Depth stratified light trap sampling reveals variation in the depth distribution of late-stage cryptobenthic reef fish larvae

Douglas, Sophia R.L., Tebbett, Sterling B., Choukroun, Severine, Goatley, Christopher H.R., and Bellwood, David R. (2023) Depth stratified light trap sampling reveals variation in the depth distribution of late-stage cryptobenthic reef fish larvae. Coral Reefs, 42 (2). pp. 507-512.

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Cryptobenthic fishes are abundant on coral reefs, and their larvae dominate the ichthyoplankton in near reef waters. However, we have a limited understanding of how pelagic and on-reef processes are linked, especially how late-stage cryptobenthic fish larvae use near reef waters. We therefore used depth-stratified light trap sampling from 2 to 27 m at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. This revealed clear depth variation in late-stage larval fish assemblages. Gobiidae larvae characterised mid-depth (13 m) samples. By contrast, larval Apogonidae were only abundant in shallow samples. Deep samples were typified by (non-target) adult apogonids. Contrary to expectations that poor-swimming cryptobenthic larvae would be flow-sheltering in deeper water, our results suggest that late-stage cryptobenthic larvae use large portions of the water column, although their preferred positions may be taxon-specific.

Item ID: 78338
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: Apogonidae, Coral reef, Cryptobenthic reef fishes, Gobiidae, Larval fish, Vertical distribution
Copyright Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE140100020, ARC FL190100062
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2023 01:23
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 80%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3708 Oceanography > 370803 Physical oceanography @ 20%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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