the abundance and composition of associated fish assemblages, yet few studies have considered how habitat fragmentation may influence reef fish populations and assemblages. Herein, we compared survival, growth and recruitment of reef fish among experimental patches composed of six similar sized colonies of finely branching Pocillopora spp. but with different degrees of fragmentation: coral colonies were clumped (unfragmented), divided into two groups (low fragmentation), three groups (moderate fragmentation) or six groups (high fragmentation). Thirty settlement-stage Pomacentrus amboinensis were tagged, released onto each of the experimental patches, and their survival monitored daily for 11 days. Abundance and species richness of all reef fishes that subsequently recruited to the patches were also recorded, and used to analyse recruitment and community composition. There were no detectable differences among fragmentation treatments in the abundance or composition of reef fish assemblages that recruited to the patches, however, fragmentation influenced the survivorship of P. amboinensis. Highest survival of P. amboinensis was recorded on the unfragmented patches (61%.11 days−1) and highly fragmented habitat patches (54%.11 days−1) and lowest survival on low and moderate fragmentation treatments (47% and 48%.11 days−1, respectively). This suggests that there may be multiple competing processes that moderate mortality (e.g., predation) in unfragmented versus highly fragmented habitats, with moderate levels of habitat fragmentation having the greatest influence on the early post-settlement survival of coral reef fish.

Item ID: 77485
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-0291
Related URLs:
Copyright Information: © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2023 01:40
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 1
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page