WorldWideScience

Sample records for coral reef fishes

  1. Fishing down nutrients on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allgeier, Jacob E.; Valdivia, Abel; Cox, Courtney; Layman, Craig A.

    2016-08-01

    Fishing is widely considered a leading cause of biodiversity loss in marine environments, but the potential effect on ecosystem processes, such as nutrient fluxes, is less explored. Here, we test how fishing on Caribbean coral reefs influences biodiversity and ecosystem functions provided by the fish community, that is, fish-mediated nutrient capacity. Specifically, we modelled five processes of nutrient storage (in biomass) and supply (via excretion) of nutrients, as well as a measure of their multifunctionality, onto 143 species of coral reef fishes across 110 coral reef fish communities. These communities span a gradient from extreme fishing pressure to protected areas with little to no fishing. We find that in fished sites fish-mediated nutrient capacity is reduced almost 50%, despite no substantial changes in the number of species. Instead, changes in community size and trophic structure were the primary cause of shifts in ecosystem function. These findings suggest that a broader perspective that incorporates predictable impacts of fishing pressure on ecosystem function is imperative for effective coral reef conservation and management.

  2. Maintenance of fish diversity on disturbed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, S. K.; Dolman, A. M.; Cheal, A. J.; Emslie, M. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Sweatman, H. P. A.

    2009-03-01

    Habitat perturbations play a major role in shaping community structure; however, the elements of disturbance-related habitat change that affect diversity are not always apparent. This study examined the effects of habitat disturbances on species richness of coral reef fish assemblages using annual surveys of habitat and 210 fish species from 10 reefs on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Over a period of 11 years, major disturbances, including localised outbreaks of crown-of-thorns sea star ( Acanthaster planci), severe storms or coral bleaching, resulted in coral decline of 46-96% in all the 10 reefs. Despite declines in coral cover, structural complexity of the reef framework was retained on five and species richness of coral reef fishes maintained on nine of the disturbed reefs. Extensive loss of coral resulted in localised declines of highly specialised coral-dependent species, but this loss of diversity was more than compensated for by increases in the number of species that feed on the epilithic algal matrix (EAM). A unimodal relationship between areal coral cover and species richness indicated species richness was greatest at approximately 20% coral cover declining by 3-4 species (6-8% of average richness) at higher and lower coral cover. Results revealed that declines in coral cover on reefs may have limited short-term impact on the diversity of coral reef fishes, though there may be fundamental changes in the community structure of fishes.

  3. Biomass and Abundance of Herbivorous Fishes on Coral Reefs off ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Keywords: Herbivorous fish, biomass, coral cover, algal turf, fishing, Marine. Protected ... effects of fishing intensity, reef geomorphology and benthic cover. Distance from the ... 2003), pollution ..... derived from distance from human community.

  4. Fishing degrades size structure of coral reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, James P W; Williams, Ivor D; Edwards, Andrew M; McPherson, Jana; Yeager, Lauren; Vigliola, Laurent; Brainard, Russell E; Baum, Julia K

    2017-03-01

    Fishing pressure on coral reef ecosystems has been frequently linked to reductions of large fishes and reef fish biomass. Associated impacts on overall community structure are, however, less clear. In size-structured aquatic ecosystems, fishing impacts are commonly quantified using size spectra, which describe the distribution of individual body sizes within a community. We examined the size spectra and biomass of coral reef fish communities at 38 US-affiliated Pacific islands that ranged in human presence from near pristine to human population centers. Size spectra 'steepened' steadily with increasing human population and proximity to market due to a reduction in the relative biomass of large fishes and an increase in the dominance of small fishes. Reef fish biomass was substantially lower on inhabited islands than uninhabited ones, even at inhabited islands with the lowest levels of human presence. We found that on populated islands size spectra exponents decreased (analogous to size spectra steepening) linearly with declining biomass, whereas on uninhabited islands there was no relationship. Size spectra were steeper in regions of low sea surface temperature but were insensitive to variation in other environmental and geomorphic covariates. In contrast, reef fish biomass was highly sensitive to oceanographic conditions, being influenced by both oceanic productivity and sea surface temperature. Our results suggest that community size structure may be a more robust indicator than fish biomass to increasing human presence and that size spectra are reliable indicators of exploitation impacts across regions of different fish community compositions, environmental drivers, and fisheries types. Size-based approaches that link directly to functional properties of fish communities, and are relatively insensitive to abiotic variation across biogeographic regions, offer great potential for developing our understanding of fishing impacts in coral reef ecosystems. © 2016

  5. Relationships between structural complexity, coral traits, and reef fish assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darling, Emily S.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Nash, Kirsty L.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Wilson, Shaun K.

    2017-06-01

    With the ongoing loss of coral cover and the associated flattening of reef architecture, understanding the links between coral habitat and reef fishes is of critical importance. Here, we investigate whether considering coral traits and functional diversity provides new insights into the relationship between structural complexity and reef fish communities, and whether coral traits and community composition can predict structural complexity. Across 157 sites in Seychelles, Maldives, the Chagos Archipelago, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef, we find that structural complexity and reef zone are the strongest and most consistent predictors of reef fish abundance, biomass, species richness, and trophic structure. However, coral traits, diversity, and life histories provided additional predictive power for models of reef fish assemblages, and were key drivers of structural complexity. Our findings highlight that reef complexity relies on living corals—with different traits and life histories—continuing to build carbonate skeletons, and that these nuanced relationships between coral assemblages and habitat complexity can affect the structure of reef fish assemblages. Seascape-level estimates of structural complexity are rapid and cost effective with important implications for the structure and function of fish assemblages, and should be incorporated into monitoring programs.

  6. Climate-driven coral reorganisation influences aggressive behaviour in juvenile coral-reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kok, Judith E.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Hoogenboom, Mia O.

    2016-06-01

    Globally, habitat degradation is altering the abundance and diversity of species in a variety of ecosystems. This study aimed to determine how habitat degradation, in terms of changing coral composition under climate change, affected abundance, species richness and aggressive behaviour of juveniles of three damselfishes ( Pomacentrus moluccensis, P. amboinensis and Dischistodus perspicillatus, in order of decreasing reliance on coral). Patch reefs were constructed to simulate two types of reefs: present-day reefs that are vulnerable to climate-induced coral bleaching, and reefs with more bleaching-robust coral taxa, thereby simulating the likely future of coral reefs under a warming climate. Fish communities were allowed to establish naturally on the reefs during the summer recruitment period. Climate-robust reefs had lower total species richness of coral-reef fishes than climate-vulnerable reefs, but total fish abundance was not significantly different between reef types (pooled across all species and life-history stages). The nature of aggressive interactions, measured as the number of aggressive chases, varied according to coral composition; on climate-robust reefs, juveniles used the substratum less often to avoid aggression from competitors, and interspecific aggression became relatively more frequent than intraspecific aggression for juveniles of the coral-obligate P. moluccensis. This study highlights the importance of coral composition as a determinant of behaviour and diversity of coral-reef fishes.

  7. Direct evaluation of macroalgal removal by herbivorous coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mantyka, C. S.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2007-06-01

    Few studies have examined the relative functional impacts of individual herbivorous fish species on coral reef ecosystem processes in the Indo-Pacific. This study assessed the potential grazing impact of individual species within an inshore herbivorous reef fish assemblage on the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR), by determining which fish species were able to remove particular macroalgal species. Transplanted multiple-choice algal assays and remote stationary underwater digital video cameras were used to quantify the impact of local herbivorous reef fish species on 12 species of macroalgae. Macroalgal removal by the fishes was rapid. Within 3 h of exposure to herbivorous reef fishes there was significant evidence of intense grazing. After 12 h of exposure, 10 of the 12 macroalgal species had decreased to less than 15% of their original mass. Chlorodesmis fastigiata (Chlorophyta) and Galaxaura sp. (Rhodophyta) showed significantly less susceptibility to herbivorous reef fish grazing than all other macroalgae, even after 24 h exposure. Six herbivorous and/or nominally herbivorous reef fish species were identified as the dominant grazers of macroalgae: Siganus doliatus, Siganus canaliculatus, Chlorurus microrhinos, Hipposcarus longiceps, Scarus rivulatus and Pomacanthus sexstriatus. The siganid S. doliatus fed heavily on Hypnea sp., while S. canaliculatus fed intensively on Sargassum sp. Variation in macroalgal susceptibility was not clearly correlated with morphological and/or chemical defenses that have been previously suggested as deterrents against herbivory. Nevertheless, the results stress the potential importance of individual herbivorous reef fish species in removing macroalgae from coral reefs.

  8. Do tabular corals constitute keystone structures for fishes on coral reefs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kerry, J. T.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2015-03-01

    This study examined the changes in community composition of reef fishes by experimentally manipulating the availability of shelter provided by tabular structures on a mid-shelf reef on the Great Barrier Reef. At locations where access to tabular corals ( Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora cytherea) was excluded, a rapid and sustained reduction in the abundance of large reef fishes occurred. At locations where tabular structure was added, the abundance and diversity of large reef fishes increased and the abundance of small reef fishes tended to decrease, although over a longer time frame. Based on their response to changes in the availability of tabular structures, nine families of large reef fishes were separated into three categories; designated as obligate, facultative or non-structure users. This relationship may relate to the particular ecological demands of each family, including avoidance of predation and ultraviolet radiation, access to feeding areas and reef navigation. This study highlights the importance of tabular corals for large reef fishes in shallow reef environments and provides a possible mechanism for local changes in the abundance of reef fishes following loss of structural complexity on coral reefs. Keystone structures have a distinct structure and disproportionate effect on their ecosystem relative to their abundance, as such the result of this study suggests tabular corals may constitute keystone structures on shallow coral reefs.

  9. Coral reef fish assemblages at Clipperton Atoll (Eastern Tropical Pacific and their relationship with coral cover

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aurora M. Ricart

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Clipperton Atoll, one of the most isolated coral reefs worldwide, is of great scientific interest due to its geomorphology and high levels of endemism. This study explored the reef fish assemblage structure of Clipperton Atoll and its relationship with live coral cover. Nine stations were sampled at three sites and three depths (6, 12 and 20 m around the reef, measuring fish species richness and biomass and hermatypic coral cover (at genus level. We evaluated variation in species richness, biomass and diversity of fish assemblages among sites and depths, as well as the relationship between the entire fish assemblage composition and live coral cover. The results showed that species richness and biomass were similar among sites, but differed across depths, increasing with depth. In contrast, diversity differed among sites but not among depths. Multivariate analyses indicated that fish assemblage composition differed among sites and depths in relation to changes in cover of coral of the genera Pocillopora, Porites, Pavona and Leptoseris, which dominate at different depths. The results showed that fish species richness and diversity were low at Clipperton Atoll and that, in isolated coral reefs with a low habitat heterogeneity and low human disturbance, live coral cover has a significant influence on the spatial variation of the reef fish assemblages. This study highlights the importance of coral habitat structure in shaping coral reef fish assemblages.

  10. 78 FR 66683 - Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-06

    ... Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic... assessment and finding of no significant impact for the issuance of a special coral reef ecosystem fishing permit. SUMMARY: NMFS issued a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that authorizes Kampachi Farms...

  11. Fish-derived nutrient hotspots shape coral reef benthic communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shantz, Andrew A; Ladd, Mark C; Schrack, Elizabeth; Burkepile, Deron E

    2015-12-01

    Animal-derived nutrients play an important role in structuring nutrient regimes within and between ecosystems. When animals undergo repetitive, aggregating behavior through time, they can create nutrient hotspots where rates of biogeochemical activity are higher than those found in the surrounding environment. In turn, these hotspots can influence ecosystem processes and community structure. We examined the potential for reef fishes from the family Haemulidae (grunts) to create nutrient hotspots and the potential impact of these hotspots on reef communities. To do so, we tracked the schooling locations of diurnally migrating grunts, which shelter at reef sites during the day but forage off reef each night, and measured the impact of these fish schools on benthic communities. We found that grunt schools showed a high degree of site fidelity, repeatedly returning to the same coral heads. These aggregations created nutrient hotspots around coral heads where nitrogen and phosphorus delivery was roughly 10 and 7 times the respective rates of delivery to structurally similar sites that lacked schools of these fishes. In turn, grazing rates of herbivorous fishes at grunt-derived hotspots were approximately 3 times those of sites where grunts were rare. These differences in nutrient delivery and grazing led to distinct benthic communities with higher cover of crustose coralline algae and less total algal abundance at grunt aggregation sites. Importantly, coral growth was roughly 1.5 times greater at grunt hotspots, likely due to the important nutrient subsidy. Our results suggest that schooling reef fish and their nutrient subsidies play an important role in mediating community structure on coral reefs and that overfishing may have important negative consequences on ecosystem functions. As such, management strategies must consider mesopredatory fishes in addition to current protection often offered to herbivores and top-tier predators. Furthermore, our results suggest that

  12. Diversity and stability of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thibaut, Loic M; Connolly, Sean R; Sweatman, Hugh P A

    2012-04-01

    Biodiversity may provide insurance against ecosystem collapse by stabilizing assemblages that perform particular ecological functions (the "portfolio effect"). However, the extent to which this occurs in nature and the importance of different mechanisms that generate portfolio effects remain controversial. On coral reefs, herbivory helps maintain coral dominated states, so volatility in levels of herbivory has important implications for reef ecosystems. Here, we used an extensive time series of abundances on 35 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia to quantify the strength of the portfolio effect for herbivorous fishes. Then, we disentangled the contributions of two mechanisms that underlie it (compensatory interactions and differential responses to environmental fluctuations ["response diversity"]) by fitting a community-dynamic model that explicitly includes terms for both mechanisms. We found that portfolio effects operate strongly in herbivorous fishes, as shown by nearly independent fluctuations in abundances over time. Moreover, we found strong evidence for high response diversity, with nearly independent responses to environmental fluctuations. In contrast, we found little evidence that the portfolio effect in this system was enhanced by compensatory ecological interactions. Our results show that portfolio effects are driven principally by response diversity for herbivorous fishes on coral reefs. We conclude that portfolio effects can be very strong in nature and that, for coral reefs in particular, response diversity may help maintain herbivory above the threshold levels that trigger regime shifts.

  13. 76 FR 82413 - Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants and...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-30

    ... Part 622 Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants... Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants and... the FMP for the Spiny Lobster Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Spiny Lobster...

  14. 76 FR 59377 - Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants and...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-09-26

    ..., Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates Fishery Management... Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) for Reef Fish Resources, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch, and Coral and Reef... (AMs) if ACLs should be exceeded for selected reef fish, spiny lobster, and aquarium trade...

  15. Coral reef fish smell leaves to find island homes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixson, Danielle L; Jones, Geoffrey P; Munday, Philip L; Planes, Serge; Pratchett, Morgan S; Srinivasan, Maya; Syms, Craig; Thorrold, Simon R

    2008-01-01

    Recent studies have shown that some coral reef fish larvae return to natal reefs, while others disperse to distant reefs. However, the sensory mechanisms used to find settlement sites are poorly understood. One hypothesis is that larvae use olfactory cues to navigate home or find other suitable reef habitats. Here we show a strong association between the clownfish Amphiprion percula and coral reefs surrounding offshore islands in Papua New Guinea. Host anemones and A. percula are particularly abundant in shallow water beneath overhanging rainforest vegetation. A series of experiments were carried out using paired-choice flumes to evaluate the potential role of water-borne olfactory cues in finding islands. Recently settled A. percula exhibited strong preferences for: (i) water from reefs with islands over water from reefs without islands; (ii) water collected near islands over water collected offshore; and (iii) water treated with either anemones or leaves from rainforest vegetation. Laboratory reared-juveniles exhibited the same positive response to anemones and rainforest vegetation, suggesting that olfactory preferences are innate rather than learned. We hypothesize that A. percula use a suite of olfactory stimuli to locate vegetated islands, which may explain the high levels of self-recruitment on island reefs. This previously unrecognized link between coral reefs and island vegetation argues for the integrated management of these pristine tropical habitats. PMID:18755672

  16. Reef ecology. Chemically mediated behavior of recruiting corals and fishes: a tipping point that may limit reef recovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dixson, Danielle L; Abrego, David; Hay, Mark E

    2014-08-22

    Coral reefs are in global decline, converting from dominance by coral to dominance by seaweed. Once seaweeds become abundant, coral recovery is suppressed unless herbivores return to remove seaweeds, and corals then recruit. Variance in the recovery of fishes and corals is not well understood. We show that juveniles of both corals and fishes are repelled by chemical cues from fished, seaweed-dominated reefs but attracted to cues from coral-dominated areas where fishing is prohibited. Chemical cues of specific seaweeds from degraded reefs repulsed recruits, and cues from specific corals that are typical of healthy reefs attracted recruits. Juveniles were present at but behaviorally avoided recruiting to degraded reefs dominated by seaweeds. For recovery, degraded reefs may need to be managed to produce cues that attract, rather than repel, recruiting corals and fishes.

  17. Are non-estuarine mangroves connected to coral reefs through fish migration? : A mini-review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nagelkerken, I.

    2007-01-01

    Mangroves are an important fish habitat, but little is known of their nursery function and connectivity to other habitats such as coral reefs. Here, the present status of knowledge on connectivity between non-estuarine mangroves and coral reefs by postlarval coral reef fishes is reviewed. Only since

  18. 78 FR 49258 - Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-08-13

    ... Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic... assessment; request for comments. SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to issue a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that would authorize Kampachi Farms, LLC, to culture and harvest a coral reef ecosystem management...

  19. Are non-estuarine mangroves connected to coral reefs through fish migration? : A mini-review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nagelkerken, I.

    2007-01-01

    Mangroves are an important fish habitat, but little is known of their nursery function and connectivity to other habitats such as coral reefs. Here, the present status of knowledge on connectivity between non-estuarine mangroves and coral reefs by postlarval coral reef fishes is reviewed. Only since

  20. Comparison of Coral Reef Ecosystems along a Fishing Pressure Gradient

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, M.W.; Fulton, E.A.; Parrish, F.A.

    2013-01-01

    Three trophic mass-balance models representing coral reef ecosystems along a fishery gradient were compared to evaluate ecosystem effects of fishing. The majority of the biomass estimates came directly from a large-scale visual survey program; therefore, data were collected in the same way for all t

  1. Changes in biodiversity and functioning of reef fish assemblages following coral bleaching and coral loss

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, M.S.

    2011-08-12

    Coral reef ecosystems are increasingly subject to severe, large-scale disturbances caused by climate change (e.g., coral bleaching) and other more direct anthropogenic impacts. Many of these disturbances cause coral loss and corresponding changes in habitat structure, which has further important effects on abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes. Declines in the abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes are of considerable concern, given the potential loss of ecosystem function. This study explored the effects of coral loss, recorded in studies conducted throughout the world, on the diversity of fishes and also on individual responses of fishes within different functional groups. Extensive (>60%) coral loss almost invariably led to declines in fish diversity. Moreover, most fishes declined in abundance following acute disturbances that caused >10% declines in local coral cover. Response diversity, which is considered critical in maintaining ecosystem function and promoting resilience, was very low for corallivores, but was much higher for herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. Sustained and ongoing climate change thus poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems and diversity hotspots are no less susceptible to projected changes in diversity and function.

  2. Changes in Biodiversity and Functioning of Reef Fish Assemblages following Coral Bleaching and Coral Loss

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A.J. Graham

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are increasingly subject to severe, large-scale disturbances caused by climate change (e.g., coral bleaching and other more direct anthropogenic impacts. Many of these disturbances cause coral loss and corresponding changes in habitat structure, which has further important effects on abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes. Declines in the abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes are of considerable concern, given the potential loss of ecosystem function. This study explored the effects of coral loss, recorded in studies conducted throughout the world, on the diversity of fishes and also on individual responses of fishes within different functional groups. Extensive (>60% coral loss almost invariably led to declines in fish diversity. Moreover, most fishes declined in abundance following acute disturbances that caused >10% declines in local coral cover. Response diversity, which is considered critical in maintaining ecosystem function and promoting resilience, was very low for corallivores, but was much higher for herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. Sustained and ongoing climate change thus poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems and diversity hotspots are no less susceptible to projected changes in diversity and function.

  3. Associations among coral reef macroalgae influence feeding by herbivorous fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loffler, Z.; Bellwood, D. R.; Hoey, A. S.

    2015-03-01

    Benthic macroalgae often occur in close association with other macroalgae, yet the implications of such associations on coral reefs are unclear. We selected three pairs of commonly associated macroalgae on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and exposed them, either independently or paired, to herbivore assemblages. Pairing the palatable alga Acanthophora with the calcified and chemically defended Galaxaura resulted in a 69 % reduction in the consumption of Acanthophora, but had no effect on the consumption of Galaxaura. The reduced consumption of Acanthophora was related to 53-85 % reductions in the feeding rates of two herbivorous fish species, Kyphosus vaigiensis and Siganus doliatus. Neither Acanthophora nor Sargassum were afforded protection when paired with the brown macroalga Turbinaria. Although limited to one of the three species pairings, such associations between algae may allow the ecological persistence of palatable species in the face of intense herbivory, enhancing macroalgal diversity on coral reefs.

  4. Facilitation in Caribbean coral reefs: high densities of staghorn coral foster greater coral condition and reef fish composition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huntington, Brittany E; Miller, Margaret W; Pausch, Rachel; Richter, Lee

    2017-05-01

    Recovery of the threatened staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) is posited to play a key role in Caribbean reef resilience. At four Caribbean locations (including one restored and three extant populations), we quantified characteristics of contemporary staghorn coral across increasing conspecific densities, and investigated a hypothesis of facilitation between staghorn coral and reef fishes. High staghorn densities in the Dry Tortugas exhibited significantly less partial mortality, higher branch growth, and supported greater fish abundances compared to lower densities within the same population. In contrast, partial mortality, branch growth, and fish community composition did not vary with staghorn density at the three other study locations where staghorn densities were lower overall. This suggests that density-dependent effects between the coral and fish community may only manifest at high staghorn densities. We then evaluated one facilitative mechanism for such density-dependence, whereby abundant fishes sheltering in dense staghorn aggregations deliver nutrients back to the coral, fueling faster coral growth, thereby creating more fish habitat. Indeed, dense staghorn aggregations within the Dry Tortugas exhibited significantly higher growth rates, tissue nitrogen, and zooxanthellae densities than sparse aggregations. Similarly, higher tissue nitrogen was induced in a macroalgae bioassay outplanted into the same dense and sparse aggregations, confirming greater bioavailability of nutrients at high staghorn densities. Our findings inform staghorn restoration efforts, suggesting that the most effective targets may be higher coral densities than previously thought. These coral-dense aggregations may reap the benefits of positive facilitation between the staghorn and fish community, favoring the growth and survivorship of this threatened species.

  5. Size structuring and allometric scaling relationships in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dunic, Jillian C; Baum, Julia K

    2017-05-01

    Temperate marine fish communities are often size-structured, with predators consuming increasingly larger prey and feeding at higher trophic levels as they grow. Gape limitation and ontogenetic diet shifts are key mechanisms by which size structuring arises in these communities. Little is known, however, about size structuring in coral reef fishes. Here, we aimed to advance understanding of size structuring in coral reef food webs by examining the evidence for these mechanisms in two groups of reef predators. Given the diversity of feeding modes amongst coral reef fishes, we also compared gape size-body size allometric relationships across functional groups to determine whether they are reliable indicators of size structuring. We used gut content analysis and quantile regressions of predator size-prey size relationships to test for evidence of gape limitation and ontogenetic niche shifts in reef piscivores (n = 13 species) and benthic invertivores (n = 3 species). We then estimated gape size-body size allometric scaling coefficients for 21 different species from four functional groups, including herbivores/detritivores, which are not expected to be gape-limited. We found evidence of both mechanisms for size structuring in coral reef piscivores, with maximum prey size scaling positively with predator body size, and ontogenetic diet shifts including prey type and expansion of prey size. There was, however, little evidence of size structuring in benthic invertivores. Across species and functional groups, absolute and relative gape sizes were largest in piscivores as expected, but gape size-body size scaling relationships were not indicative of size structuring. Instead, relative gape sizes and mouth morphologies may be better indicators. Our results provide evidence that coral reef piscivores are size-structured and that gape limitation and ontogenetic niche shifts are the mechanisms from which this structure arises. Although gape allometry was not indicative of

  6. Lag effects in the impacts of mass coral bleaching on coral reef fish, fisheries, and ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Wilson, Shaun K; Jennings, Simon; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Robinson, Jan; Bijoux, Jude P; Daw, Tim M

    2007-10-01

    Recent episodes of coral bleaching have led to wide-scale loss of reef corals and raised concerns over the effectiveness of existing conservation and management efforts. The 1998 bleaching event was most severe in the western Indian Ocean, where coral declined by up to 90% in some locations. Using fisheries-independent data, we assessed the long-term impacts of this event on fishery target species in the Seychelles, the overall size structure of the fish assemblage, and the effectiveness of two marine protected areas (MPAs) in protecting fish communities. The biomass of fished species above the size retained in fish traps changed little between 1994 and 2005, indicating no current effect on fishery yields. Biomass remained higher in MPAs, indicating they were effective in protecting fish stocks. Nevertheless, the size structure of the fish communities, as described with size-spectra analysis, changed in both fished areas and MPAs, with a decline in smaller fish (45 cm). We believe this represents a time-lag response to a reduction in reef structural complexity brought about because fishes are being lost through natural mortality and fishing, and are not being replaced by juveniles. This effect is expected to be greater in terms of fisheries productivity and, because congruent patterns are observed for herbivores, suggests that MPAs do not offer coral reefs long-term resilience to bleaching events. Corallivores and planktivores declined strikingly in abundance, particularly in MPAs, and this decline was associated with a similar pattern of decline in their preferred corals. We suggest that climate-mediated disturbances, such as coral bleaching, be at the fore of conservation planning for coral reefs.

  7. Habitat associations of juvenile fish at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia: the importance of coral and algae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Shaun K; Depczynski, Martial; Fisher, Rebecca; Holmes, Thomas H; O'Leary, Rebecca A; Tinkler, Paul

    2010-12-07

    Habitat specificity plays a pivotal role in forming community patterns in coral reef fishes, yet considerable uncertainty remains as to the extent of this selectivity, particularly among newly settled recruits. Here we quantified habitat specificity of juvenile coral reef fish at three ecological levels; algal meadows vs. coral reefs, live vs. dead coral and among different coral morphologies. In total, 6979 individuals from 11 families and 56 species were censused along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Juvenile fishes exhibited divergence in habitat use and specialization among species and at all study scales. Despite the close proximity of coral reef and algal meadows (10's of metres) 25 species were unique to coral reef habitats, and seven to algal meadows. Of the seven unique to algal meadows, several species are known to occupy coral reef habitat as adults, suggesting possible ontogenetic shifts in habitat use. Selectivity between live and dead coral was found to be species-specific. In particular, juvenile scarids were found predominantly on the skeletons of dead coral whereas many damsel and butterfly fishes were closely associated with live coral habitat. Among the coral dependent species, coral morphology played a key role in juvenile distribution. Corymbose corals supported a disproportionate number of coral species and individuals relative to their availability, whereas less complex shapes (i.e. massive & encrusting) were rarely used by juvenile fish. Habitat specialisation by juvenile species of ecological and fisheries importance, for a variety of habitat types, argues strongly for the careful conservation and management of multiple habitat types within marine parks, and indicates that the current emphasis on planning conservation using representative habitat areas is warranted. Furthermore, the close association of many juvenile fish with corals susceptible to climate change related disturbances suggests that identifying and protecting reefs

  8. Habitat associations of juvenile fish at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia: the importance of coral and algae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaun K Wilson

    Full Text Available Habitat specificity plays a pivotal role in forming community patterns in coral reef fishes, yet considerable uncertainty remains as to the extent of this selectivity, particularly among newly settled recruits. Here we quantified habitat specificity of juvenile coral reef fish at three ecological levels; algal meadows vs. coral reefs, live vs. dead coral and among different coral morphologies. In total, 6979 individuals from 11 families and 56 species were censused along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Juvenile fishes exhibited divergence in habitat use and specialization among species and at all study scales. Despite the close proximity of coral reef and algal meadows (10's of metres 25 species were unique to coral reef habitats, and seven to algal meadows. Of the seven unique to algal meadows, several species are known to occupy coral reef habitat as adults, suggesting possible ontogenetic shifts in habitat use. Selectivity between live and dead coral was found to be species-specific. In particular, juvenile scarids were found predominantly on the skeletons of dead coral whereas many damsel and butterfly fishes were closely associated with live coral habitat. Among the coral dependent species, coral morphology played a key role in juvenile distribution. Corymbose corals supported a disproportionate number of coral species and individuals relative to their availability, whereas less complex shapes (i.e. massive & encrusting were rarely used by juvenile fish. Habitat specialisation by juvenile species of ecological and fisheries importance, for a variety of habitat types, argues strongly for the careful conservation and management of multiple habitat types within marine parks, and indicates that the current emphasis on planning conservation using representative habitat areas is warranted. Furthermore, the close association of many juvenile fish with corals susceptible to climate change related disturbances suggests that identifying and

  9. Oceanographic and behavioural assumptions in models of the fate of coral and coral reef fish larvae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolanski, Eric; Kingsford, Michael J

    2014-09-06

    A predictive model of the fate of coral reef fish larvae in a reef system is proposed that combines the oceanographic processes of advection and turbulent diffusion with the biological process of horizontal swimming controlled by olfactory and auditory cues within the timescales of larval development. In the model, auditory cues resulted in swimming towards the reefs when within hearing distance of the reef, whereas olfactory cues resulted in the larvae swimming towards the natal reef in open waters by swimming against the concentration gradients in the smell plume emanating from the natal reef. The model suggested that the self-seeding rate may be quite large, at least 20% for the larvae of rapidly developing reef fish species, which contrasted with a self-seeding rate less than 2% for non-swimming coral larvae. The predicted self-recruitment rate of reefs was sensitive to a number of parameters, such as the time at which the fish larvae reach post-flexion, the pelagic larval duration of the larvae, the horizontal turbulent diffusion coefficient in reefal waters and the horizontal swimming behaviour of the fish larvae in response to auditory and olfactory cues, for which better field data are needed. Thus, the model suggested that high self-seeding rates for reef fish are possible, even in areas where the 'sticky water' effect is minimal and in the absence of long-term trapping in oceanic fronts and/or large-scale oceanic eddies or filaments that are often argued to facilitate the return of the larvae after long periods of drifting at sea. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  10. Coral reef fish perceive lightness illusions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simpson, Elisha E.; Marshall, N. Justin; Cheney, Karen L.

    2016-01-01

    Visual illusions occur when information from images are perceived differently from the actual physical properties of the stimulus in terms of brightness, size, colour and/or motion. Illusions are therefore important tools for sensory perception research and from an ecological perspective, relevant for visually guided animals viewing signals in heterogeneous environments. Here, we tested whether fish perceived a lightness cube illusion in which identical coloured targets appear (for humans) to return different spectral outputs depending on the apparent amount of illumination they are perceived to be under. Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) were trained to peck at coloured targets to receive food rewards, and were shown to experience similar shifts in colour perception when targets were placed in illusory shadows. Fish therefore appear to experience similar simultaneous contrast mechanisms to humans, even when targets are embedded in complex, scene-type illusions. Studies such as these help unlock the fundamental principles of visual system mechanisms. PMID:27748401

  11. Coral recovery may not herald the return of fishes on damaged coral reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bellwood, David R.

    2012-03-25

    The dynamic nature of coral reefs offers a rare opportunity to examine the response of ecosystems to disruption due to climate change. In 1998, the Great Barrier Reef experienced widespread coral bleaching and mortality. As a result, cryptobenthic fish assemblages underwent a dramatic phase-shift. Thirteen years, and up to 96 fish generations later, the cryptobenthic fish assemblage has not returned to its pre-bleach configuration. This is despite coral abundances returning to, or exceeding, pre-bleach values. The post-bleach fish assemblage exhibits no evidence of recovery. If these short-lived fish species are a model for their longer-lived counterparts, they suggest that (1) the full effects of the 1998 bleaching event on long-lived fish populations have yet to be seen, (2) it may take decades, or more, before recovery or regeneration of these long-lived species will begin, and (3) fish assemblages may not recover to their previous composition despite the return of corals. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

  12. Coral recovery may not herald the return of fishes on damaged coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellwood, David R; Baird, Andrew H; Depczynski, Martial; González-Cabello, Alonso; Hoey, Andrew S; Lefèvre, Carine D; Tanner, Jennifer K

    2012-10-01

    The dynamic nature of coral reefs offers a rare opportunity to examine the response of ecosystems to disruption due to climate change. In 1998, the Great Barrier Reef experienced widespread coral bleaching and mortality. As a result, cryptobenthic fish assemblages underwent a dramatic phase-shift. Thirteen years, and up to 96 fish generations later, the cryptobenthic fish assemblage has not returned to its pre-bleach configuration. This is despite coral abundances returning to, or exceeding, pre-bleach values. The post-bleach fish assemblage exhibits no evidence of recovery. If these short-lived fish species are a model for their longer-lived counterparts, they suggest that (1) the full effects of the 1998 bleaching event on long-lived fish populations have yet to be seen, (2) it may take decades, or more, before recovery or regeneration of these long-lived species will begin, and (3) fish assemblages may not recover to their previous composition despite the return of corals.

  13. Seascape-scale trophic links for fish on inshore coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Jean P.; Pitt, Kylie A.; Fry, Brian; Olds, Andrew D.; Connolly, Rod M.

    2014-12-01

    It is increasingly accepted that coastal habitats such as inshore coral reefs do not function in isolation but rather as part of a larger habitat network. In the Caribbean, trophic subsidies from habitats adjacent to coral reefs support the diet of reef fishes, but it is not known whether similar trophic links occur on reefs in the Indo-Pacific. Here, we test whether reef fishes in inshore coral, mangrove, and seagrass habitats are supported by trophic links. We used carbon stable isotopes and mathematical mixing models to determine the minimum proportion of resources from mangrove or seagrass habitats in the diet of five fish species from coral reefs at varying distances (0-2,200 m) from these habitats in Moreton Bay, Queensland, eastern Australia. Of the fish species that are more abundant on reefs near to mangroves, Lutjanus russelli and Acanthopagrus australis showed no minimum use of diet sources from mangrove habitat. Siganus fuscescens utilized a minimum of 25-44 % mangrove sources and this contribution increased with the proximity of reefs to mangroves ( R 2 = 0.91). Seagrass or reef flat sources contributed a minimum of 14-78 % to the diet of Diagramma labiosum, a species found in higher abundance on reefs near seagrass beds, but variation in diet among reefs was unrelated to seascape structure. Seagrass or reef flat sources also contributed a minimum of 8-55 % to a fish species found only on reefs ( Pseudolabrus guentheri), indicating that detrital subsidies from these habitats may subsidize fish diet on reefs. These results suggest that carbon sources from multiple habitats contribute to the functioning of inshore coral reef ecosystems and that trophic connectivity between reefs and mangroves may enhance production of a functionally important herbivore.

  14. Long-term effects of the cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus on coral reef fish communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter A Waldie

    Full Text Available Cleaning behaviour is deemed a mutualism, however the benefit of cleaning interactions to client individuals is unknown. Furthermore, mechanisms that may shift fish community structure in the presence of cleaning organisms are unclear. Here we show that on patch reefs (61-285 m² which had all cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus (Labridae experimentally removed (1-5 adults reef⁻¹ and which were then maintained cleaner-fish free over 8.5 years, individuals of two site-attached (resident client damselfishes (Pomacentridae were smaller compared to those on control reefs. Furthermore, resident fishes were 37% less abundant and 23% less species rich per reef, compared to control reefs. Such changes in site-attached fish may reflect lower fish growth rates and/or survivorship. Additionally, juveniles of visitors (fish likely to move between reefs were 65% less abundant on removal reefs suggesting cleaners may also affect recruitment. This may, in part, explain the 23% lower abundance and 33% lower species richness of visitor fishes, and 66% lower abundance of visitor herbivores (Acanthuridae on removal reefs that we also observed. This is the first study to demonstrate a benefit of cleaning behaviour to client individuals, in the form of increased size, and to elucidate potential mechanisms leading to community-wide effects on the fish population. Many of the fish groups affected may also indirectly affect other reef organisms, thus further impacting the reef community. The large-scale effect of the presence of the relatively small and uncommon fish, Labroides dimidiadus, on other fishes is unparalleled on coral reefs.

  15. Potential contribution of fish restocking to the recovery of deteriorated coral reefs: an alternative restoration method?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Uri Obolski

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Counteracting the worldwide trend of coral reef degeneration is a major challenge for the scientific community. A crucial management approach to minimizing stress effects on healthy reefs and helping the recovery of disturbed reefs is reef protection. However, the current rapid decline of the world’s reefs suggests that protection might be insufficient as a viable stand-alone management approach for some reefs. We thus suggest that the ecological restoration of coral reefs (CRR should be considered as a valid component of coral reef management, in addition to protection, if the applied method is economically applicable and scalable. This theoretical study examines the potential applicability and outcomes of restocking grazers as a restoration tool for coral reef recovery—a tool that has not been applied so far in reef restoration projects. We studied the effect of restocking grazing fish as a restoration method using a mathematical model of degrading reefs, and analyzed the financial outcomes of the restocking intervention. The results suggest that applying this restoration method, in addition to protection, can facilitate reef recovery. Moreover, our analysis suggests that the restocking approach almost always becomes profitable within several years. Considering the relatively low cost of this restoration approach and the feasibility of mass production of herbivorous fish, we suggest that this approach should be considered and examined as an additional viable restoration tool for coral reefs.

  16. Are artificial reefs surrogates of natural habitats for corals and fish in Dubai, United Arab Emirates?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burt, J.; Bartholomew, A.; Usseglio, P.; Bauman, A.; Sale, P. F.

    2009-09-01

    Artificial reefs are often promoted as mitigating human impacts in coastal ecosystems and enhancing fisheries; however, evidence supporting their benefits is equivocal. Such structures must be compared with natural reefs in order to assess their performance, but past comparisons typically examined artificial structures that were too small, or were immature, relative to the natural reefs. We compared coral and fish communities on two large (>400,000 m3) and mature (>25 year) artificial reefs with six natural coral patches. Coral cover was higher on artificial reefs (50%) than in natural habitats (31%), but natural coral patches contained higher species richness (29 vs. 20) and coral diversity ( H' = 2.3 vs. 1.8). Multivariate analyses indicated strong differences between coral communities in natural and artificial habitats. Fish communities were sampled seasonally for 1 year. Multivariate fish communities differed significantly among habitat types in the summer and fall, but converged in the winter and spring. Univariate analysis indicated that species richness and abundance were stable throughout the year on natural coral patches but increased significantly in the summer on artificial reefs compared with the winter and spring, explaining the multivariate changes in community structure. The increased summer abundance on artificial reefs was mainly due to adult immigration. Piscivores were much more abundant in the fall than in the winter or spring on artificial reefs, but had low and stable abundance throughout the year in natural habitats. It is likely that the decreased winter and spring abundance of fish on the artificial reefs resulted from both predation and emigration. These results indicate that large artificial reefs can support diverse and abundant coral and fish communities. However, these communities differ structurally and functionally from those in natural habitats, and they should not be considered as replacements for natural coral and fish communities.

  17. The influence of fire-coral colony size and agonistic behaviour of territorial damselfish on associated coral reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leal, Isabela Carolina Silva; de Araújo, Maria Elisabeth; da Cunha, Simone Rabelo; Pereira, Pedro Henrique Cipresso

    2015-07-01

    Branching hydrocorals from the genus Millepora play an important ecological role in South Atlantic reefs, where branching scleractinian corals are absent. Previous studies have shown a high proportion of reef fish species using branching fire-coral colonies as shelter, breeding, and feeding sites. However, the effects of Millepora spp. colony size and how the agonistic behaviour of a competitive damselfish affect the associated reef fish community are still unknown. The present study examined how fire-coral colony volume and the presence of a highly territorial and aggressive damselfish (Brazilian endemic Stegastes fuscus) affects the reef fish community associated with the fire-coral Millepora alcicornis. M. alcicornis colonies were surveyed from September 2012 to April 2013 at Tamandaré Reefs off Northeast Brazil. Our results show that the abundance and richness of coral associated fish was positively correlated with M. alcicornis coral colony volume. Additionally, behaviour of S. fuscus, the most abundant reef fish species found associated with fire-coral colonies (almost 57% of the fish community), was also influenced by fire-coral colony volume. There was a clear trend of increased agonistic behaviour and feeding on coral polyps as colony volume increased. This trend was reversed for the non-occupational swimming category, which decreased as M. alcicornis colony volume increased. Behavioural ontogenetic changes were also detected for S. fuscus individuals. Juveniles mainly showed two distinct behaviours: sheltered on coral branches and feeding on coral polyps. In contrast, adults presented greater equitability among the behavioural categories, mostly non-occupational swimming around coral colonies and agonistic behaviour. Lastly, S. fuscus individuals actively defended fire-coral colonies from intruders. A large number of agonistic interactions occurred against potential food competitors, which were mainly roving herbivores, omnivores, and sessile

  18. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program's 2016 Projects that Work Towards Stratefic Goals to Reduce Fishing Impacts on Coral

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In 2016 the following projects will take place to work towards CRCP's strategic goals to reduce fishing impacts on coral reefs Building GIS Long-term Capacity:...

  19. Predator-induced demographic shifts in coral reef fish assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin I Ruttenberg

    Full Text Available In recent years, it has become apparent that human impacts have altered community structure in coastal and marine ecosystems worldwide. Of these, fishing is one of the most pervasive, and a growing body of work suggests that fishing can have strong effects on the ecology of target species, especially top predators. However, the effects of removing top predators on lower trophic groups of prey fishes are less clear, particularly in highly diverse and trophically complex coral reef ecosystems. We examined patterns of abundance, size structure, and age-based demography through surveys and collection-based studies of five fish species from a variety of trophic levels at Kiritimati and Palmyra, two nearby atolls in the Northern Line Islands. These islands have similar biogeography and oceanography, and yet Kiritimati has ∼10,000 people with extensive local fishing while Palmyra is a US National Wildlife Refuge with no permanent human population, no fishing, and an intact predator fauna. Surveys indicated that top predators were relatively larger and more abundant at unfished Palmyra, while prey functional groups were relatively smaller but showed no clear trends in abundance as would be expected from classic trophic cascades. Through detailed analyses of focal species, we found that size and longevity of a top predator were lower at fished Kiritimati than at unfished Palmyra. Demographic patterns also shifted dramatically for 4 of 5 fish species in lower trophic groups, opposite in direction to the top predator, including decreases in average size and longevity at Palmyra relative to Kiritimati. Overall, these results suggest that fishing may alter community structure in complex and non-intuitive ways, and that indirect demographic effects should be considered more broadly in ecosystem-based management.

  20. Impact of mass coral bleaching on reef fish community and fishermen catches at Sabang, Aceh Province, Indonesia

    OpenAIRE

    Edi Rudi; Taufiq Iskandar; Nur Fadli; Hidayati Hidayati

    2012-01-01

    Mass coral bleaching was observed at Sabang, Aceh in early 2010, and approximately 60% ofhard coral in waters surrounding Sabang died post-event. Coral mortality was expected to affect thecomposition of reef fish due to decrease its function such as providing a shelter, feeding and spawninggrounds for fish and other marine organisms. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the impactof coral bleaching on coral reef fish community and to compare the composition of fishermen catchesbef...

  1. Impact of mass coral bleaching on reef fish community and fishermen catches at Sabang, Aceh Province, Indonesia

    OpenAIRE

    Edi Rudi; Taufiq Iskandar; Nur Fadli; Hidayati Hidayati

    2012-01-01

    Mass coral bleaching was observed at Sabang, Aceh in early 2010, and approximately 60% ofhard coral in waters surrounding Sabang died post-event. Coral mortality was expected to affect thecomposition of reef fish due to decrease its function such as providing a shelter, feeding and spawninggrounds for fish and other marine organisms. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the impactof coral bleaching on coral reef fish community and to compare the composition of fishermen catchesbef...

  2. Invasive lionfish drive Atlantic coral reef fish declines.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephanie J Green

    Full Text Available Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles have spread swiftly across the Western Atlantic, producing a marine predator invasion of unparalleled speed and magnitude. There is growing concern that lionfish will affect the structure and function of invaded marine ecosystems, however detrimental impacts on natural communities have yet to be measured. Here we document the response of native fish communities to predation by lionfish populations on nine coral reefs off New Providence Island, Bahamas. We assessed lionfish diet through stomach contents analysis, and quantified changes in fish biomass through visual surveys of lionfish and native fishes at the sites over time. Lionfish abundance increased rapidly between 2004 and 2010, by which time lionfish comprised nearly 40% of the total predator biomass in the system. The increase in lionfish abundance coincided with a 65% decline in the biomass of the lionfish's 42 Atlantic prey fishes in just two years. Without prompt action to control increasing lionfish populations, similar effects across the region may have long-term negative implications for the structure of Atlantic marine communities, as well as the societies and economies that depend on them.

  3. Temporal comparison and predictors of fish species abundance and richness on undisturbed coral reef patches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wagner, Elena L E S; Roche, Dominique G; Binning, Sandra A; Wismer, Sharon; Bshary, Redouan

    2015-01-01

    Large disturbances can cause rapid degradation of coral reef communities, but what baseline changes in species assemblages occur on undisturbed reefs through time? We surveyed live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness in 1997 and again in 2007 on 47 fringing patch reefs of varying size and depth at Mersa Bareika, Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt. No major human or natural disturbance event occurred between these two survey periods in this remote protected area. In the absence of large disturbances, we found that live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness did not differ in 1997 compared to 2007. Fish abundance and species richness on patches was largely related to the presence of shelters (caves and/or holes), live coral cover and patch size (volume). The presence of the ectoparasite-eating cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, was also positively related to fish species richness. Our results underscore the importance of physical reef characteristics, such as patch size and shelter availability, in addition to biotic characteristics, such as live coral cover and cleaner wrasse abundance, in supporting reef fish species richness and abundance through time in a relatively undisturbed and understudied region.

  4. Temporal comparison and predictors of fish species abundance and richness on undisturbed coral reef patches

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena L.E.S. Wagner

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Large disturbances can cause rapid degradation of coral reef communities, but what baseline changes in species assemblages occur on undisturbed reefs through time? We surveyed live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness in 1997 and again in 2007 on 47 fringing patch reefs of varying size and depth at Mersa Bareika, Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt. No major human or natural disturbance event occurred between these two survey periods in this remote protected area. In the absence of large disturbances, we found that live coral cover, reef fish abundance and fish species richness did not differ in 1997 compared to 2007. Fish abundance and species richness on patches was largely related to the presence of shelters (caves and/or holes, live coral cover and patch size (volume. The presence of the ectoparasite-eating cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, was also positively related to fish species richness. Our results underscore the importance of physical reef characteristics, such as patch size and shelter availability, in addition to biotic characteristics, such as live coral cover and cleaner wrasse abundance, in supporting reef fish species richness and abundance through time in a relatively undisturbed and understudied region.

  5. Detecting age-structured effects in growth performance of coral reef fish juveniles

    OpenAIRE

    Mellin, Camille; Galzin, R.; Ponton, Dominique; Vigliola, Laurent

    2009-01-01

    The growth performance of coral reef fish juveniles collected in different habitats is often used as a proxy for habitat quality for juveniles. However, back-calculated growth trajectories of juveniles may be age-structured, for instance, because of potential differences in initial offspring size and/or quality or size-selective mortality. A novel approach is proposed to isolate growth performance of coral reef fish juveniles from potential age-based factors. Juveniles of Chromis viridis (Pom...

  6. Habitat dynamics, marine reserve status, and the decline and recovery of coral reef fish communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williamson, David H; Ceccarelli, Daniela M; Evans, Richard D; Jones, Geoffrey P; Russ, Garry R

    2014-01-01

    Severe climatic disturbance events often have major impacts on coral reef communities, generating cycles of decline and recovery, and in some extreme cases, community-level phase shifts from coral-to algal-dominated states. Benthic habitat changes directly affect reef fish communities, with low coral cover usually associated with low fish diversity and abundance. No-take marine reserves (NTRs) are widely advocated for conserving biodiversity and enhancing the sustainability of exploited fish populations. Numerous studies have documented positive ecological and socio-economic benefits of NTRs; however, the ability of NTRs to ameliorate the effects of acute disturbances on coral reefs has seldom been investigated. Here, we test these factors by tracking the dynamics of benthic and fish communities, including the important fishery species, coral trout (Plectropomus spp.), over 8 years in both NTRs and fished areas in the Keppel Island group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Two major disturbances impacted the reefs during the monitoring period, a coral bleaching event in 2006 and a freshwater flood plume in 2011. Both disturbances generated significant declines in coral cover and habitat complexity, with subsequent declines in fish abundance and diversity, and pronounced shifts in fish assemblage structure. Coral trout density also declined in response to the loss of live coral, however, the approximately 2:1 density ratio between NTRs and fished zones was maintained over time. The only post-disturbance refuges for coral trout spawning stocks were within the NTRs that escaped the worst effects of the disturbances. Although NTRs had little discernible effect on the temporal dynamics of benthic or fish communities, it was evident that the post-disturbance refuges for coral trout spawning stocks within some NTRs may be critically important to regional-scale population persistence and recovery. PMID:24634720

  7. Habitat dynamics, marine reserve status, and the decline and recovery of coral reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williamson, David H; Ceccarelli, Daniela M; Evans, Richard D; Jones, Geoffrey P; Russ, Garry R

    2014-02-01

    Severe climatic disturbance events often have major impacts on coral reef communities, generating cycles of decline and recovery, and in some extreme cases, community-level phase shifts from coral-to algal-dominated states. Benthic habitat changes directly affect reef fish communities, with low coral cover usually associated with low fish diversity and abundance. No-take marine reserves (NTRs) are widely advocated for conserving biodiversity and enhancing the sustainability of exploited fish populations. Numerous studies have documented positive ecological and socio-economic benefits of NTRs; however, the ability of NTRs to ameliorate the effects of acute disturbances on coral reefs has seldom been investigated. Here, we test these factors by tracking the dynamics of benthic and fish communities, including the important fishery species, coral trout (Plectropomus spp.), over 8 years in both NTRs and fished areas in the Keppel Island group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Two major disturbances impacted the reefs during the monitoring period, a coral bleaching event in 2006 and a freshwater flood plume in 2011. Both disturbances generated significant declines in coral cover and habitat complexity, with subsequent declines in fish abundance and diversity, and pronounced shifts in fish assemblage structure. Coral trout density also declined in response to the loss of live coral, however, the approximately 2:1 density ratio between NTRs and fished zones was maintained over time. The only post-disturbance refuges for coral trout spawning stocks were within the NTRs that escaped the worst effects of the disturbances. Although NTRs had little discernible effect on the temporal dynamics of benthic or fish communities, it was evident that the post-disturbance refuges for coral trout spawning stocks within some NTRs may be critically important to regional-scale population persistence and recovery.

  8. The functional importance of Acropora austera as nursery areas for juvenile reef fish on South African coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Floros, C.; Schleyer, M. H.

    2017-03-01

    Many coral reef fish species use mangrove and seagrass beds as nursery areas. However, in certain regions, the absence or scarcity of such habitats suggests that juvenile coral reef fish may be seeking refuge elsewhere. The underlying biogenic substratum of most coral reefs is structurally complex and provides many types of refuge. However, on young or subtropical coral reefs, species may be more reliant on the living coral layer as nursery areas. Such is the case on the high-latitude coral reefs of South Africa where the coral communities consist of a thin veneer of coral overlaying late Pleistocene bedrock. Thus, the morphology of coral species may be a major determinant in the availability of refuge space. Acropora austera is a branching species that forms large patches with high structural complexity. Associated with these patches is a diverse community of fish species, particularly juveniles. Over the past decade, several large (>100 m2) A. austera patches at Sodwana Bay have been diminishing for unknown reasons and there is little evidence of their replacement or regrowth. Seven patches of A. austera (AP) and non- A. austera (NAP) were selected and monitored for 12 months using visual surveys to investigate the importance of AP as refugia and nursery areas. There were significant differences in fish communities between AP and NAP habitats. In total, 110 species were recorded within the patches compared to 101 species outside the patches. Labrids and pomacentrids were the dominant species in the AP habitats, while juvenile scarids, acanthurids, chaetodons and serranids were also abundant. The diversity and abundance of fish species increased significantly with AP size. As the most structurally complex coral species on the reefs, the loss of APs may have significant implications for the recruitment and survival of certain fish species.

  9. Comparison of remote video and diver's direct observations to quantify reef fishes feeding on benthos in coral and rocky reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Longo, G O; Floeter, S R

    2012-10-01

    This study compared remote underwater video and traditional direct diver observations to assess reef fish feeding impact on benthos across multiple functional groups within different trophic categories (e.g. herbivores, zoobenthivores and omnivores) and in two distinct reef systems: a subtropical rocky reef and a tropical coral reef. The two techniques were roughly equivalent, both detecting the species with higher feeding impact and recording similar bite rates, suggesting that reef fish feeding behaviour at the study areas are not strongly affected by the diver's presence.

  10. Additive diversity partitioning of fish in a Caribbean coral reef undergoing shift transition.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gilberto Acosta-González

    Full Text Available Shift transitions in dominance on coral reefs from hard coral cover to fleshy macroalgae are having negative effects on Caribbean coral reef communities. Data on spatiotemporal changes in biodiversity during these modifications are important for decision support for coral reef biodiversity protection. The main objective of this study is to detect the spatiotemporal patterns of coral reef fish diversity during this transition using additive diversity-partitioning analysis. We examined α, β and γ fish diversity from 2000 to 2010, during which time a shift transition occurred at Mahahual Reef, located in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Data on coral reef fish and benthic communities were obtained from 12 transects per geomorphological unit (GU in two GUs (reef slope and terrace over six years (2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010. Spatial analysis within and between the GUs indicated that the γ-diversity was primarily related to higher β-diversity. Throughout the six study years, there were losses of α, β and γ-diversity associated spatially with the shallow (reef slope and deeper (reef terrace GUs and temporally with the transition in cover from mound corals to fleshy macroalgae and boulder corals. Despite a drastic reduction in the number of species over time, β-diversity continues to be the highest component of γ-diversity. The shift transition had a negative effect on α, β and γ-diversity, primarily by impacting rare species, leading a group of small and less vulnerable fish species to become common and an important group of rare species to become locally extinct. The maintenance of fish heterogeneity (β-diversity over time may imply the abetment of vulnerability in the face of local and global changes.

  11. Restocking herbivorous fish populations as a social-ecological restoration tool in coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Avigdor Abelson; Uri Obolski; Patrick Regoniel; Lilach Hadany

    2016-01-01

    The degradation of the world's coral reefs has aroused growing interest in ecological restoration as a countermeasure, which is widely criticized, mainly due to cost-effectiveness concerns. Here, we propose the restocking of herbivorous fish as a restoration tool, based on supply of young fish to degraded reefs, with the aims of: (1) Buildup of a critical fish biomass for basic ecosystem functions (e.g., grazing); (2) Increased fishing yields, which can sustain coastal communities, and conseq...

  12. Small Marine Protected Areas in Fiji Provide Refuge for Reef Fish Assemblages, Feeding Groups, and Corals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pires, Mathias M.; Guimarães, Paulo Roberto; Hoey, Andrew S.; Hay, Mark E.

    2017-01-01

    The establishment of no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) on coral reefs is a common management strategy for conserving the diversity, abundance, and biomass of reef organisms. Generally, well-managed and enforced MPAs can increase or maintain the diversity and function of the enclosed coral reef, with some of the benefits extending to adjacent non-protected reefs. A fundamental question in coral reef conservation is whether these benefits arise within small MPAs (reef organisms is largely decoupled from local adult reproduction. We examined the structure of fish assemblages, composition of fish feeding groups, benthic cover, and key ecosystem processes (grazing, macroalgal browsing, and coral replenishment) in three small (0.5–0.8 km2) no-take MPAs and adjacent areas where fisheries are allowed (non-MPAs) on coral reefs in Fiji. The MPAs exhibited greater species richness, density, and biomass of fishes than non-MPAs. Furthermore, MPAs contained a greater abundance and biomass of grazing herbivores and piscivores as well as a greater abundance of cleaners than fished areas. We also found differences in fish associations when foraging, with feeding groups being generally more diverse and having greater biomass within MPAs than adjacent non-MPAs. Grazing by parrotfishes was 3–6 times greater, and macroalgal browsing was 3–5 times greater in MPAs than in non-MPAs. On average, MPAs had 260–280% as much coral cover and only 5–25% as much macroalgal cover as their paired non-MPA sites. Finally, two of the three MPAs had three-fold more coral recruits than adjacent non-MPAs. The results of this study indicate that small MPAs benefit not only populations of reef fishes, but also enhance ecosystem processes that are critical to reef resilience within the MPAs. PMID:28122006

  13. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef communities in U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) using the Belt Transect fish census method

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Belt Transect method is used to conduct fish surveys in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as part of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP). The Belt...

  14. Distribution of fish in seagrass, mangroves and coral reefs: life-stage dependent habitat use in Honduras

    OpenAIRE

    2012-01-01

    Many coral reef fish exhibit habitat partitioning throughout their lifetimes. Such patterns are evident in the Caribbean where research has been predominantly conducted in the Eastern region. This work addressed the paucity of data regarding Honduran reef fish distribution in three habitat types (seagrass, mangroves, and coral reefs), by surveying fish on the islands of Utila and Cayos Cochinos off the coast of Honduras (part of the Mesoamerican barrier reef). During July 2nd - Aug 27th 2007 ...

  15. Microbial and sponge loops modify fish production in phase-shifting coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silveira, Cynthia B; Silva-Lima, Arthur W; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo B; Marques, Jomar S M; Almeida, Marcelo G; Thompson, Cristiane C; Rezende, Carlos E; Paranhos, Rodolfo; Moura, Rodrigo L; Salomon, Paulo S; Thompson, Fabiano L

    2015-10-01

    Shifts from coral to algae dominance of corals reefs have been correlated to fish biomass loss and increased microbial metabolism. Here we investigated reef benthic and planktonic primary production, benthic dissolved organic carbon (DOC) release and bacterial growth efficiency in the Abrolhos Bank, South Atlantic. Benthic DOC release rates are higher while water column bacterial growth efficiency is lower at impacted reefs. A trophic model based on the benthic and planktonic primary production was able to predict the observed relative fish biomass in healthy reefs. In contrast, in impacted reefs, the observed omnivorous fish biomass is higher, while that of the herbivorous/coralivorous fish is lower than predicted by the primary production-based model. Incorporating recycling of benthic-derived carbon in the model through microbial and sponge loops explains the difference and predicts the relative fish biomass in both reef types. Increased benthic carbon release rates and bacterial carbon metabolism, but decreased bacterial growth efficiency could lead to carbon losses through respiration and account for the uncoupling of benthic and fish production in phase-shifting reefs. Carbon recycling by microbial and sponge loops seems to promote an increase of small-bodied fish productivity in phase-shifting coral reefs. © 2015 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. Physiology can contribute to better understanding, management, and conservation of coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Illing, Björn; Rummer, Jodie L

    2017-01-01

    Coral reef fishes, like many other marine organisms, are affected by anthropogenic stressors such as fishing and pollution and, owing to climate change, are experiencing increasing water temperatures and ocean acidification. Against the backdrop of these various stressors, a mechanistic understanding of processes governing individual organismal performance is the first step for identifying drivers of coral reef fish population dynamics. In fact, physiological measurements can help to reveal potential cause-and-effect relationships and enable physiologists to advise conservation management by upscaling results from cellular and individual organismal levels to population levels. Here, we highlight studies that include physiological measurements of coral reef fishes and those that give advice for their conservation. A literature search using combined physiological, conservation and coral reef fish key words resulted in ~1900 studies, of which only 99 matched predefined requirements. We observed that, over the last 20 years, the combination of physiological and conservation aspects in studies on coral reef fishes has received increased attention. Most of the selected studies made their physiological observations at the whole organism level and used their findings to give conservation advice on population dynamics, habitat use or the potential effects of climate change. The precision of the recommendations differed greatly and, not surprisingly, was least concrete when studies examined the effects of projected climate change scenarios. Although more and more physiological studies on coral reef fishes include conservation aspects, there is still a lack of concrete advice for conservation managers, with only very few published examples of physiological findings leading to improved management practices. We conclude with a call to action to foster better knowledge exchange between natural scientists and conservation managers to translate physiological findings more

  17. How will coral reef fish communities respond to climate-driven disturbances? Insight from landscape-scale perturbations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adam, Thomas C; Brooks, Andrew J; Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Washburn, Libe; Bernardi, Giacomo

    2014-09-01

    Global climate change is rapidly altering disturbance regimes in many ecosystems including coral reefs, yet the long-term impacts of these changes on ecosystem structure and function are difficult to predict. A major ecosystem service provided by coral reefs is the provisioning of physical habitat for other organisms, and consequently, many of the effects of climate change on coral reefs will be mediated by their impacts on habitat structure. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the independent and combined effects of coral mortality and loss of physical habitat on reef-associated biota. Here, we use a unique series of events affecting the coral reefs around the Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia to differentiate between the impacts of coral mortality and the degradation of physical habitat on the structure of reef fish communities. We found that, by removing large amounts of physical habitat, a tropical cyclone had larger impacts on reef fish communities than an outbreak of coral-eating sea stars that caused widespread coral mortality but left the physical structure intact. In addition, the impacts of declining structural complexity on reef fish assemblages accelerated as structure became increasingly rare. Structure provided by dead coral colonies can take up to decades to erode following coral mortality, and, consequently, our results suggest that predictions based on short-term studies are likely to grossly underestimate the long-term impacts of coral decline on reef fish communities.

  18. A role for partially protected areas on coral reefs: Maintaining fish diversity?

    KAUST Repository

    Tyler, Elizabeth

    2011-04-15

    1. Completely banning fishing from coral reefs is now accepted to have significant benefits for marine biodiversity and in many cases, fisheries. However, the benefits of regulating fishing on coral reefs, by restricting the methods used, or the total amount of fishing, are less well understood, even though such regulations are much more likely to be supported by fishermen. 2. This study assesses whether banning illegal, destructive fishing methods and reducing the numbers of fishermen visiting from outside an area benefits a coral reef fishery, despite unregulated fishing by local fishermen using non-destructive methods. 3. The abundance, biomass, mean length, and species richness of nine commercially important fish families are compared across ten independent patch reefs inside and outside the 470km2 Menai Bay Conservation Area in Zanzibar, Tanzania. 4. Even after taking into account the effect of differences in habitat and the distance between reefs, 61% (±19.7%) more fish species were found in regulated than unregulated reefs. Fish abundance, biomass, and length were not affected, suggesting that banning destructive fishing may improve biodiversity, but that further regulations may be required to improve fish stocks. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

  19. Selective feeding by coral reef fishes on coral lesions associated with brown band and black band disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chong-Seng, K. M.; Cole, A. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Willis, B. L.

    2011-06-01

    Recent studies have suggested that corallivorous fishes may be vectors for coral disease, but the extent to which fishes actually feed on and thereby potentially transmit coral pathogens is largely unknown. For this study, in situ video observations were used to assess the level to which fishes fed on diseased coral tissues at Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef. Surveys conducted at multiple locations around Lizard Island revealed that coral disease prevalence, especially of brown band disease (BrB), was higher in lagoon and backreef locations than in exposed reef crests. Accordingly, video cameras were deployed in lagoon and backreef habitats to record feeding by fishes during 1-h periods on diseased sections of each of 44 different coral colonies. Twenty-five species from five fish families (Blennidae, Chaetodontidae, Gobiidae, Labridae and Pomacentridae) were observed to feed on infected coral tissues of staghorn species of Acropora that were naturally infected with black band disease (BBD) or brown band disease (BrB). Collectively, these fishes took an average of 18.6 (±5.6 SE) and 14.3 (±6.1 SE) bites per hour from BBD and BrB lesions, respectively. More than 40% (408/948 bites) and nearly 25% (314/1319 bites) of bites were observed on lesions associated with BBD and BrB, respectively, despite these bands each representing only about 1% of the substratum available. Moreover, many corallivorous fishes ( Labrichthys unilineatus, Chaetodon aureofasciatus, C. baronessa, C. lunulatus, C. trifascialis, Cheiloprion labiatus) selectively targeted disease lesions over adjacent healthy coral tissues. These findings highlight the important role that reef fishes may play in the dynamics of coral diseases, either as vectors for the spread of coral disease or in reducing coral disease progression through intensive and selective consumption of diseased coral tissues.

  20. Mangroves enhance the biomass of coral reef fish communities in the Caribbean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J.; Edwards, Alasdair J.; Ernesto Arias-González, J.; Lindeman, Kenyon C.; Blackwell, Paul G.; Gall, Angela; Gorczynska, Malgosia I.; Harborne, Alastair R.; Pescod, Claire L.; Renken, Henk; C. C. Wabnitz, Colette; Llewellyn, Ghislane

    2004-02-01

    Mangrove forests are one of the world's most threatened tropical ecosystems with global loss exceeding 35% (ref. 1). Juvenile coral reef fish often inhabit mangroves, but the importance of these nurseries to reef fish population dynamics has not been quantified. Indeed, mangroves might be expected to have negligible influence on reef fish communities: juvenile fish can inhabit alternative habitats and fish populations may be regulated by other limiting factors such as larval supply or fishing. Here we show that mangroves are unexpectedly important, serving as an intermediate nursery habitat that may increase the survivorship of young fish. Mangroves in the Caribbean strongly influence the community structure of fish on neighbouring coral reefs. In addition, the biomass of several commercially important species is more than doubled when adult habitat is connected to mangroves. The largest herbivorous fish in the Atlantic, Scarus guacamaia, has a functional dependency on mangroves and has suffered local extinction after mangrove removal. Current rates of mangrove deforestation are likely to have severe deleterious consequences for the ecosystem function, fisheries productivity and resilience of reefs. Conservation efforts should protect connected corridors of mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs.

  1. Using passive acoustic telemetry to infer mortality events in adult herbivorous coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khan, J. A.; Welsh, J. Q.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2016-06-01

    Mortality is considered to be an important factor shaping the structure of coral reef fish communities, but data on the rate and nature of mortality of adult coral reef fishes are sparse. Mortality on coral reefs is intrinsically linked with predation, with most evidence suggesting that predation is highest during crepuscular periods. We tested this hypothesis using passive acoustic telemetry data to determine the time of day of potential mortality events (PMEs) of adult herbivorous reef fishes. A total of 94 fishes were tagged with acoustic transmitters, of which 43 exhibited a PME. Furthermore, we identified five categories of PMEs based on the nature of change in acoustic signal detections from tagged fishes. The majority of PMEs were characterised by an abrupt stop in detections, possibly as a result of a large, mobile predator. Overall, mortality rates were estimated to be approximately 59 % per year using passive acoustic telemetry. The time of day of PMEs suggests that predation was highest during the day and crepuscular periods and lowest at night, offering only partial support for the crepuscular predation hypothesis. Visually oriented, diurnal and crepuscular predators appear to be more important than their nocturnal counterparts in terms of predation on adult reef fishes. By timing PMEs, passive acoustic telemetry may offer an important new tool for investigating the nature of predation on coral reefs.

  2. Spot the difference: mimicry in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gagliano, Monica; Depczynski, Martial

    2013-01-01

    Eyespots on the body of many animals have long been assumed to confer protection against predators, but empirical evidence has recently demonstrated that this may not always be the case and suggested that such markings may also serve other purposes. Clearly, this raises the unresolved question of what functions do these markings have and do they contribute to an individual's evolutionary fitness in the wild. Here, we examined the occurrence of eyespots on the dorsal fin of a coral reef damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis), where these markings are typical of the juvenile stage and fade away as the fish approaches sexual maturation to then disappear completely in the vast majority of, but not all, adult individuals. By exploring differences in body shape among age and gender groups, we found that individuals retaining the eyespot into adulthood are all sexually mature males, suggesting that these eyespots may be an adult deceptive signal. Interestingly, the body shape of these individuals resembled more closely that of immature females than mature dominant males. These results suggest that eyespots have multiple roles and their functional significance changes within the lifetime of an animal from being a juvenile advertisement to a deceptive adult signal. Male removal experiments or colour manipulations may be necessary to establish specific functions.

  3. Spot the difference: mimicry in a coral reef fish.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Monica Gagliano

    Full Text Available Eyespots on the body of many animals have long been assumed to confer protection against predators, but empirical evidence has recently demonstrated that this may not always be the case and suggested that such markings may also serve other purposes. Clearly, this raises the unresolved question of what functions do these markings have and do they contribute to an individual's evolutionary fitness in the wild. Here, we examined the occurrence of eyespots on the dorsal fin of a coral reef damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis, where these markings are typical of the juvenile stage and fade away as the fish approaches sexual maturation to then disappear completely in the vast majority of, but not all, adult individuals. By exploring differences in body shape among age and gender groups, we found that individuals retaining the eyespot into adulthood are all sexually mature males, suggesting that these eyespots may be an adult deceptive signal. Interestingly, the body shape of these individuals resembled more closely that of immature females than mature dominant males. These results suggest that eyespots have multiple roles and their functional significance changes within the lifetime of an animal from being a juvenile advertisement to a deceptive adult signal. Male removal experiments or colour manipulations may be necessary to establish specific functions.

  4. Not finding Nemo: limited reef-scale retention in a coral reef fish

    KAUST Repository

    Nanninga, Gerrit B.

    2015-02-03

    The spatial scale of larval dispersal is a key predictor of marine metapopulation dynamics and an important factor in the design of reserve networks. Over the past 15 yr, studies of larval dispersal in coral reef fishes have generated accumulating evidence of consistently high levels of self-recruitment and local retention at various spatial scales. These findings have, to a certain degree, created a paradigm shift toward the perception that large fractions of locally produced recruitment may be the rule rather than the exception. Here we examined the degree of localized settlement in an anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, at a solitary coral reef in the central Red Sea by integrating estimates of self-recruitment obtained from genetic parentage analysis with predictions of local retention derived from a biophysical dispersal model parameterized with real-time physical forcing. Self-recruitment at the reef scale (c. 0.7 km2) was virtually absent during two consecutive January spawning events (1.4 % in 2012 and 0 % in 2013). Predicted levels of local retention at the reef scale varied temporally, but were comparatively low for both simulations (7 % in 2012 and 0 % in 2013). At the same time, the spatial scale of simulated dispersal was restricted to approximately 20 km from the source. Model predictions of reef-scale larval retention were highly dependent on biological parameters, underlining the need for further empirical validations of larval traits over a range of species. Overall, our findings present an urgent caution when assuming the potential for self-replenishment in small marine reserves.

  5. Not finding Nemo: limited reef-scale retention in a coral reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nanninga, G. B.; Saenz-Agudelo, P.; Zhan, P.; Hoteit, I.; Berumen, M. L.

    2015-06-01

    The spatial scale of larval dispersal is a key predictor of marine metapopulation dynamics and an important factor in the design of reserve networks. Over the past 15 yr, studies of larval dispersal in coral reef fishes have generated accumulating evidence of consistently high levels of self-recruitment and local retention at various spatial scales. These findings have, to a certain degree, created a paradigm shift toward the perception that large fractions of locally produced recruitment may be the rule rather than the exception. Here we examined the degree of localized settlement in an anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, at a solitary coral reef in the central Red Sea by integrating estimates of self-recruitment obtained from genetic parentage analysis with predictions of local retention derived from a biophysical dispersal model parameterized with real-time physical forcing. Self-recruitment at the reef scale (c. 0.7 km2) was virtually absent during two consecutive January spawning events (1.4 % in 2012 and 0 % in 2013). Predicted levels of local retention at the reef scale varied temporally, but were comparatively low for both simulations (7 % in 2012 and 0 % in 2013). At the same time, the spatial scale of simulated dispersal was restricted to approximately 20 km from the source. Model predictions of reef-scale larval retention were highly dependent on biological parameters, underlining the need for further empirical validations of larval traits over a range of species. Overall, our findings present an urgent caution when assuming the potential for self-replenishment in small marine reserves.

  6. Coral reef fish assemblages along a disturbance gradient in the northern Persian Gulf: A seasonal perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ghazilou, Amir; Shokri, Mohammad Reza; Gladstone, William

    2016-04-30

    Seasonal dynamics of coral reef fish assemblages were assessed along a gradient of potential anthropogenic disturbance in the Northern Persian Gulf. Overall, the attributes of coral reef fish assemblages showed seasonality at two different levels: seasonal changes irrespective of the magnitude of disturbance level (e.g. species richness), and seasonal changes in response to disturbance level (e.g. total abundance and assemblage composition). The examined parameters mostly belonged to the second group, but the interpretation of the relationship between patterns of seasonal changes and the disturbance level was not straightforward. The abundance of carnivorous fishes did not vary among seasons. SIMPER identified the family Nemipteridae as the major contributor to the observed spatiotemporal variations in the composition of coral reef fish assemblages in the study area.

  7. Fitness consequences of habitat variability, trophic position, and energy allocation across the depth distribution of a coral-reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldstein, E. D.; D'Alessandro, E. K.; Sponaugle, S.

    2017-09-01

    Environmental clines such as latitude and depth that limit species' distributions may be associated with gradients in habitat suitability that can affect the fitness of an organism. With the global loss of shallow-water photosynthetic coral reefs, mesophotic coral ecosystems ( 30-150 m) may be buffered from some environmental stressors, thereby serving as refuges for a range of organisms including mobile obligate reef dwellers. Yet habitat suitability may be diminished at the depth boundary of photosynthetic coral reefs. We assessed the suitability of coral-reef habitats across the majority of the depth distribution of a common demersal reef fish ( Stegastes partitus) ranging from shallow shelf (SS, reefs are suitable habitats for demersal reef fish and may be important refuges for organisms common on declining shallow coral reefs.

  8. Reef fishes in biodiversity hotspots are at greatest risk from loss of coral species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Messmer, Vanessa; Brooks, Andrew J; Srinivasan, Maya; Munday, Philip L; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2015-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are under a variety of threats from global change and anthropogenic disturbances that are reducing the number and type of coral species on reefs. Coral reefs support upwards of one third of all marine species of fish, so the loss of coral habitat may have substantial consequences to local fish diversity. We posit that the effects of habitat degradation will be most severe in coral regions with highest biodiversity of fishes due to greater specialization by fishes for particular coral habitats. Our novel approach to this important but untested hypothesis was to conduct the same field experiment at three geographic locations across the Indo-Pacific biodiversity gradient (Papua New Guinea; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; French Polynesia). Specifically, we experimentally explored whether the response of local fish communities to identical changes in diversity of habitat-providing corals was independent of the size of the regional species pool of fishes. We found that the proportional reduction (sensitivity) in fish biodiversity to loss of coral diversity was greater for regions with larger background species pools, reflecting variation in the degree of habitat specialization of fishes across the Indo-Pacific diversity gradient. This result implies that habitat-associated fish in diversity hotspots are at greater risk of local extinction to a given loss of habitat diversity compared to regions with lower species richness. This mechanism, related to the positive relationship between habitat specialization and regional biodiversity, and the elevated extinction risk this poses for biodiversity hotspots, may apply to species in other types of ecosystems.

  9. Reef fishes in biodiversity hotspots are at greatest risk from loss of coral species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sally J Holbrook

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are under a variety of threats from global change and anthropogenic disturbances that are reducing the number and type of coral species on reefs. Coral reefs support upwards of one third of all marine species of fish, so the loss of coral habitat may have substantial consequences to local fish diversity. We posit that the effects of habitat degradation will be most severe in coral regions with highest biodiversity of fishes due to greater specialization by fishes for particular coral habitats. Our novel approach to this important but untested hypothesis was to conduct the same field experiment at three geographic locations across the Indo-Pacific biodiversity gradient (Papua New Guinea; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; French Polynesia. Specifically, we experimentally explored whether the response of local fish communities to identical changes in diversity of habitat-providing corals was independent of the size of the regional species pool of fishes. We found that the proportional reduction (sensitivity in fish biodiversity to loss of coral diversity was greater for regions with larger background species pools, reflecting variation in the degree of habitat specialization of fishes across the Indo-Pacific diversity gradient. This result implies that habitat-associated fish in diversity hotspots are at greater risk of local extinction to a given loss of habitat diversity compared to regions with lower species richness. This mechanism, related to the positive relationship between habitat specialization and regional biodiversity, and the elevated extinction risk this poses for biodiversity hotspots, may apply to species in other types of ecosystems.

  10. Human, oceanographic and habitat drivers of central and western Pacific coral reef fish assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ivor D Williams

    Full Text Available Coral reefs around US- and US-affiliated Pacific islands and atolls span wide oceanographic gradients and levels of human impact. Here we examine the relative influence of these factors on coral reef fish biomass, using data from a consistent large-scale ecosystem monitoring program conducted by scientific divers over the course of >2,000 hours of underwater observation at 1,934 sites, across ~40 islands and atolls. Consistent with previous smaller-scale studies, our results show sharp declines in reef fish biomass at relatively low human population density, followed by more gradual declines as human population density increased further. Adjusting for other factors, the highest levels of oceanic productivity among our study locations were associated with more than double the biomass of reef fishes (including ~4 times the biomass of planktivores and piscivores compared to islands with lowest oceanic productivity. Our results emphasize that coral reef areas do not all have equal ability to sustain large reef fish stocks, and that what is natural varies significantly amongst locations. Comparisons of biomass estimates derived from visual surveys with predicted biomass in the absence of humans indicated that total reef fish biomass was depleted by 61% to 69% at populated islands in the Mariana Archipelago; by 20% to 78% in the Main Hawaiian islands; and by 21% to 56% in American Samoa.

  11. Crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes

    KAUST Repository

    Wilson, S. K.

    2010-02-26

    Expert opinion was canvassed to identify crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes. Scientists that had published three or more papers on the effects of climate and environmental factors on reef fishes were invited to submit five questions that, if addressed, would improve our understanding of climate change effects on coral reef fishes. Thirty-three scientists provided 155 questions, and 32 scientists scored these questions in terms of: (i) identifying a knowledge gap, (ii) achievability, (iii) applicability to a broad spectrum of species and reef habitats, and (iv) priority. Forty-two per cent of the questions related to habitat associations and community dynamics of fish, reflecting the established effects and immediate concern relating to climate-induced coral loss and habitat degradation. However, there were also questions on fish demographics, physiology, behaviour and management, all of which could be potentially affected by climate change. Irrespective of their individual expertise and background, scientists scored questions from different topics similarly, suggesting limited bias and recognition of a need for greater interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Presented here are the 53 highest-scoring unique questions. These questions should act as a guide for future research, providing a basis for better assessment and management of climate change impacts on coral reefs and associated fish communities.

  12. Crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, S K; Adjeroud, M; Bellwood, D R; Berumen, M L; Booth, D; Bozec, Y-Marie; Chabanet, P; Cheal, A; Cinner, J; Depczynski, M; Feary, D A; Gagliano, M; Graham, N A J; Halford, A R; Halpern, B S; Harborne, A R; Hoey, A S; Holbrook, S J; Jones, G P; Kulbiki, M; Letourneur, Y; De Loma, T L; McClanahan, T; McCormick, M I; Meekan, M G; Mumby, P J; Munday, P L; Ohman, M C; Pratchett, M S; Riegl, B; Sano, M; Schmitt, R J; Syms, C

    2010-03-15

    Expert opinion was canvassed to identify crucial knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes. Scientists that had published three or more papers on the effects of climate and environmental factors on reef fishes were invited to submit five questions that, if addressed, would improve our understanding of climate change effects on coral reef fishes. Thirty-three scientists provided 155 questions, and 32 scientists scored these questions in terms of: (i) identifying a knowledge gap, (ii) achievability, (iii) applicability to a broad spectrum of species and reef habitats, and (iv) priority. Forty-two per cent of the questions related to habitat associations and community dynamics of fish, reflecting the established effects and immediate concern relating to climate-induced coral loss and habitat degradation. However, there were also questions on fish demographics, physiology, behaviour and management, all of which could be potentially affected by climate change. Irrespective of their individual expertise and background, scientists scored questions from different topics similarly, suggesting limited bias and recognition of a need for greater interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Presented here are the 53 highest-scoring unique questions. These questions should act as a guide for future research, providing a basis for better assessment and management of climate change impacts on coral reefs and associated fish communities.

  13. Spatial variation in coral reef fish and benthic communities in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha T.

    2017-06-06

    Local-scale ecological information is critical as a sound basis for spatial management and conservation and as support for ongoing research in relatively unstudied areas. We conducted visual surveys of fish and benthic communities on nine reefs (3–24 km from shore) in the Thuwal area of the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Fish biomass increased with increasing distance from shore, but was generally low compared to reefs experiencing minimal human influence around the world. All reefs had a herbivore-dominated trophic structure and few top predators, such as sharks, jacks, or large groupers. Coral cover was considerably lower on inshore reefs, likely due to a 2010 bleaching event. Community analyses showed inshore reefs to be characterized by turf algae, slower-growing corals, lower herbivore diversity, and highly abundant turf-farming damselfishes. Offshore reefs had more planktivorous fishes, a more diverse herbivore assemblage, and faster-growing corals. All reefs appear to be impacted by overfishing, and inshore reefs seem more vulnerable to thermal bleaching. The study provides a description of the spatial variation in biomass and community structure in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea and provides a basis for spatial prioritization and subsequent marine protected area design in Thuwal.

  14. Spatial variation in coral reef fish and benthic communities in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maha T. Khalil

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Local-scale ecological information is critical as a sound basis for spatial management and conservation and as support for ongoing research in relatively unstudied areas. We conducted visual surveys of fish and benthic communities on nine reefs (3–24 km from shore in the Thuwal area of the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Fish biomass increased with increasing distance from shore, but was generally low compared to reefs experiencing minimal human influence around the world. All reefs had a herbivore-dominated trophic structure and few top predators, such as sharks, jacks, or large groupers. Coral cover was considerably lower on inshore reefs, likely due to a 2010 bleaching event. Community analyses showed inshore reefs to be characterized by turf algae, slower-growing corals, lower herbivore diversity, and highly abundant turf-farming damselfishes. Offshore reefs had more planktivorous fishes, a more diverse herbivore assemblage, and faster-growing corals. All reefs appear to be impacted by overfishing, and inshore reefs seem more vulnerable to thermal bleaching. The study provides a description of the spatial variation in biomass and community structure in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea and provides a basis for spatial prioritization and subsequent marine protected area design in Thuwal.

  15. Local extinction of a coral reef fish explained by inflexible prey choice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooker, R. M.; Munday, P. L.; Brandl, S. J.; Jones, G. P.

    2014-12-01

    While global extinctions of marine species are infrequent, local extinctions are becoming common. However, the role of habitat degradation and resource specialisation in explaining local extinction is unknown. On coral reefs, coral bleaching is an increasingly frequent cause of coral mortality that can result in dramatic changes to coral community composition. Coral-associated fishes are often specialised on a limited suite of coral species and are therefore sensitive to these changes. This study documents the local extinction of a corallivorous reef fish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, following a mass bleaching event that altered the species composition of associated coral communities. Local extinction only occurred on reefs that also completely lost a key prey species, Acropora millepora, even though coral cover remained high. In an experimental test, fish continued to select bleached A. millepora over the healthy, but less-preferred prey species that resisted bleaching. These results suggest that behavioural inflexibility may limit the ability of specialists to cope with even subtle changes to resource availability.

  16. Coral reef destruction of Small island in 44 years and destructive fishing in Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nurdin, Nurjannah; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Rani, Chair; Supriadi; Fakhriyyah, Sitti; Agus

    2016-11-01

    Coral reefs are among the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet. The most commonly stated for developing coral reef remote sensing techniques is to asses and or to monitor the status of these ecosystems. The study site was selected one of small island in inner zone Spermonde archipelago, Indonesia. We used Landsat MSS, Landsat TM, Landsat ETM, and Landsat OLI data to examine changes in the coral reefs of inner zone island in the Spermonde Archipelago from 1972 to 2016. The image processing are gap fills, atmospheric correction, geometric corrections, image composites, water column corrections, unsupervised classifications, and reclassification. Some of component change detection procedure was applied to define change. The results showed significant changes in 44 years. Disturbed coral reefs are typically characterized by loss of coral cover by increase in the abundance of dead corals and rubble. Local factors such as destructive fishing is direct destruction of inner zone island. While the impact of local threats may be reduced through management action, global threats to coral reefs are likely to increase in severity in the coming years.

  17. Coral recruitment and potential recovery of eutrophied and blast fishing impacted reefs in Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawall, Yvonne; Jompa, Jamaluddin; Litaay, Magdalena; Maddusila, Andi; Richter, Claudio

    2013-09-15

    Coral recruitment was assessed in highly diverse and economically important Spermonde Archipelago, a reef system subjected to land-based sources of siltation/pollution and destructive fishing, over a period of 2 years. Recruitment on settlement tiles reached up to 705 spat m(-2) yr(-1) and was strongest in the dry season (July-October), except off-shore, where larvae settled earlier. Pocilloporidae dominated near-shore, while a more diverse community of Acroporidae, Poritidae and others settled in the less polluted mid-shelf and off-shore reefs. Non-coral fouling community appeared to hardly influence initial coral settlement on the tiles, although, this does not necessarily infer low coral post-settlement mortality, which may be enhanced at the near- and off-shore reefs as indicated by increased abundances of potential space competitors on natural substrate. Blast fishing showed no local reduction in coral recruitment and live hard coral cover increased in oligotrophic reefs, indicating potential for coral recovery, if managed effectively. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Guam Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program Reef Fish Surveys since 2010

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Government of Guam's Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program, coordinated by the Guam Coastal Management Program until October 2013 and now coordinated by the...

  19. Community structure and coral status across reef fishing intensity gradients in Palk Bay reef, southeast coast of India.

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Manikandan, B.; Ravindran, J.; Shrinivaasu, S.; Marimuthu, N.; Paramasivam, K.

    the neighbouring reefs, it becomes important to maintain a no fishing zones of reef fish in the neighbourhood of reef fishing hotspots. In addition, long term data on diversity, quantity, age, size structure and sex of the reef fishes exploited...

  20. Coral and Reef Fish in the Northern Quirimbas Archipelago ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    such as increased pollution and sedimentation, and bleaching ... that also conducts limited subsistence agriculture ... the deep water of the Mozambique Channel. This ... Fish densities were assessed using underwater ... challenging logistics of the area and the methods .... gray reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhyncos) and.

  1. Larval retention and connectivity among populations of corals and reef fishes: history, advances and challenges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, G. P.; Almany, G. R.; Russ, G. R.; Sale, P. F.; Steneck, R. S.; van Oppen, M. J. H.; Willis, B. L.

    2009-06-01

    The extent of larval dispersal on coral reefs has important implications for the persistence of coral reef metapopulations, their resilience and recovery from an increasing array of threats, and the success of protective measures. This article highlights a recent dramatic increase in research effort and a growing diversity of approaches to the study of larval retention within (self-recruitment) and dispersal among (connectivity) isolated coral reef populations. Historically, researchers were motivated by alternative hypotheses concerning the processes limiting populations and structuring coral reef assemblages, whereas the recent impetus has come largely from the need to incorporate dispersal information into the design of no-take marine protected area (MPA) networks. Although the majority of studies continue to rely on population genetic approaches to make inferences about dispersal, a wide range of techniques are now being employed, from small-scale larval tagging and paternity analyses, to large-scale biophysical circulation models. Multiple approaches are increasingly being applied to cross-validate and provide more realistic estimates of larval dispersal. The vast majority of empirical studies have focused on corals and fishes, where evidence for both extremely local scale patterns of self-recruitment and ecologically significant connectivity among reefs at scales of tens of kilometers (and in some cases hundreds of kilometers) is accumulating. Levels of larval retention and the spatial extent of connectivity in both corals and fishes appear to be largely independent of larval duration or reef size, but may be strongly influenced by geographic setting. It is argued that high levels of both self-recruitment and larval import can contribute to the resilience of reef populations and MPA networks, but these benefits will erode in degrading reef environments.

  2. Distribution, behavior, and condition of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs track algal resources.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tootell, Jesse S; Steele, Mark A

    2016-05-01

    Herbivore distribution can impact community structure and ecosystem function. On coral reefs, herbivores are thought to play an important role in promoting coral dominance, but how they are distributed relative to algae is not well known. Here, we evaluated whether the distribution, behavior, and condition of herbivorous fishes correlated with algal resource availability at six sites in the back reef environment of Moorea, French Polynesia. Specifically, we tested the hypotheses that increased algal turf availability would coincide with (1) increased biomass, (2) altered foraging behavior, and (3) increased energy reserves of herbivorous fishes. Fish biomass and algal cover were visually estimated along underwater transects; behavior of herbivorous fishes was quantified by observations of focal individuals; fish were collected to assess their condition; and algal turf production rates were measured on standardized tiles. The best predictor of herbivorous fish biomass was algal turf production, with fish biomass increasing with algal production. Biomass of herbivorous fishes was also negatively related to sea urchin density, suggesting competition for limited resources. Regression models including both algal turf production and urchin density explained 94 % of the variation in herbivorous fish biomass among sites spread over ~20 km. Behavioral observations of the parrotfish Chlorurus sordidus revealed that foraging area increased as algal turf cover decreased. Additionally, energy reserves increased with algal turf production, but declined with herbivorous fish density, implying that algal turf is a limited resource for this species. Our findings support the hypothesis that herbivorous fishes can spatially track algal resources on coral reefs.

  3. First description of the neuro-anatomy of a larval coral reef fish Amphiprion ocellaris.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacob, H; Metian, M; Brooker, R M; Duran, E; Nakamura, N; Roux, N; Masanet, P; Soulat, O; Lecchini, D

    2016-09-01

    The present study described the neuro-anatomy of a larval coral reef fish Amphiprion ocellaris and hypothesized that morphological changes during the transition from the oceanic environment to a reef environment (i.e. recruitment) have the potential to be driven by changes to environmental conditions and associated changes to cognitive requirements. Quantitative comparisons were made of the relative development of three specific brain areas (telencephalon, mesencephalon and cerebellum) between 6 days post-hatch (dph) larvae (oceanic phase) and 11 dph (at reef recruitment). The results showed that 6 dph larvae had at least two larger structures (telencephalon and mesencephalon) than 11 dph larvae, while the size of cerebellum remained identical. These results suggest that the structure and organization of the brain may reflect the cognitive demands at every stage of development. This study initiates analysis of the relationship between behavioural ecology and neuroscience in coral reef fishes. © 2016 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

  4. Climate-driven coral reorganisation influences aggressive behaviour in juvenile coral-reef fishes

    OpenAIRE

    Kok, Judith E.; Graham, Nicholas Anthony James; Mia O Hoogenboom

    2016-01-01

    Globally, habitat degradation is altering the abundance and diversity of species in a variety of ecosystems. This study aimed to determine how habitat degradation, in terms of changing coral composition under climate change, affected abundance, species richness and aggressive behaviour of juveniles of three damselfishes (Pomacentrus moluccensis, P. amboinensis and Dischistodus perspicillatus, in order of decreasing reliance on coral). Patch reefs were constructed to simulate two types of reef...

  5. Environmental factors affecting large-bodied coral reef fish assemblages in the Mariana Archipelago.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin L Richards

    Full Text Available Large-bodied reef fishes represent an economically and ecologically important segment of the coral reef fish assemblage. Many of these individuals supply the bulk of the reproductive output for their population and have a disproportionate effect on their environment (e.g. as apex predators or bioeroding herbivores. Large-bodied reef fishes also tend to be at greatest risk of overfishing, and their loss can result in a myriad of either cascading (direct or indirect trophic and other effects. While many studies have investigated habitat characteristics affecting populations of small-bodied reef fishes, few have explored the relationship between large-bodied species and their environment. Here, we describe the distribution of the large-bodied reef fishes in the Mariana Archipelago with an emphasis on the environmental factors associated with their distribution. Of the factors considered in this study, a negative association with human population density showed the highest relative influence on the distribution of large-bodied reef fishes; however, depth, water temperature, and distance to deep water also were important. These findings provide new information on the ecology of large-bodied reef fishes can inform discussions concerning essential fish habitat and ecosystem-based management for these species and highlight important knowledge gaps worthy of additional research.

  6. Nocturnal relocation of adult and juvenile coral reef fishes in response to reef noise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simpson, S. D.; Jeffs, A.; Montgomery, J. C.; McCauley, R. D.; Meekan, M. G.

    2008-03-01

    Juvenile and adult reef fishes often undergo migration, ontogenic habitat shifts, and nocturnal foraging movements. The orientation cues used for these behaviours are largely unknown. In this study, the use of sound as an orientation cue guiding the nocturnal movements of adult and juvenile reef fishes at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef was examined. The first experiment compared the movements of fishes to small patch reefs where reef noise was broadcast, with those to silent reefs. No significant responses were found in the 79 adults that were collected, but the 166 juveniles collected showed an increased diversity each morning on the reefs with broadcast noise, and significantly greater numbers of juveniles from three taxa (Apogonidae, Gobiidae and Pinguipedidae) were collected from reefs with broadcast noise. The second experiment compared the movement of adult and juvenile fishes to reefs broadcasting high (>570 Hz), or low (Gobiidae and Blenniidae) preferred these reefs. A similar trend was observed in the 372 juveniles collected, with higher diversity at the reefs with low frequency noises. This preference was seen in the juvenile apogonids; however, juvenile gobiids were attracted to both high and low sound treatments equally, and juvenile stage Acanthuridae preferred the high frequency noises. This evidence that juvenile and adult reef fishes orientate with respect to the soundscape raises important issues for management, conservation and the protection of sound cues used in natural behaviour.

  7. Restocking herbivorous fish populations as a social-ecological restoration tool in coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Avigdor Abelson

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available The degradation of the world's coral reefs has aroused growing interest in ecological restoration as a countermeasure, which is widely criticized, mainly due to cost-effectiveness concerns. Here, we propose the restocking of herbivorous fish as a restoration tool, based on supply of young fish to degraded reefs, with the aims of: 1. Buildup of a critical fish biomass for basic ecosystem functions (e.g. grazing; 2. Increased fishing yields, which can sustain coastal communities, and consequently; 3. Reduced reef destruction and better local compliance with fishery policies. We present the rationale of the restocking approach as both a reef restoration and a fishery management tool, and examine its pros and cons. This approach requires, however, further social-ecological and aquaculture research in order to support the critical stages of its implementation.

  8. Adapt, move or die - how will tropical coral reef fishes cope with ocean warming?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Habary, Adam; Johansen, Jacob L.; Nay, Tiffany J.

    2017-01-01

    poleward, away from ocean warming hotspots where temperatures 2-3 °C above long-term annual means can compromise critical physiological processes. We examined the capacity of a model species - a thermally sensitive coral reef fish, Chromis viridis (Pomacentridae) - to use preference behaviour to regulate...

  9. Fisheries management: what chance on coral reefs?

    OpenAIRE

    1996-01-01

    Failures of fishery management to control fishing effort globally and how this affects the coral reef fisheries are discussed. The use of marine reserves in coral reef fisheries management is also emphasized.

  10. Coral reefs in crisis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinrichsen, D

    1997-01-01

    This article reports on the crisis facing reefs throughout the world and the struggle to save them. Coral reefs, one of the biological wonders of the world, are among the largest and oldest living communities of plants and animals on earth, having been evolved between 200 and 450 million years ago. Located mostly in the Pacific region, most established coral reefs are now dead and only the upper layer is covered by a thin changeable skin of living coral. Reefs, over the years, have been the main source of animal protein for over 1 billion people in Asia. Countries near the coastlines, which relied on the seas, have resorted to dynamite fishing, poisoning and other illegal and dangerous techniques. Overpopulation and pollution has caused the deteriorating conditions of the 600,000 sq. km of coral reefs worldwide. Despite these conditions, the government has ignored this problem as they struggle to develop their economies at the expense of common resources. In addition, this article narrates the efforts that are exerted by governments in promoting coral reef protection and management of these coastal resources, setting the Apo Island in the Philippines as an example of good management and sustainability.

  11. Coral Reef Health Indices versus the Biological, Ecological and Functional Diversity of Fish and Coral Assemblages in the Caribbean Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díaz-Pérez, Leopoldo; Rodríguez-Zaragoza, Fabián Alejandro; Ortiz, Marco; Cupul-Magaña, Amílcar Leví; Carriquiry, Jose D; Ríos-Jara, Eduardo; Rodríguez-Troncoso, Alma Paola; García-Rivas, María Del Carmen

    2016-01-01

    This study evaluated the relationship between the indices known as the Reef Health Index (RHI) and two-dimensional Coral Health Index (2D-CHI) and different representative metrics of biological, ecological and functional diversity of fish and corals in 101 reef sites located across seven zones in the western Caribbean Sea. Species richness and average taxonomic distinctness were used to asses biological estimation; while ecological diversity was evaluated with the indices of Shannon diversity and Pielou´s evenness, as well as by taxonomic diversity and distinctness. Functional diversity considered the number of functional groups, the Shannon diversity and the functional Pielou´s evenness. According to the RHI, 57.15% of the zones were classified as presenting a "poor" health grade, while 42.85% were in "critical" grade. Based on the 2D-CHI, 28.5% of the zones were in "degraded" condition and 71.5% were "very degraded". Differences in fish and coral diversity among sites and zones were demonstrated using permutational ANOVAs. Differences between the two health indices (RHI and 2D-CHI) and some indices of biological, ecological and functional diversity of fish and corals were observed; however, only the RHI showed a correlation between the health grades and the species and functional group richness of fish at the scale of sites, and with the species and functional group richness and Shannon diversity of the fish assemblages at the scale of zones. None of the health indices were related to the metrics analyzed for the coral diversity. In general, our study suggests that the estimation of health indices should be complemented with classic community indices, or should at least include diversity indices of fish and corals, in order to improve the accuracy of the estimated health status of coral reefs in the western Caribbean Sea.

  12. Coral Reef Health Indices versus the Biological, Ecological and Functional Diversity of Fish and Coral Assemblages in the Caribbean Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díaz-Pérez, Leopoldo; Ortiz, Marco; Cupul-Magaña, Amílcar Leví; Carriquiry, Jose D.; Ríos-Jara, Eduardo; Rodríguez-Troncoso, Alma Paola; García-Rivas, María del Carmen

    2016-01-01

    This study evaluated the relationship between the indices known as the Reef Health Index (RHI) and two-dimensional Coral Health Index (2D-CHI) and different representative metrics of biological, ecological and functional diversity of fish and corals in 101 reef sites located across seven zones in the western Caribbean Sea. Species richness and average taxonomic distinctness were used to asses biological estimation; while ecological diversity was evaluated with the indices of Shannon diversity and Pielou´s evenness, as well as by taxonomic diversity and distinctness. Functional diversity considered the number of functional groups, the Shannon diversity and the functional Pielou´s evenness. According to the RHI, 57.15% of the zones were classified as presenting a "poor" health grade, while 42.85% were in "critical" grade. Based on the 2D-CHI, 28.5% of the zones were in "degraded" condition and 71.5% were "very degraded". Differences in fish and coral diversity among sites and zones were demonstrated using permutational ANOVAs. Differences between the two health indices (RHI and 2D-CHI) and some indices of biological, ecological and functional diversity of fish and corals were observed; however, only the RHI showed a correlation between the health grades and the species and functional group richness of fish at the scale of sites, and with the species and functional group richness and Shannon diversity of the fish assemblages at the scale of zones. None of the health indices were related to the metrics analyzed for the coral diversity. In general, our study suggests that the estimation of health indices should be complemented with classic community indices, or should at least include diversity indices of fish and corals, in order to improve the accuracy of the estimated health status of coral reefs in the western Caribbean Sea. PMID:27579575

  13. Fifty million years of herbivory on coral reefs: fossils, fish and functional innovations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellwood, D. R.; Goatley, C. H. R.; Brandl, S. J.; Bellwood, O.

    2014-01-01

    The evolution of ecological processes on coral reefs was examined based on Eocene fossil fishes from Monte Bolca, Italy and extant species from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Using ecologically relevant morphological metrics, we investigated the evolution of herbivory in surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae) and rabbitfishes (Siganidae). Eocene and Recent surgeonfishes showed remarkable similarities, with grazers, browsers and even specialized, long-snouted forms having Eocene analogues. These long-snouted Eocene species were probably pair-forming, crevice-feeding forms like their Recent counterparts. Although Eocene surgeonfishes likely played a critical role as herbivores during the origins of modern coral reefs, they lacked the novel morphologies seen in modern Acanthurus and Siganus (including eyes positioned high above their low-set mouths). Today, these forms dominate coral reefs in both abundance and species richness and are associated with feeding on shallow, exposed algal turfs. The radiation of these new forms, and their expansion into new habitats in the Oligocene–Miocene, reflects the second phase in the development of fish herbivory on coral reefs that is closely associated with the exploitation of highly productive short algal turfs. PMID:24573852

  14. Influence of coral cover and structural complexity on the accuracy of visual surveys of coral-reef fish communities

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, D. J.

    2017-04-20

    Using manipulated patch reefs with combinations of varying live-coral cover (low, medium and high) and structural complexity (low and high), common community metrics (abundance, diversity, richness and community composition) collected through standard underwater visual census techniques were compared with exhaustive collections using a fish anaesthetic (clove oil). This study showed that reef condition did not influence underwater visual census estimates at a community level, but reef condition can influence the detectability of some small and cryptic species and this may be exacerbated if surveys are conducted on a larger scale.

  15. Distribution of fish in seagrass, mangroves and coral reefs: life-stage dependent habitat use in Honduras.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jaxion-Harm, Jessica; Saunders, James; Speight, Martin R

    2012-06-01

    Many coral reef fish exhibit habitat partitioning throughout their lifetimes. Such patterns are evident in the Caribbean where research has been predominantly conducted in the Eastern region. This work addressed the paucity of data regarding Honduran reef fish distribution in three habitat types (seagrass, mangroves, and coral reefs), by surveying fish on the islands of Utila and Cayos Cochinos off the coast of Honduras (part of the Mesoamerican barrier reef). During July 2nd - Aug 27th 2007 and June 22nd - Aug 17th, 2008, visual surveys (SCUBA and snorkel) were performed in belt transects in different areas: eleven coral reef, six seagrass beds, and six mangroves sites. Juvenile densities and total habitat surface area were used to calculate nursery value of seagrass and mangroves. A total of 113 fish species from 32 families were found during underwater surveys. Multi-dimensional analyses revealed distinct clusters of fish communities in each habitat type by separating fish associated with seagrass beds, mangroves, and coral reefs. Coral reefs showed the highest mean fish species richness and were dominated by adult fish, while juvenile fish characterized seagrass beds and mangrove sites. Habitat use differed widely at the fish species level. Scarus iseri (Striped Parrotfish), the most abundant fish in this study, were found in all three habitat types, while Lutjanus apodus (Schoolmaster Snapper) juveniles were located primarily in mangroves before migrating to coral reefs. Many species used seagrass beds and mangroves as nurseries; however, the nursery value could not be generalized at the family level. Furthermore, for some fish species, nursery value varied between islands and sites. Our results suggest that connectivity of seagrass, mangrove, and coral reef sites at a species and site levels, should be taken into consideration when implementing policy and conservation practices.

  16. Differential response of fish assemblages to coral reef-based seaweed farming.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E James Hehre

    Full Text Available As the global demand for seaweed-derived products drives the expansion of seaweed farming onto shallow coral ecosystems, the effects of farms on fish assemblages remain largely unexplored. Shallow coral reefs provide food and shelter for highly diverse fish assemblages but are increasingly modified by anthropogenic activities. We hypothesized that the introduction of seaweed farms into degraded shallow coral reefs had potential to generate ecological benefits for fish by adding structural complexity and a possible food source. We conducted 210 transects at 14 locations, with sampling stratified across seaweed farms and sites adjacent to and distant from farms. At a seascape scale, locations were classified by their level of exposure to human disturbance. We compared sites where (1 marine protected areas (MPAs were established, (2 neither MPAs nor blast fishing was present (hence "unprotected", and (3 blast fishing occurred. We observed 80,186 fish representing 148 species from 38 families. The negative effects of seaweed farms on fish assemblages appeared stronger in the absence of blast fishing and were strongest when MPAs were present, likely reflecting the positive influence of the MPAs on fish within them. Species differentiating fish assemblages with respect to seaweed farming and disturbance were typically small but also included two key target species. The propensity for seaweed farms to increase fish diversity, abundance, and biomass is limited and may reduce MPA benefits. We suggest that careful consideration be given to the placement of seaweed farms relative to MPAs.

  17. Avoiding conflicts and protecting coral reefs: Customary management benefits marine habitats and fish biomass

    KAUST Repository

    Campbell, Stuart J.

    2012-10-01

    Abstract One of the major goals of coral reef conservation is to determine the most effective means of managing marine resources in regions where economic conditions often limit the options available. For example, no-take fishing areas can be impractical in regions where people rely heavily on reef fish for food. In this study we test whether coral reef health differed among areas with varying management practices and socio-economic conditions on Pulau Weh in the Indonesian province of Aceh. Our results show that gear restrictions, in particular prohibiting the use of nets, were successful in minimizing habitat degradation and maintaining fish biomass despite ongoing access to the fishery. Reef fish biomass and hard-coral cover were two- to eight-fold higher at sites where fishing nets were prohibited. The guiding principle of the local customary management system, Panglima Laot, is to reduce conflict among community members over access to marine resources. Consequently, conservation benefits in Aceh have arisen from a customary system that lacks a specific environmental ethic or the means for strong resource-based management. Panglima Laot includes many of the features of successful institutions, such as clearly defined membership rights and the opportunity for resource users to be involved in making, enforcing and changing the rules. Such mechanisms to reduce conflict are the key to the success of marine resource management, particularly in settings that lack resources for enforcement. © 2012 Fauna & Flora International.

  18. Coral reefs at risk

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    Eighty-eight percent of Southeast Asia's reefs are threatened by overfishing, destructive fishing, and sedimentation and pollution from inland activities, according to a new report by 35 regional scientists published by the World Resources Institute.Nearly 100,000 square kilometers of coral reefs—34% of the world's total—are located in Southeast Asia.

  19. Estimating the role of three mesopredatory fishes in coral reef food webs at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thillainath, Emma C.; McIlwain, Jennifer L.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Depczynski, Martial

    2016-03-01

    Within the complex food webs that occur on coral reefs, mesopredatory fish consume small-bodied prey and transfer accumulated biomass to other trophic levels. We estimated biomass, growth and mortality rates of three common mesopredators from Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia to calculate their annual turnover rates and potential contribution to local trophic dynamics. Biomass estimates of the serranid Epinephelus rivulatus (4.46 ± 0.76 g m-2) were an order of magnitude greater than two smaller-bodied mesopredatory fishes, Pseudochromis fuscus (0.10 ± 0.03 g m-2) and Parapercis clathrata (0.23 ± 0.31 g m-2). Growth parameters generated from a von Bertalanffy growth function fitted to size-at-age data, however, indicated that mortality rates for the three mesopredators were similar and that 32-55 % of fish survived each year. Consequently, interspecific differences in annual turnover rates among E. rivulatus (1.9 g m-2 yr-1), Pa. clathrata (0.10 g m-2 yr-1) and Ps. fuscus (0.07 g m-2 yr-1) were an artefact of differences in local biomass estimates. The rapid turnover estimates for E. rivulatus suggest this species is an important conduit of energy within the isolated patch reef habitat where it is typically found, while Ps. fuscus and Pa. clathrata channel smaller amounts of energy from specific habitats in the Ningaloo lagoon. Apparent differences in habitat, diet and turnover rates of the three species examined provide an insight into the different roles these species play in coral reef food webs and suggest that life-history traits allow for variability in the local and spatial contribution of these species at Ningaloo Reef. Moreover, calculating turnover rates of a broader suite of fish species from a range of trophic groups will help better define the role of fishes in coral reef trophic dynamics.

  20. Contrasting effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on coral-associated reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonin, Mary C; Almany, Glenn R; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2011-07-01

    Disturbance can result in the fragmentation and/or loss of suitable habitat, both of which can have important consequences for survival, species interactions, and resulting patterns of local diversity. However, effects of habitat loss and fragmentation are typically confounded during disturbance events, and previous attempts to determine their relative significance have proved ineffective. Here we experimentally manipulated live coral habitats to examine the potential independent and interactive effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on survival, abundance, and species richness of recruitment-stage, coral-associated reef fishes. Loss of 75% of live coral from experimental reefs resulted in low survival of a coral-associated damselfish and low abundance and richness of other recruits 16 weeks after habitat manipulations. In contrast, fragmentation had positive effects on damselfish survival and resulted in greater abundance and species richness of other recruits. We hypothesize that spacing of habitat through fragmentation weakens competition within and among species. Comparison of effect sizes over the course of the study period revealed that, in the first six weeks following habitat manipulations, the positive effects of fragmentation were at least four times stronger than the effects of habitat loss. This initial positive effect of fragmentation attenuated considerably after 16 weeks, whereas the negative effects of habitat loss increased in strength over time. There was little indication that the amount of habitat influenced the magnitude of the habitat fragmentation effect. Numerous studies have reported dramatic declines in coral reef fish abundance and diversity in response to disturbances that cause the loss and fragmentation of coral habitats. Our results suggest that these declines occur as a result of habitat loss, not habitat fragmentation. Positive fragmentation effects may actually buffer against the negative effects of habitat loss and contribute

  1. Ecosystem-Scale Effects of Nutrients and Fishing on Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sheila M. Walsh

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Nutrient pollution and fishing are the primary local causes of coral reef decline but their ecosystem-scale effects are poorly understood. Results from small-scale manipulative experiments of herbivores and nutrients suggest prioritizing management of fishing over nutrient pollution because herbivores can control macroalgae and turf in the presence of nutrients. However, ecological theory suggests that the opposite occurs at large scales. Moreover, it is unclear whether fishing decreases herbivores because fishing of predators may result in an increase in herbivores. To investigate this paradox, data on the fish and benthic communities, fishing, and nutrients were collected on Kiritimati, Kiribati. Oceanographic conditions and a population resettlement program created a natural experiment to compare sites with different levels of fishing and nutrients. Contrary to theory, herbivores controlled macroalgae in the presence of nutrients at large spatial scales, and herbivores had greater effects on macroalgae when nutrients were higher. In addition, fishing did not increase herbivores. These results suggest that protecting herbivores may have greater relative benefits than reducing nutrient pollution, especially on polluted reefs. Reallocating fishing effort from herbivores to invertivores or planktivores may be one way to protect herbivores and indirectly maintain coral dominance on reefs impacted by fishing and nutrient pollution.

  2. Cyanide fishing and cyanide detection in coral reef fish using chemical tests and biosensors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mak, Karen K W; Yanase, Hideshi; Renneberg, Reinhard

    2005-06-15

    Sodium cyanide has been used in the Philippines to collect tropical marine fish for aquarium and food trades since the early 1960s. Cyanide fishing is a fast method to stun and collect fish. This practice is damaging the coral reefs irreversibly. In most countries cyanide fishing is illegal, but most of the exporting and importing countries do not have test and certificate systems. Many analytical methods are available for the detection of cyanide in environmental and biological samples. However, most of the techniques are time consuming, and some lack specificity or sensitivity. Besides, an ultra sensitive cyanide detection method is needed due to the rapid detoxification mechanisms in fish. The aim of this review is to give an overview of cyanide fishing problem in the south-east Asia and current strategies to combat this destructive practice, summarise some of the methods for cyanide detection in biological samples and their disadvantages. A novel approach to detect cyanide in marine fish tissues is briefly discussed.

  3. Baselines and Comparison of Coral Reef Fish Assemblages in the Central Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Kattan, Alexander

    2014-12-01

    In order to properly assess human impacts and appropriate restoration goals, baselines of pristine conditions on coral reefs are required. In Saudi Arabian waters of the central Red Sea, widespread and heavy fishing pressure has been ongoing for decades. To evaluate this influence, we surveyed the assemblage of offshore reef fishes in both this region as well as those of remote and largely unfished southern Sudan. At comparable latitudes, of similar oceanographic influence, and hosting the same array of species, the offshore reefs of southern Sudan provided an ideal location for comparison. We found that top predators (jacks, large snappers, groupers, and others) dominated the reef fish community biomass in Sudan’s deep south region, resulting in an inverted (top-heavy) biomass pyramid. In contrast, the Red Sea reefs of central Saudi Arabia exhibited the typical bottom-heavy pyramid and show evidence for trophic cascades in the form of mesopredator release. Biomass values from Sudan’s deep south are quite similar to those previously reported in the remote and uninhabited Northwest Hawaiian Islands, northern Line Islands, Pitcairn Islands, and other remote Pacific islands and atolls. The findings of this study suggest that heavy fishing pressure has significantly altered the fish community structure of Saudi Arabian Red Sea reefs. The results point towards the urgent need for enhanced regulation and enforcement of fishing practices in Saudi Arabia while simultaneously making a strong case for protection in the form of marine protected areas in the southern Sudanese Red Sea.

  4. Feasibility of a Regionwide Probability Survey for Coral Reef Fish in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Bryan, David R; Smith, Steven G; Ault, Jerald S; Feeley, Michael W; Menza, Charles W

    2016-01-01

    .... Caribbean were used in conjunction with detailed bathymetric and habitat maps to develop a probability sampling design and investigate the feasibility of conducting a regionwide coral reef fish survey...

  5. Understanding Coral Reef Fish Characteristics Using Videogrammetry in Hanauma and Maunalua Bays, Oahu, Hawaii during 2007 (NODC Accession 0042353)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Videogrammetry data taken in 2007 are used for a study of fish within coral reef ecosystems. We attempted to generate or find information on abundance, growth,...

  6. Coral reef fish species survey data GIS from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (NODC Accession 0001394)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set consists of an ArcView shapefile set that contains locations of sampled coral reef fish species at the National Marine Sanctuary along the Florida...

  7. Understanding coral reef fish characteristics using videogrammetry in Hanauma and Maunalua Bays, Oahu, Hawaii during 2007 (NODC Accession 0042353)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Videogrammetry data taken in 2007 are used for a study of fish within coral reef ecosystems. We attempted to generate or find information on abundance, growth,...

  8. Depth refuge and the impacts of SCUBA spearfishing on coral reef fishes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven J Lindfield

    Full Text Available In recent decades, spearfishing with SCUBA has emerged as an efficient method for targeting reef fish in deeper waters. However, deeper waters are increasingly recognised as a potential source of refuge that may help sustain fishery resources. We used a combination of historical catch data over a 20-year time period and fishery-independent surveys to investigate the effects of SCUBA spearfishing on coral reef fish populations in the southern Mariana Islands. Two jurisdictions were studied; Guam, where SCUBA spearfishing is practiced, and the nearby Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI, where SCUBA spearfishing has been banned since 2003. Fishery-independent data were collected using baited remote underwater stereo-video systems (stereo-BRUVs stratified by depth, marine protected area status and jurisdiction. Herbivores (primary consumers dominated spearfishing catches, with parrotfish (scarines and surgeonfish/unicornfish (acanthurids the main groups harvested. However, the large, endangered humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus was the main species by weight landed by SCUBA spearfishers. SCUBA spearfishing was associated with declining size of scarines over time and catches shifting from a dominance of large parrotfishes to a mixed assemblage with increasing proportions of acanthurids. Comparisons between Guam and the nearby CNMI revealed differences in the assemblage of fished species and also greater size of scarines and acanthurids in deep water where SCUBA fishing is banned. These results suggest that SCUBA spearfishing impacts reef fish populations and that the restriction of this fishing method will ensure refuge for fish populations in deeper waters. We recommend a ban on SCUBA spearfishing to preserve or aid the recovery of large, functionally important coral reef species and to improve the sustainability of coral reef fisheries.

  9. Diversity among macroalgae-consuming fishes on coral reefs: a transcontinental comparison.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adriana Vergés

    Full Text Available Despite high diversity and abundance of nominally herbivorous fishes on coral reefs, recent studies indicate that only a small subset of taxa are capable of removing dominant macroalgae once these become established. This limited functional redundancy highlights the potential vulnerability of coral reefs to disturbance and stresses the need to assess the functional role of individual species of herbivores. However, our knowledge of species-specific patterns in macroalgal consumption is limited geographically, and there is a need to determine the extent to which patterns observed in specific reefs can be generalised at larger spatial scales. In this study, video cameras were used to quantify rates of macroalgae consumption by fishes in two coral reefs located at a similar latitude in opposite sides of Australia: the Keppel Islands in the Great Barrier Reef (eastern coast and Ningaloo Reef (western coast. The community of nominally herbivorous fish was also characterised in both systems to determine whether potential differences in the species observed feeding on macroalgae were related to spatial dissimilarities in herbivore community composition. The total number of species observed biting on the dominant brown alga Sargassum myriocystum differed dramatically among the two systems, with 23 species feeding in Ningaloo, compared with just 8 in the Keppel Islands. Strong differences were also found in the species composition and total biomass of nominally herbivorous fish, which was an order of magnitude higher in Ningaloo. However, despite such marked differences in the diversity, biomass, and community composition of resident herbivorous fishes, Sargassum consumption was dominated by only four species in both systems, with Naso unicornis and Kyphosus vaigiensis consistently emerging as dominant feeders of macroalgae.

  10. Diversity among macroalgae-consuming fishes on coral reefs: a transcontinental comparison.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vergés, Adriana; Bennett, Scott; Bellwood, David R

    2012-01-01

    Despite high diversity and abundance of nominally herbivorous fishes on coral reefs, recent studies indicate that only a small subset of taxa are capable of removing dominant macroalgae once these become established. This limited functional redundancy highlights the potential vulnerability of coral reefs to disturbance and stresses the need to assess the functional role of individual species of herbivores. However, our knowledge of species-specific patterns in macroalgal consumption is limited geographically, and there is a need to determine the extent to which patterns observed in specific reefs can be generalised at larger spatial scales. In this study, video cameras were used to quantify rates of macroalgae consumption by fishes in two coral reefs located at a similar latitude in opposite sides of Australia: the Keppel Islands in the Great Barrier Reef (eastern coast) and Ningaloo Reef (western coast). The community of nominally herbivorous fish was also characterised in both systems to determine whether potential differences in the species observed feeding on macroalgae were related to spatial dissimilarities in herbivore community composition. The total number of species observed biting on the dominant brown alga Sargassum myriocystum differed dramatically among the two systems, with 23 species feeding in Ningaloo, compared with just 8 in the Keppel Islands. Strong differences were also found in the species composition and total biomass of nominally herbivorous fish, which was an order of magnitude higher in Ningaloo. However, despite such marked differences in the diversity, biomass, and community composition of resident herbivorous fishes, Sargassum consumption was dominated by only four species in both systems, with Naso unicornis and Kyphosus vaigiensis consistently emerging as dominant feeders of macroalgae.

  11. Seascape context and predators override water quality effects on inshore coral reef fish communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilby, Ben L.; Tibbetts, Ian R.; Olds, Andrew D.; Maxwell, Paul S.; Stevens, Tim

    2016-09-01

    Understanding the relative influence of factors that influence faunal community structure, such as habitat and landscape arrangement, has been a long-standing goal of ecologists. This is complicated in marine environments by the high importance of physico-chemical water factors in determining species distributions relative to their physiological or behavioural limits. In this study, we rank the relative importance of 17 seascape, habitat and physico-chemical water factors for structuring the composition of fish communities on the inshore coral reefs of Moreton Bay, eastern Australia. Fish were surveyed at 12 reef sites along the ambient estuarine water gradient in the bay during summer and winter using a baited underwater video approach. Multivariate random forest analyses showed that reef fish community composition correlated most strongly with the local abundance of piscivorous fish and the seascape context of individual reefs (especially distance to nearest seagrass and mangroves), while water quality factors ranked much lower in importance. However, fish communities from sites nearer to rivers were more spatiotemporally variable than those from sites nearer to oceanic waters, indicating that water quality can drive variations in community structure along short-term temporal scales. In turn, piscivore abundance was greatest on reefs near large areas of seagrass, and with low sand cover, high coral cover and high water clarity. Our findings demonstrate that a reef's location within the broader seascape can be more important for fish communities than factors relating to the reef habitat itself and exposure to reduced water quality. To improve the spatial conservation of marine ecosystems, we encourage a more intimate understanding of how these factors contribute to structuring the use of habitats across seascapes by mobile species.

  12. Variation in brain organization of coral reef fish larvae according to life history traits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lecchini, David; Lecellier, Gael; Lanyon, Rynae Greta; Holles, Sophie; Poucet, Bruno; Duran, Emilio

    2014-01-01

    In coral reefs, one of the great mysteries of teleost fish ecology is how larvae locate the relatively rare patches of habitat to which they recruit. The recruitment of fish larvae to a reef, after a pelagic phase lasting between 10 and 120 days, depends strongly on larval ability to swim and detect predators, prey and suitable habitat via sensory cues. However, no information is available about the relationship between brain organization in fish larvae and their sensory and swimming abilities at recruitment. For the first time, we explore the structural diversity of brain organization (comparative sizes of brain subdivisions: telencephalon, mesencephalon, cerebellum, vagal lobe and inferior lobe) among larvae of 25 coral reef fish species. We then investigate links between variation in brain organization and life history traits (swimming ability, pelagic larval duration, social behavior, diel activity and cue use relying on sensory perception). After accounting for phylogeny with independent contrasts, we found that brain organization covaried with some life history traits: (1) fish larvae with good swimming ability (>20 cm/s), a long pelagic duration (>30 days), diurnal activity and strong use of cues relying on sensory perception for detection of recruitment habitat had a larger cerebellum than other species. (2) Fish larvae with a short pelagic duration (fish larvae exhibiting solitary behavior during their oceanic phase had larger inferior and vagal lobes. Overall, we hypothesize that a well-developed cerebellum may allow fish larvae to improve their chances of successful recruitment after a long pelagic phase in the ocean. Our study is the first one to bring together quantitative information on brain organization and the relative development of major brain subdivisions across coral reef fish larvae, and more specifically to address the way in which this variation correlates with the recruitment process.

  13. Coral-macroalgal phase shifts or reef resilience: links with diversity and functional roles of herbivorous fishes on the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheal, A. J.; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Cripps, E.; Emslie, M. J.; Jonker, M.; Schaffelke, B.; Sweatman, H.

    2010-12-01

    Changes from coral to macroalgal dominance following disturbances to corals symbolize the global degradation of coral reefs. The development of effective conservation measures depends on understanding the causes of such phase shifts. The prevailing view that coral-macroalgal phase shifts commonly occur due to insufficient grazing by fishes is based on correlation with overfishing and inferences from models and small-scale experiments rather than on long-term quantitative field studies of fish communities at affected and resilient sites. Consequently, the specific characteristics of herbivorous fish communities that most promote reef resilience under natural conditions are not known, though this information is critical for identifying vulnerable ecosystems. In this study, 11 years of field surveys recorded the development of the most persistent coral-macroalgal phase shift (>7 years) yet observed on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). This shift followed extensive coral mortality caused by thermal stress (coral bleaching) and damaging storms. Comparisons with two similar reefs that suffered similar disturbances but recovered relatively rapidly demonstrated that the phase shift occurred despite high abundances of one herbivore functional group (scraping/excavating parrotfishes: Labridae). However, the shift was strongly associated with low fish herbivore diversity and low abundances of algal browsers (predominantly Siganidae) and grazers/detritivores (Acanthuridae), suggesting that one or more of these factors underpin reef resilience and so deserve particular protection. Herbivorous fishes are not harvested on the GBR, and the phase shift was not enhanced by unusually high nutrient levels. This shows that unexploited populations of herbivorous fishes cannot ensure reef resilience even under benign conditions and suggests that reefs could lose resilience under relatively low fishing pressure. Predictions of more severe and widespread coral mortality due to global

  14. Length-based assessment of coral reef fish populations in the main and northwestern Hawaiian islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nadon, Marc O; Ault, Jerald S; Williams, Ivor D; Smith, Steven G; DiNardo, Gerard T

    2015-01-01

    The coral reef fish community of Hawaii is composed of hundreds of species, supports a multimillion dollar fishing and tourism industry, and is of great cultural importance to the local population. However, a major stock assessment of Hawaiian coral reef fish populations has not yet been conducted. Here we used the robust indicator variable "average length in the exploited phase of the population ([Formula: see text])", estimated from size composition data from commercial fisheries trip reports and fishery-independent diver surveys, to evaluate exploitation rates for 19 Hawaiian reef fishes. By and large, the average lengths obtained from diver surveys agreed well with those from commercial data. We used the estimated exploitation rates coupled with life history parameters synthesized from the literature to parameterize a numerical population model and generate stock sustainability metrics such as spawning potential ratios (SPR). We found good agreement between predicted average lengths in an unfished population (from our population model) and those observed from diver surveys in the largely unexploited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Of 19 exploited reef fish species assessed in the main Hawaiian Islands, 9 had SPRs close to or below the 30% overfishing threshold. In general, longer-lived species such as surgeonfishes, the redlip parrotfish (Scarus rubroviolaceus), and the gray snapper (Aprion virescens) had the lowest SPRs, while short-lived species such as goatfishes and jacks, as well as two invasive species (Lutjanus kasmira and Cephalopholis argus), had SPRs above the 30% threshold.

  15. Length-based assessment of coral reef fish populations in the main and northwestern Hawaiian islands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marc O Nadon

    Full Text Available The coral reef fish community of Hawaii is composed of hundreds of species, supports a multimillion dollar fishing and tourism industry, and is of great cultural importance to the local population. However, a major stock assessment of Hawaiian coral reef fish populations has not yet been conducted. Here we used the robust indicator variable "average length in the exploited phase of the population ([Formula: see text]", estimated from size composition data from commercial fisheries trip reports and fishery-independent diver surveys, to evaluate exploitation rates for 19 Hawaiian reef fishes. By and large, the average lengths obtained from diver surveys agreed well with those from commercial data. We used the estimated exploitation rates coupled with life history parameters synthesized from the literature to parameterize a numerical population model and generate stock sustainability metrics such as spawning potential ratios (SPR. We found good agreement between predicted average lengths in an unfished population (from our population model and those observed from diver surveys in the largely unexploited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Of 19 exploited reef fish species assessed in the main Hawaiian Islands, 9 had SPRs close to or below the 30% overfishing threshold. In general, longer-lived species such as surgeonfishes, the redlip parrotfish (Scarus rubroviolaceus, and the gray snapper (Aprion virescens had the lowest SPRs, while short-lived species such as goatfishes and jacks, as well as two invasive species (Lutjanus kasmira and Cephalopholis argus, had SPRs above the 30% threshold.

  16. Simplification of Caribbean reef-fish assemblages over decades of coral reef degradation

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Paddack, Michelle J; Collen, Ben; Robertson, D Ross; Côté, Isabelle M

    2015-01-01

    ...., habitat generalists). Analysing 3727 abundance trends of 161 Caribbean reef-fishes, surveyed between 1980 and 2006, we found that the trends of habitat-generalists and habitat-specialists differed markedly...

  17. Simplification of Caribbean Reef-Fish Assemblages over Decades of Coral Reef Degradation: e0126004

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Lorenzo Alvarez-Filip; Michelle J Paddack; Ben Collen; D Ross Robertson; Isabelle M Côté

    2015-01-01

    ...., habitat generalists). Analysing 3727 abundance trends of 161 Caribbean reef-fishes, surveyed between 1980 and 2006, we found that the trends of habitat-generalists and habitat-specialists differed markedly...

  18. Water flow and fin shape polymorphism in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Binning, Sandra A; Roche, Dominique G

    2015-03-01

    Water flow gradients have been linked to phenotypic differences and swimming performance across a variety of fish assemblages. However, the extent to which water motion shapes patterns of phenotypic divergence within species remains unknown. We tested the generality of the functional relationship between swimming morphology and water flow by exploring the extent of fin and body shape polymorphism in 12 widespread species from three families (Acanthuridae, Labridae, Pomacentridae) of pectoral-fin swimming (labriform) fishes living across localized wave exposure gradients. The pectoral fin shape of Labridae and Acanthuridae species was strongly related to wave exposure: individuals with more tapered, higher aspect ratio (AR) fins were found on windward reef crests, whereas individuals with rounder, lower AR fins were found on leeward, sheltered reefs. Three of seven Pomacentridae species showed similar trends, and pectoral fin shape was also strongly related to wave exposure in pomacentrids when fin aspect ratios of three species were compared across flow habitats at very small spatial scales (back lagoon). Unlike fin shape, there were no intraspecific differences in fish body fineless ratio across habitats or depths. Contrary to our predictions, there was no pattern relating species' abundances to polymorphism across habitats (i.e., abundance was not higher at sites where morphology is better adapted to the environment). This suggests that there are behavioral and/or physiological mechanisms enabling some species to persist across flow habitats in the absence of morphological differences. We suggest that functional relationships between swimming morphology and water flow not only structure species assemblages, but are yet another important variable contributing to phenotypic differences within species. The close links between fin shape polymorphism and local water flow conditions appear to be important for understanding species' distributions as well as patterns of

  19. Fish4Knowledge collecting and analyzing massive coral reef fish video data

    CERN Document Server

    Chen-Burger, Yun-Heh; Giordano, Daniela; Hardman, Lynda; Lin, Fang-Pang

    2016-01-01

    This book gives a start-to-finish overview of the whole Fish4Knowledge project, in 18 short chapters, each describing one aspect of the project. The Fish4Knowledge project explored the possibilities of big video data, in this case from undersea video. Recording and analyzing 90 thousand hours of video from ten camera locations, the project gives a 3 year view of fish abundance in several tropical coral reefs off the coast of Taiwan. The research system built a remote recording network, over 100 Tb of storage, supercomputer processing, video target detection and tracking, fish species recognition and analysis, a large SQL database to record the results and an efficient retrieval mechanism. Novel user interface mechanisms were developed to provide easy access for marine ecologists, who wanted to explore the dataset. The book is a useful resource for system builders, as it gives an overview of the many new methods that were created to build the Fish4Knowledge system in a manner that also allows readers to see ho...

  20. Impact of mass coral bleaching on reef fish community and fishermen catches at Sabang, Aceh Province, Indonesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edi Rudi

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Mass coral bleaching was observed at Sabang, Aceh in early 2010, and approximately 60% ofhard coral in waters surrounding Sabang died post-event. Coral mortality was expected to affect thecomposition of reef fish due to decrease its function such as providing a shelter, feeding and spawninggrounds for fish and other marine organisms. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the impactof coral bleaching on coral reef fish community and to compare the composition of fishermen catchesbefore and after the coral bleaching. The data were collected before (in 2008 and after (in 2010 themass coral bleaching event in Sabang waters by using a photographic method and the data on theaverage catch of fishermen (catch per fishing effort was calculated in kg/hour. The data of theknowledge of fishermen on climate change was collected by questionnaire method. The results showedthat 259 species of coral reef fishes were caught by fishermen in 2008 and 2010. There was nosignificantly difference between the fish catches before and after the mass coral bleaching. However,species richness decreased up to 50% after the mass coral bleaching. The knowledge of fishermen onclimate change issue was very low.

  1. Phylogeography and the conservation of coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocha, L. A.; Craig, M. T.; Bowen, B. W.

    2007-09-01

    Here we present a review of how the study of the geographic distribution of genetic lineages (phylogeography) has helped identify management units, evolutionary significant units, cryptic species, and areas of endemism, and how this information can help efforts to achieve effective conservation of coral reefs. These studies have confirmed the major biogeographic barriers that were originally identified by tropical species distributions. Ancient separations, identified primarily with mtDNA sequence comparisons, became apparent between populations on each side of the barriers. The general lack of correlation between pelagic larval duration and genetic connectivity across barriers indicates that life history and ecology can be as influential as oceanography and geography in shaping evolutionary partitions within ocean basins. Hence, conservation strategies require a recognition of ecological hotspots, those areas where habitat heterogeneity promotes speciation, in addition to more traditional approaches based on biogeography. Finally, the emerging field of genomics will add a new dimension to phylogeography, allowing the study of genes that are pertinent to recent and ongoing differentiation, and ultimately providing higher resolution to detect evolutionary significant units that have diverged in an ecological time scale.

  2. Coral reef resilience through biodiversity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    2013-01-01

    Irrefutable evidence of coral reef degradation worldwide and increasing pressure from rising seawater temperatures and ocean acidification associated with climate change have led to a focus on reef resilience and a call to “manage” coral reefs for resilience. Ideally, global action to reduce emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be accompanied by local action. Effective management requires reduction of local stressors, identification of the characteristics of resilient reefs, and design of marine protected area networks that include potentially resilient reefs. Future research is needed on how stressors interact, on how climate change will affect corals, fish, and other reef organisms as well as overall biodiversity, and on basic ecological processes such as connectivity. Not all reef species and reefs will respond similarly to local and global stressors. Because reef-building corals and other organisms have some potential to adapt to environmental changes, coral reefs will likely persist in spite of the unprecedented combination of stressors currently affecting them. The biodiversity of coral reefs is the basis for their remarkable beauty and for the benefits they provide to society. The extraordinary complexity of these ecosystems makes it both more difficult to predict their future and more likely they will have a future.

  3. Coral reefs - Specialized ecosystems

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    This paper discusses briefly some aspects that characterize and differentiate coral reef ecosystems from other tropical marine ecosystems. A brief account on the resources that are extractable from coral reefs, their susceptibility to natural...

  4. Fish movement patterns in Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument and adjacent waters

    OpenAIRE

    Friedlander, Alan M.; Monaco, Mark E.; Clark, Randy; Pittman, Simon J.; Beets, Jim; Boulon, Rafe; Callender, Russell; Christensen, John; Hile, Sarah D.; Kendall , Matt S.; Miller, Jeff; Rogers , Caroline; Starnoulis, Kosta; Wedding, Lisa; Roberson, Kimberly

    2013-01-01

    NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)-Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s (CCMA) Biogeography Branch, National Park Service (NPS), US Geological Survey, and the University of Hawaii used acoustic telemetry to quantify spatial patterns and habitat affinities of reef fishes around the island of St. John, US Virgin Islands. The objective of the study was to define the movements of reef fishes among habitats within and between the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National ...

  5. Validation of microsatellite multiplexes for parentage analysis in a coral reef fish (Lutjanus carponotatus, Lutjanidae)

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.

    2014-05-25

    Parentage analysis is an important tool for identifying connectivity patterns in coral reef fishes, but often requires numerous highly polymorphic markers. We isolated 21 polymorphic microsatellite markers from the stripey snapper, Lutjanus carponotatus and describe their integration into three multiplex PCRs. All markers were highly polymorphic with a mean of 24.9 ± 1.8 SE alleles per locus and an average observed heterozygosity of 0.797 ± 0.038 SE across 285 genotyped individuals. Using a simulated dataset, we conclude that the complete marker set provides sufficient resolution to resolve parent–offspring relationships in natural populations with 99.6 ± 0.1 % accuracy in parentage assignments. This multiplex assay provides an effective means of investigating larval dispersal and population connectivity in this fishery-targeted coral reef fish species and informing the design of marine protected area networks for biodiversity conservation and fisheries management.

  6. Does herbivorous fish protection really improve coral reef resilience? A case study from new caledonia (South Pacific.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laure Carassou

    Full Text Available Parts of coral reefs from New Caledonia (South Pacific were registered at the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2008. Management strategies aiming at preserving the exceptional ecological value of these reefs in the context of climate change are currently being considered. This study evaluates the appropriateness of an exclusive fishing ban of herbivorous fish as a strategy to enhance coral reef resilience to hurricanes and bleaching in the UNESCO-registered areas of New Caledonia. A two-phase approach was developed: 1 coral, macroalgal, and herbivorous fish communities were examined in four biotopes from 14 reefs submitted to different fishing pressures in New Caledonia, and 2 results from these analyses were challenged in the context of a global synthesis of the relationship between herbivorous fish protection, coral recovery and relative macroalgal development after hurricanes and bleaching. Analyses of New Caledonia data indicated that 1 current fishing pressure only slightly affected herbivorous fish communities in the country, and 2 coral and macroalgal covers remained unrelated, and macroalgal cover was not related to the biomass, density or diversity of macroalgae feeders, whatever the biotope or level of fishing pressure considered. At a global scale, we found no relationship between reef protection status, coral recovery and relative macroalgal development after major climatic events. These results suggest that an exclusive protection of herbivorous fish in New Caledonia is unlikely to improve coral reef resilience to large-scale climatic disturbances, especially in the lightly fished UNESCO-registered areas. More efforts towards the survey and regulation of major chronic stress factors such as mining are rather recommended. In the most heavily fished areas of the country, carnivorous fish and large targeted herbivores may however be monitored as part of a precautionary approach.

  7. Caught in the middle: combined impacts of shark removal and coral loss on the fish communities of coral reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan L W Ruppert

    Full Text Available Due to human activities, marine and terrestrial ecosystems face a future where disturbances are predicted to occur at a frequency and severity unprecedented in the recent past. Of particular concern is the ability of systems to recover where multiple stressors act simultaneously. We examine this issue in the context of a coral reef ecosystem where increases in stressors, such as fisheries, benthic degradation, cyclones and coral bleaching, are occurring at global scales. By utilizing long-term (decadal monitoring programs, we examined the combined effects of chronic (removal of sharks and pulse (cyclones, bleaching disturbances on the trophic structure of coral reef fishes at two isolated atoll systems off the coast of northwest Australia. We provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that the loss of sharks can have an impact that propagates down the food chain, potentially contributing to mesopredator release and altering the numbers of primary consumers. Simultaneously, we show how the effects of bottom-up processes of bleaching and cyclones appear to propagate up the food chain through herbivores, planktivores and corallivores, but do not affect carnivores. Because their presence may promote the abundance of herbivores, the removal of sharks by fishing has implications for both natural and anthropogenic disturbances involving the loss of corals, as herbivores are critical to the progress and outcome of coral recovery.

  8. Caught in the middle: combined impacts of shark removal and coral loss on the fish communities of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruppert, Jonathan L W; Travers, Michael J; Smith, Luke L; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Meekan, Mark G

    2013-01-01

    Due to human activities, marine and terrestrial ecosystems face a future where disturbances are predicted to occur at a frequency and severity unprecedented in the recent past. Of particular concern is the ability of systems to recover where multiple stressors act simultaneously. We examine this issue in the context of a coral reef ecosystem where increases in stressors, such as fisheries, benthic degradation, cyclones and coral bleaching, are occurring at global scales. By utilizing long-term (decadal) monitoring programs, we examined the combined effects of chronic (removal of sharks) and pulse (cyclones, bleaching) disturbances on the trophic structure of coral reef fishes at two isolated atoll systems off the coast of northwest Australia. We provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that the loss of sharks can have an impact that propagates down the food chain, potentially contributing to mesopredator release and altering the numbers of primary consumers. Simultaneously, we show how the effects of bottom-up processes of bleaching and cyclones appear to propagate up the food chain through herbivores, planktivores and corallivores, but do not affect carnivores. Because their presence may promote the abundance of herbivores, the removal of sharks by fishing has implications for both natural and anthropogenic disturbances involving the loss of corals, as herbivores are critical to the progress and outcome of coral recovery.

  9. Increased CO2 stimulates reproduction in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Gabrielle M; Watson, Sue-Ann; McCormick, Mark I; Munday, Philip L

    2013-10-01

    Ocean acidification is predicted to negatively impact the reproduction of many marine species, either by reducing fertilization success or diverting energy from reproductive effort. While recent studies have demonstrated how ocean acidification will affect larval and juvenile fishes, little is known about how increasing partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO(2)) and decreasing pH might affect reproduction in adult fishes. We investigated the effects of near-future levels of pCO(2) on the reproductive performance of the cinnamon anemonefish, Amphiprion melanopus, from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Breeding pairs were held under three CO(2) treatments [Current-day Control (430 μatm), Moderate (584 μatm) and High (1032 μatm)] for a 9-month period that included the summer breeding season. Unexpectedly, increased CO(2) dramatically stimulated breeding activity in this species of fish. Over twice as many pairs bred in the Moderate (67% of pairs) and High (55%) compared to the Control (27%) CO(2) treatment. Pairs in the High CO(2) group produced double the number of clutches per pair and 67% more eggs per clutch compared to the Moderate and Control groups. As a result, reproductive output in the High group was 82% higher than that in the Control group and 50% higher than that in the Moderate group. Despite the increase in reproductive activity, there was no difference in adult body condition among the three treatment groups. There was no significant difference in hatchling length between the treatment groups, but larvae from the High CO(2) group had smaller yolks than Controls. This study provides the first evidence of the potential effects of ocean acidification on key reproductive attributes of marine fishes and, contrary to expectations, demonstrates an initially stimulatory (hormetic) effect in response to increased pCO(2). However, any long-term consequences of increased reproductive effort on individuals or populations remain to be determined.

  10. Additive partitioning of coral reef fish diversity across hierarchical spatial scales throughout the Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Francisco-Ramos, Vanessa; Arias-González, Jesús Ernesto

    2013-01-01

    There is an increasing need to examine regional patterns of diversity in coral-reef systems since their biodiversity is declining globally. In this sense, additive partitioning might be useful since it quantifies the contribution of alpha and beta to total diversity across different scales. We applied this approach using an unbalanced design across four hierarchical scales (80 sites, 22 subregions, six ecoregions, and the Caribbean basin). Reef-fish species were compiled from the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) database and distributions were confirmed with published data. Permutation tests were used to compare observed values to those expected by chance. The primary objective was to identify patterns of reef-fish diversity across multiple spatial scales under different scenarios, examining factors such as fisheries and demographic connectivity. Total diversity at the Caribbean scale was attributed to β-diversity (nearly 62% of the species), with the highest β-diversity at the site scale. [Formula: see text]-diversity was higher than expected by chance in all scenarios and at all studied scales. This suggests that fish assemblages are more homogenous than expected, particularly at the ecoregion scale. Within each ecoregion, diversity was mainly attributed to alpha, except for the Southern ecoregion where there was a greater difference in species among sites. β-components were lower than expected in all ecoregions, indicating that fishes within each ecoregion are a subsample of the same species pool. The scenario involving the effects of fisheries showed a shift in dominance for β-diversity from regions to subregions, with no major changes to the diversity patterns. In contrast, demographic connectivity partially explained the diversity pattern. β-components were low within connectivity regions and higher than expected by chance when comparing between them. Our results highlight the importance of ecoregions as a spatial scale to conserve local

  11. Additive partitioning of coral reef fish diversity across hierarchical spatial scales throughout the Caribbean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanessa Francisco-Ramos

    Full Text Available There is an increasing need to examine regional patterns of diversity in coral-reef systems since their biodiversity is declining globally. In this sense, additive partitioning might be useful since it quantifies the contribution of alpha and beta to total diversity across different scales. We applied this approach using an unbalanced design across four hierarchical scales (80 sites, 22 subregions, six ecoregions, and the Caribbean basin. Reef-fish species were compiled from the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF database and distributions were confirmed with published data. Permutation tests were used to compare observed values to those expected by chance. The primary objective was to identify patterns of reef-fish diversity across multiple spatial scales under different scenarios, examining factors such as fisheries and demographic connectivity. Total diversity at the Caribbean scale was attributed to β-diversity (nearly 62% of the species, with the highest β-diversity at the site scale. [Formula: see text]-diversity was higher than expected by chance in all scenarios and at all studied scales. This suggests that fish assemblages are more homogenous than expected, particularly at the ecoregion scale. Within each ecoregion, diversity was mainly attributed to alpha, except for the Southern ecoregion where there was a greater difference in species among sites. β-components were lower than expected in all ecoregions, indicating that fishes within each ecoregion are a subsample of the same species pool. The scenario involving the effects of fisheries showed a shift in dominance for β-diversity from regions to subregions, with no major changes to the diversity patterns. In contrast, demographic connectivity partially explained the diversity pattern. β-components were low within connectivity regions and higher than expected by chance when comparing between them. Our results highlight the importance of ecoregions as a spatial scale to

  12. The status of coral reefs and associated fishes and invertebrates of commercial importance in Pedro Bank, Jamaica

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew W. Bruckner

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available The coral reefs located off the north coast of the Jamaican mainland are some of the best and most studied reefs in the world. Coral reefs of Pedro Bank, Jamaica were assessed in March, 2012 as part of the KSLOF Global Reef Expedition using a modified Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA protocol. The main objectives were to: 1 characterize the distribution, structure and health of coral reefs; and 2 evaluate the population status of commercially important reef fishes and invertebrates. This work was conducted to assist in characterizing coral reef habitats within and outside a proposed fishery reserve, and identify other possible conservation zones. Within 20 reefs, live coral cover ranged from 4.9% to 19.2%. Coral communities were dominated by small corals (esp. Agaricia, Porites and Siderastrea although many sites had high abundances of large colonies of Montastraea annularis and M. faveolata, and these were generally in good condition. A single area, within the proposed fishery reserve, had extensive Acropora cervicornis thickets, and several shallow locations had small, but recovering A. palmata stands. Macroalgal cover at all sites was relatively low, with only three sites having greater than 30% cover; crustose coralline algae (CCA was high, with eight sites exceeding 20% cover. Fish biomass at all sites near the Cays was low, with a dominance of herbivores (parrotfish and surgeonfish and a near absence of groupers, snappers and other commercially important species. While parrotfish were the most abundant fish, these were all extremely small (mean size= 12cm; <4% over 29cm, and they were dominated by red band parrotfish (Sparisoma aurofrenatum followed by striped parrotfish (Scarus iseri. While coral communities remain in better condition than most coastal reefs in Jamaica, intense fishing pressure using fish traps (main target species: surgeonfish and hookah/spear fishing (main target: parrotfish is of grave concern to the

  13. Large-scale, multidirectional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

    KAUST Repository

    Williamson, David H.

    2016-11-15

    Larval dispersal is the key process by which populations of most marine fishes and invertebrates are connected and replenished. Advances in larval tagging and genetics have enhanced our capacity to track larval dispersal, assess scales of population connectivity, and quantify larval exchange among no-take marine reserves and fished areas. Recent studies have found that reserves can be a significant source of recruits for populations up to 40 km away, but the scale and direction of larval connectivity across larger seascapes remain unknown. Here, we apply genetic parentage analysis to investigate larval dispersal patterns for two exploited coral reef groupers (Plectropomus maculatus and Plectropomus leopardus) within and among three clusters of reefs separated by 60–220 km within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia. A total of 69 juvenile P. maculatus and 17 juvenile P. leopardus (representing 6% and 9% of the total juveniles sampled, respectively) were genetically assigned to parent individuals on reefs within the study area. We identified both short-distance larval dispersal within regions (200 m to 50 km) and long-distance, multidirectional dispersal of up to ~250 km among regions. Dispersal strength declined significantly with distance, with best-fit dispersal kernels estimating median dispersal distances of ~110 km for P. maculatus and ~190 km for P. leopardus. Larval exchange among reefs demonstrates that established reserves form a highly connected network and contribute larvae for the replenishment of fished reefs at multiple spatial scales. Our findings highlight the potential for long-distance dispersal in an important group of reef fishes, and provide further evidence that effectively protected reserves can yield recruitment and sustainability benefits for exploited fish populations.

  14. Habitat use by fishes in coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove habitats in the Philippines.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Honda, Kentaro; Nakamura, Yohei; Nakaoka, Masahiro; Uy, Wilfredo H; Fortes, Miguel D

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the interconnectivity of organisms among different habitats is a key requirement for generating effective management plans in coastal ecosystems, particularly when determining component habitat structures in marine protected areas. To elucidate the patterns of habitat use by fishes among coral, seagrass, and mangrove habitats, and between natural and transplanted mangroves, visual censuses were conducted semiannually at two sites in the Philippines during September and March 2010-2012. In total, 265 species and 15,930 individuals were recorded. Species richness and abundance of fishes were significantly higher in coral reefs (234 species, 12,306 individuals) than in seagrass (38 species, 1,198 individuals) and mangrove (47 species, 2,426 individuals) habitats. Similarity tests revealed a highly significant difference among the three habitats. Fishes exhibited two different strategies for habitat use, inhabiting either a single (85.6% of recorded species) or several habitats (14.4%). Some fish that utilized multiple habitats, such as Lutjanus monostigma and Parupeneus barberinus, showed possible ontogenetic habitat shifts from mangroves and/or seagrass habitats to coral reefs. Moreover, over 20% of commercial fish species used multiple habitats, highlighting the importance of including different habitat types within marine protected areas to achieve efficient and effective resource management. Neither species richness nor abundance of fishes significantly differed between natural and transplanted mangroves. In addition, 14 fish species were recorded in a 20-year-old transplanted mangrove area, and over 90% of these species used multiple habitats, further demonstrating the key role of transplanted mangroves as a reef fish habitat in this region.

  15. Vermetid gastropods reduce foraging by herbivorous fishes on algae on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tootell, Jesse S.; Steele, Mark A.

    2014-12-01

    Vermetid gastropods have the potential to reduce foraging by herbivorous fishes on algae on coral reefs because they produce mucous nets that cover the surfaces of coral skeletons, potentially inhibiting foraging by fishes. We assessed this possibility using both observational and experimental approaches in Moorea, French Polynesia. Foraging rates of herbivorous fishes (total number of bites by all species per minute) were recorded in plots that varied naturally in the cover of vermetid mucous nets. This study, done at six sites, revealed that foraging on algal turf declined with increasing cover of vermetid mucous nets, ranging from ~2 to 22 bites m-2 min-1 at 0 % coverage to 0-5 bites m-2 min-1 at 100 % coverage. The magnitude of this effect of vermetid nets varied among microhabitats (high, mid, and low bommies) and sites, presumably due to variation in the intensity of herbivory. Experimental removal of vermetid mucous nets from plots more than doubled the foraging intensity on turf algae relative to when vermetid nets were present at high (≥70 %) cover. Our results indicate that algal turf on coral reefs may benefit from associational refuge from grazing provided by vermetid gastropods, which might in turn harm corals via increased competition with algal turf.

  16. Evolution of long-toothed fishes and the changing nature of fish-benthos interactions on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellwood, David R; Hoey, Andrew S; Bellwood, Orpha; Goatley, Christopher H R

    2014-01-01

    Interactions between fishes and the benthos have shaped the development of marine ecosystems since at least the early Mesozoic. Here, using the morphology of fish teeth as an indicator of feeding abilities, we quantify changes over the last 240 million years of reef fish evolution. Fossil and extant coral reef fish assemblages reveal exceptional stasis in tooth design over time, with one notable exception, a distinct long-toothed form. Arising only in the last 40 million years, these long-toothed fishes have bypassed the invertebrate link in the food chain, feeding directly on benthic particulate material. With the appearance of elongated teeth, these specialized detritivores have moved from eating invertebrates to eating the food of invertebrates. Over evolutionary time, fishes have slid back down the food chain.

  17. Behavioural thermoregulation in a temperature-sensitive coral reef fish, the five-lined cardinalfish (Cheilodipterus quinquelineatus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nay, Tiffany J.; Johansen, Jacob L.; Habary, Adam

    2015-01-01

    provide a strategy to cope with changing conditions. A temperature-sensitive coral reef cardinalfish (Cheilodipterusquinquelineatus) was exposed to 28 °C (average at collection site) or 32 °C (predicted end-of-century) for 6 weeks. Tpref was determined using a shuttlebox system, which allowed fish...... than night-time movements. Understanding temperature-mediated movements is imperative for predicting how ocean warming will influence coral reef species and distribution patterns....

  18. Coral reef fish populations can persist without immigration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salles, Océane C; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Joannides, Marc; Barbu, Corentin M; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Almany, Glenn R; Berumen, Michael L; Thorrold, Simon R; Jones, Geoffrey P; Planes, Serge

    2015-11-22

    Determining the conditions under which populations may persist requires accurate estimates of demographic parameters, including immigration, local reproductive success, and mortality rates. In marine populations, empirical estimates of these parameters are rare, due at least in part to the pelagic dispersal stage common to most marine organisms. Here, we evaluate population persistence and turnover for a population of orange clownfish, Amphiprion percula, at Kimbe Island in Papua New Guinea. All fish in the population were sampled and genotyped on five occasions at 2-year intervals spanning eight years. The genetic data enabled estimates of reproductive success retained in the same population (reproductive success to self-recruitment), reproductive success exported to other subpopulations (reproductive success to local connectivity), and immigration and mortality rates of sub-adults and adults. Approximately 50% of the recruits were assigned to parents from the Kimbe Island population and this was stable through the sampling period. Stability in the proportion of local and immigrant settlers is likely due to: low annual mortality rates and stable egg production rates, and the short larval stages and sensory capacities of reef fish larvae. Biannual mortality rates ranged from 0.09 to 0.55 and varied significantly spatially. We used these data to parametrize a model that estimated the probability of the Kimbe Island population persisting in the absence of immigration. The Kimbe Island population was found to persist without significant immigration. Model results suggest the island population persists because the largest of the subpopulations are maintained due to having low mortality and high self-recruitment rates. Our results enable managers to appropriately target and scale actions to maximize persistence likelihood as disturbance frequencies increase.

  19. Coral reef fish populations can persist without immigration

    KAUST Repository

    Salles, Océane C.

    2015-11-18

    Determining the conditions under which populations may persist requires accurate estimates of demographic parameters, including immigration, local reproductive success, and mortality rates. In marine populations, empirical estimates of these parameters are rare, due at least in part to the pelagic dispersal stage common to most marine organisms. Here, we evaluate population persistence and turnover for a population of orange clownfish, Amphiprion percula, at Kimbe Island in Papua New Guinea. All fish in the population were sampled and genotyped on five occasions at 2-year intervals spanning eight years. The genetic data enabled estimates of reproductive success retained in the same population (reproductive success to self-recruitment), reproductive success exported to other subpopulations (reproductive success to local connectivity), and immigration and mortality rates of sub-adults and adults. Approximately 50% of the recruits were assigned to parents from the Kimbe Island population and this was stable through the sampling period. Stability in the proportion of local and immigrant settlers is likely due to: low annual mortality rates and stable egg production rates, and the short larval stages and sensory capacities of reef fish larvae. Biannual mortality rates ranged from 0.09 to 0.55 and varied significantly spatially. We used these data to parametrize a model that estimated the probability of the Kimbe Island population persisting in the absence of immigration. The Kimbe Island population was found to persist without significant immigration. Model results suggest the island population persists because the largest of the subpopulations are maintained due to having low mortality and high self-recruitment rates. Our results enable managers to appropriately target and scale actions to maximize persistence likelihood as disturbance frequencies increase.

  20. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

    This chapter deals with biology of corals, coral reefs (in general) and coral reefs of the Indian Ocean. Biology of corals is lucidly dealt with, beginning from the clarification on hermatypic and ahermatypic forms. A complete account...

  1. Effects of fisheries closures and gear restrictions on fishing income in a Kenyan coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McClanahan, Timothy R

    2010-12-01

    The adoption of fisheries closures and gear restrictions in the conservation of coral reefs may be limited by poor understanding of the economic profitability of competing economic uses of marine resources. Over the past 12 years, I evaluated the effects of gear regulation and fisheries closures on per person and per area incomes from fishing in coral reefs of Kenya. In two of my study areas, the use of small-meshed beach seines was stopped after 6 years; one of these areas was next to a fishery closure. In my third study area, fishing was unregulated. Fishing yields on per capita daily wet weight basis were 20% higher after seine-net fishing was stopped. The per person daily fishing income adjacent to the closed areas was 14 and 22% higher than the fishing income at areas with only gear restrictions before and after the seine-net restriction, respectively. Incomes differed because larger fish were captured next to the closed area and the price per weight (kilograms) increased as fish size increased and because catches adjacent to the closure contained fish species of higher market value. Per capita incomes were 41 and 135% higher for those who fished in gear-restricted areas and near-closed areas, respectively, compared with those who fished areas with no restrictions. On a per unit area basis (square kilometers), differences in fishing income among the three areas were not large because fishing effort increased as the number of restrictions decreased. Changes in catch were, however, larger and often in the opposite direction expected from changes in effort alone. For example, effort declined 21% but nominal profits per square kilometer (not accounting for inflation) increased 29% near the area with gear restrictions. Gear restrictions also reduced the cost of fishing and increased the proportion of self-employed fishers.

  2. Sediment pollution impacts sensory ability and performance of settling coral-reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Connor, J Jack; Lecchini, David; Beck, Hayden J; Cadiou, Gwenael; Lecellier, Gael; Booth, David J; Nakamura, Yohei

    2016-01-01

    Marine organisms are under threat globally from a suite of anthropogenic sources, but the current emphasis on global climate change has deflected the focus from local impacts. While the effect of increased sedimentation on the settlement of coral species is well studied, little is known about the impact on larval fish. Here, the effect of a laterite "red soil" sediment pollutant on settlement behaviour and post-settlement performance of reef fish was tested. In aquarium tests that isolated sensory cues, we found significant olfaction-based avoidance behaviour and disruption of visual cue use in settlement-stage larval fish at 50 mg L(-1), a concentration regularly exceeded in situ during rain events. In situ light trap catches showed lower abundance and species richness in the presence of red soil, but were not significantly different due to high variance in the data. Prolonged exposure to red soil produced altered olfactory cue responses, whereby fish in red soil made a likely maladaptive choice for dead coral compared to controls where fish chose live coral. Other significant effects of prolonged exposure included decreased feeding rates and body condition. These effects on fish larvae reared over 5 days occurred in the presence of a minor drop in pH and may be due to the chemical influence of the sediment. Our results show that sediment pollution of coral reefs may have more complex effects on the ability of larval fish to successfully locate suitable habitat than previously thought, as well as impacting on their post-settlement performance and, ultimately, recruitment success.

  3. Making evolutionary history count: biodiversity planning for coral reef fishes and the conservation of evolutionary processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    von der Heyden, Sophie

    2017-03-01

    Anthropogenic activities are having devastating impacts on marine systems with numerous knock-on effects on trophic functioning, species interactions and an accelerated loss of biodiversity. Establishing conservation areas can not only protect biodiversity, but also confer resilience against changes to coral reefs and their inhabitants. Planning for protection and conservation in marine systems is complex, but usually focuses on maintaining levels of biodiversity and protecting special and unique landscape features while avoiding negative impacts to socio-economic benefits. Conversely, the integration of evolutionary processes that have shaped extant species assemblages is rarely taken into account. However, it is as important to protect processes as it is to protect patterns for maintaining the evolutionary trajectories of populations and species. This review focuses on different approaches for integrating genetic analyses, such as phylogenetic diversity, phylogeography and the delineation of management units, temporal and spatial monitoring of genetic diversity and quantification of adaptive variation for protecting evolutionary resilience, into marine spatial planning, specifically for coral reef fishes. Many of these concepts are not yet readily applied to coral reef fish studies, but this synthesis highlights their potential and the importance of including historical processes into systematic biodiversity planning for conserving not only extant, but also future, biodiversity and its evolutionary potential.

  4. High population density enhances recruitment and survival of a harvested coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wormald, Clare L; Steele, Mark A; Forrester, Graham E

    2013-03-01

    A negative relationship between population growth and population density (direct density dependence) is necessary for population regulation and is assumed in most models of harvested populations. Experimental tests for density dependence are lacking for large-bodied, harvested fish because of the difficulty of manipulating population density over large areas. We studied a harvested coral reef fish, Lutjanus apodus (schoolmaster snapper), using eight large, isolated natural reefs (0.4-1.6 ha) in the Bahamas as replicates. An initial observational test for density dependence was followed by a manipulation of population density. The manipulation weakened an association between density and shelter-providing habitat features and revealed a positive effect of population density on recruitment and survival (inverse density dependence), but no effect of density on somatic growth. The snappers on an individual reef were organized into a few shoals, and we hypothesize that large shoals on high-density reefs were less vulnerable to large piscivores (groupers and barracudas) than the small shoals on low-density reefs. Reductions in predation risk for individuals in large social groups are well documented, but because snapper shoals occupied reefs the size of small marine reserves, these ecological interactions may influence the outcome of management actions.

  5. Diversity of trypanorhynch metacestodes in teleost fishes from coral reefs off eastern Australia and New Caledonia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Beveridge Ian

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Trypanorhynch metacestodes were examined from teleosts from coral reefs in eastern Australia and from New Caledonia. From over 12,000 fishes examined, 33 named species of trypanorhynchs were recovered as well as three species of tentacularioids which are described but not named. Host-parasite and parasite-host lists are provided, including more than 100 new host records. Lacistorhynchoid and tentacularioid taxa predominated with fewer otobothrioid and gymnorhynchoids. Five species, Callitetrarhynchus gracilis, Floriceps minacanthus, Pseudotobothrium dipsacum, Pseudolacistorhynchus heroniensis and Ps. shipleyi, were particularly common and exhibited low host specificity. Limited data suggested a higher diversity of larval trypanorhynchs in larger piscivorous fish families. Several fish families surveyed extensively (Blenniidae, Chaetodontidae, Gobiidae, Kyphosidae and Scaridae yielded no trypanorhynch larvae. The overall similarity between the fauna of the Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia was 45%. Where available, information on the adult stages in elasmobranchs has been included.

  6. Human activities as a driver of spatial variation in the trophic structure of fish communities on Pacific coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruppert, Jonathan L W; Vigliola, Laurent; Kulbicki, Michel; Labrosse, Pierre; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Meekan, Mark G

    2017-09-25

    Anthropogenic activities such as land-use change, pollution and fishing impact the trophic structure of coral reef fishes, which can influence ecosystem health and function. Although these impacts may be ubiquitous, they are not consistent across the tropical Pacific Ocean. Using an extensive database of fish biomass sampled using underwater visual transects on coral reefs, we modelled the impact of human activities on food webs at Pacific-wide and regional (1,000s-10,000s km) scales. We found significantly lower biomass of sharks and carnivores, where there were higher densities of human populations (hereafter referred to as human activity); however, these patterns were not spatially consistent as there were significant differences in the trophic structures of fishes among biogeographic regions. Additionally, we found significant changes in the benthic structure of reef environments, notably a decline in coral cover where there was more human activity. Direct human impacts were the strongest in the upper part of the food web, where we found that in a majority of the Pacific, the biomass of reef sharks and carnivores were significantly and negatively associated with human activity. Finally, although human-induced stressors varied in strength and significance throughout the coral reef food web across the Pacific, socioeconomic variables explained more variation in reef fish trophic structure than habitat variables in a majority of the biogeographic regions. Notably, economic development (measured as GDP per capita) did not guarantee healthy reef ecosystems (high coral cover and greater fish biomass). Our results indicate that human activities are significantly shaping patterns of trophic structure of reef fishes in a spatially nonuniform manner across the Pacific Ocean, by altering processes that organize communities in both "top-down" (fishing of predators) and "bottom-up" (degradation of benthic communities) contexts. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. Home-range allometry in coral reef fishes: comparison to other vertebrates, methodological issues and management implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nash, Kirsty L; Welsh, Justin Q; Graham, Nicholas A J; Bellwood, David R

    2015-01-01

    Body size has been identified as a key driver of home-range area. Despite considerable research into home-range allometry, the relatively high variability in this relationship among taxa means that the mechanisms driving this relationship are still under debate. To date, studies have predominantly focused on terrestrial taxa, and coral reef fishes in particular have received little attention. We quantitatively reviewed studies examining home range in reef fishes, and assessed the interspecific relationship between body mass and home-range area. Body mass and home range are positively related in reef fishes (slopes of 1.15-1.72), with predators having larger home ranges than herbivorous species. This may be attributed to the mobility and lower abundance of predators' food items. Coral reef fishes, and fishes in general, appear to occupy a smaller area per unit mass than terrestrial vertebrates (intercepts of -0.92 to 0.07 versus ≥1.14). This is likely linked to the relative metabolic costs of moving through water compared to air. The small home ranges of reef fishes and their apparent reluctance to cross open areas suggest that reserves aimed at protecting fish species may be more effective if located across whole reefs, even if those reefs are comparatively small, rather than if they cover subsections of contiguous reef, as home ranges in the former are less likely to cross reserve boundaries.

  8. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef fish communities in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands from 2015-06-08 to 2015-06-19 (NCEI Accession 0151727)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Belt Transect method is used to conduct fish surveys in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands (USVI) as part of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP). The...

  9. Predators Exacerbate Competitive Interactions and Dominance Hierarchies between Two Coral Reef Fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hall, April; Kingsford, Michael

    2016-01-01

    Predation and competition are critical processes influencing the ecology of organisms, and can play an integral role in shaping coral reef fish communities. This study compared the relative and interacting effects of competition and predation on two competing species of coral reef fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis and P. moluccensis (Pomacentridae), using a multifactorial experiment. Fish were subjected to the sight and smell of a known predator (Pseudochromis fuscus), the presence of the heterospecific competitor (i.e., P. amboinensis vs. P. moluccensis), or a combination of the two for a period of 19 days. The sub-lethal effects of predator/competitor treatments were compared with controls; a combination of otolith microstructure analysis and observations were used to determine otolith growth patterns and behaviour. We predicted that the stress of competition and/or predation would result in strong sub-lethal impacts, and act synergistically on growth and behavioural patterns. We found strong evidence to support this prediction, but only for P. amboinensis, which suffered reductions in growth in both predator and competitor treatments, with the largest reductions occurring when subjected to both predation and competition concurrently. There was strong evidence of asymmetrical competition between the two damselfish species, with P. moluccensis as the dominant competitor, displaying strong aggressive behaviour towards P. amboinensis. Growth reductions for P. amboinensis in predator/competitor treatments appeared to come about primarily due to increases in shelter seeking behaviour, which significantly reduced the foraging rates of individuals compared with controls. These data highlight the importance of predator/competitor synergisms in influencing key behaviours and demographic parameters for juvenile coral reef fishes.

  10. Predators Exacerbate Competitive Interactions and Dominance Hierarchies between Two Coral Reef Fishes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    April Hall

    Full Text Available Predation and competition are critical processes influencing the ecology of organisms, and can play an integral role in shaping coral reef fish communities. This study compared the relative and interacting effects of competition and predation on two competing species of coral reef fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis and P. moluccensis (Pomacentridae, using a multifactorial experiment. Fish were subjected to the sight and smell of a known predator (Pseudochromis fuscus, the presence of the heterospecific competitor (i.e., P. amboinensis vs. P. moluccensis, or a combination of the two for a period of 19 days. The sub-lethal effects of predator/competitor treatments were compared with controls; a combination of otolith microstructure analysis and observations were used to determine otolith growth patterns and behaviour. We predicted that the stress of competition and/or predation would result in strong sub-lethal impacts, and act synergistically on growth and behavioural patterns. We found strong evidence to support this prediction, but only for P. amboinensis, which suffered reductions in growth in both predator and competitor treatments, with the largest reductions occurring when subjected to both predation and competition concurrently. There was strong evidence of asymmetrical competition between the two damselfish species, with P. moluccensis as the dominant competitor, displaying strong aggressive behaviour towards P. amboinensis. Growth reductions for P. amboinensis in predator/competitor treatments appeared to come about primarily due to increases in shelter seeking behaviour, which significantly reduced the foraging rates of individuals compared with controls. These data highlight the importance of predator/competitor synergisms in influencing key behaviours and demographic parameters for juvenile coral reef fishes.

  11. Fear of fishers: human predation explains behavioral changes in coral reef fishes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fraser A Januchowski-Hartley

    Full Text Available Prey flight decisions in response to predation risk are increasingly being considered in conservation and management decisions in the terrestrial realm, but are rarely considered in marine systems. This field-based study investigated how the behavioral response of coral reef fish families varied along a gradient of subsistence fishing pressure in Papua New Guinea. Specifically, we examined how fishing pressure was related to pre-flight behavior and flight initiation distance (FID, and whether FID was influenced by body size (centimeters total length, group size (including both con- and hetero-specific individuals, or life-history phase. Fishing pressure was positively associated with higher FID, but only in families that were primarily targeted by spear guns. Among these families, there were variable responses in FID; some families showed increased FID monotonically with fishing pressure, while others showed increased FID only at the highest levels of fishing pressure. Body size was more significant in varying FID at higher levels of fishing pressure. Although family-level differences in pre-flight behavior were reported, such behavior showed low concordance with fishing pressure. FID shows promise as a tool by which compliance and effectiveness of management of reef fisheries can be assessed.

  12. Connectivity of microbial populations in coral reef environments: microbiomes of sediment, fish and water

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biddle, J.; Leon, Z. R.; McCargar, M.; Drew, J.

    2016-12-01

    The benthic environments of coral reefs are heavily shaped by physiochemical factors, but also the ecological interactions of the animals and plants in the reef ecosystem. Microbial populations may be shared between the ecosystem of sediments, seagrasses and reef fish, however it is unknown to what degree. We investigated the potential connections between the microbiomes of sediments, seagrass blades and roots (Syringodium isoetifolium), Surgeonfish (A. nigricauda, Acanthurinae sp. unknown, C. striatus) and Parrotfish (C. spinidens) guts in reef areas of Fiji. We contrasted these with sediment samples from the Florida Keys and ocean water microbiomes from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. In general, we see a higher diversity of sediment microbial communities in Fiji compared to the Florida Keys. However, many of the same taxa are shared in these chemically similar environments, whereas the ocean water environments are completely distinct with few overlapping groups. We were able to show connectivity of a core microbiome between seagrass, fish and sediments in Fiji, including identifying a potential environmental reservoir of a surgeonfish symbiont, Epulopiscum. Finally, we show that fish guts have different microbial populations from crop to hindgut, and that microbial populations differ based on food source. The connection of these ecosystems suggest that the total microbiome of these environments may vary as their animal inhabitants shift in a changing ocean.

  13. Is there a reproductive basis to solitary living versus pair-formation in coral reef fishes?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pratchett, Morgan S.; Pradjakusuma, Oki. A.; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2006-03-01

    Many species of coral reef fishes form pairs. While it is assumed that pairs represent the breeding unit of these species, the reproductive status of paired versus solitary individuals, and changes in status associated with pair-formation have seldom been investigated. In order to assess whether pairing is related to reproduction we examined whether the ontogenetic timing of pair formation coincided with the onset of maturation in four species of fishes: Chaetodon lunulatus and Chaetodon melannotus (family Chaetodontidae), and Valenciennea muralis and Valenciennea strigata (family Gobiidae). 65-78% of all fishes occurred in pairs. In C. lunulatus and V. muralis, pair-formation coincided with maturation, suggesting that these species form pairs for breeding. Further, C. lunulatus and V. muralis exhibited significant positive size-assortative pairing, which is often associated with monogamous mating. In contrast, pair formation in C. melannotus and V. strigata did not coincide with maturation. In both these species many solitary individuals were reproductive, and same sex pairs were common. While reproduction may be the basis for pairing in some species, both solitary and paired individuals are capable of breeding in others. We propose that non-reproductive mechanisms, such as predator vigilance, may explain pair-formation in coral reef fishes with non-monogamous breeding systems.

  14. Confronting the coral reef crisis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellwood, D. R.; Hughes, T. P.; Folke, C.; Nyström, M.

    2004-06-01

    The worldwide decline of coral reefs calls for an urgent reassessment of current management practices. Confronting large-scale crises requires a major scaling-up of management efforts based on an improved understanding of the ecological processes that underlie reef resilience. Managing for improved resilience, incorporating the role of human activity in shaping ecosystems, provides a basis for coping with uncertainty, future changes and ecological surprises. Here we review the ecological roles of critical functional groups (for both corals and reef fishes) that are fundamental to understanding resilience and avoiding phase shifts from coral dominance to less desirable, degraded ecosystems. We identify striking biogeographic differences in the species richness and composition of functional groups, which highlight the vulnerability of Caribbean reef ecosystems. These findings have profound implications for restoration of degraded reefs, management of fisheries, and the focus on marine protected areas and biodiversity hotspots as priorities for conservation.

  15. Feeding characteristics reveal functional distinctions among browsing herbivorous fishes on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Streit, Robert P.; Hoey, Andrew S.; Bellwood, David R.

    2015-12-01

    The removal of macroalgal biomass by fishes is a key process on coral reefs. Numerous studies have identified the fish species responsible for removing mature macroalgae, and have identified how this varies spatially, temporally, and among different algal types. None, however, have considered the behavioural and morphological traits of the browsing fishes and how this may influence the removal of macroalgal material. Using video observations of fish feeding on the brown macroalga Sargassum polycystum, we quantified the feeding behaviour and morphology of the four dominant browsing species on the Great Barrier Reef ( Kyphosus vaigiensis, Naso unicornis, Siganus canaliculatus, and Siganus doliatus). The greatest distinction between species was the algal material they targeted. K. vaigiensis and N. unicornis bit on the entire macroalgal thallus in approximately 90 % of bites. In contrast, Si. canaliculatus and Si. doliatus avoided biting the stalks, with 80-98 % of bites being on the macroalgal leaves only. This distinctive grouping into `entire thallus-biters' versus `leaf-biters' was not supported by size-standardized measures of biting morphology. Rather, species-specific adult body sizes, tooth shape, and feeding behaviour appear to underpin this functional distinction, with adults of the two larger fish species ( N. unicornis and K. vaigiensis) eating the entire macroalgal thallus, while the two smaller species ( Si. canaliculatus and Si. doliatus) bite only leaves. These findings caution against assumed homogeneity within this, and potentially other, functional groups on coral reefs. As functional redundancy within the macroalgal browsers is limited, the smaller `leaf-biting' species are unlikely to be able to compensate functionally for the loss of larger `entire thallus-biting' species.

  16. The abundance of herbivorous fish on an inshore Red Sea reef following a mass coral bleaching event

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha T.

    2013-01-08

    A healthy herbivore community is critical for the ability of a reef to resist and recover from severe disturbances and to regain lost coral cover (i.e., resilience). The densities of the two major herbivorous fish groups (the family Acanthuridae and scarine labrids) were comparatively studied for an inshore reef that was severely impacted by a mass coral bleaching event in 2010 and an unaffected reef within the same region. Densities were found to be significantly higher on the affected reef, most likely due to the high algal densities on that reef. However, densities of herbivores on both reefs were found to be on average about 1-2 orders of magnitude lower than previously published reports from some Pacific reefs and from Red Sea reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba and only slightly higher than Caribbean reefs. Thus, it is predicted that recovery for this reef and similarly affected reefs may be very slow. The protection of herbivores from overfishing and the introduction of other management strategies that maximize reef resilience in Saudi Arabian waters are highly recommended. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

  17. Seasonal and ontogenetic patterns of habitat use in coral reef fish juveniles

    OpenAIRE

    Mellin, Camille; Kulbicki, Michel; Ponton, Dominique

    2007-01-01

    We investigated the diversity of patterns of habitat use by juveniles of coral reef fishes according to seasons and at two spatial scales (10-100 m and 1-10 km). We conducted underwater visual censuses in New Caledonia's Lagoon between 1986 and 2001. Co-inertia analyses highlighted the importance of mid-shelf habitats at large spatial scale (1-10 km) and of sandy and vegetated habitats at small spatial scale (10-100 m) for most juveniles. Among all juvenile species, 53% used different habitat...

  18. Characteristics of settling coral reef fish are related to recruitment timing and success.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tauna L Rankin

    Full Text Available Many marine populations exhibit high variability in the recruitment of young into the population. While environmental cycles and oceanography explain some patterns of replenishment, the role of other growth-related processes in influencing settlement and recruitment is less clear. Examination of a 65-mo. time series of recruitment of a common coral reef fish, Stegastes partitus, to the reefs of the upper Florida Keys revealed that during peak recruitment months, settlement stage larvae arriving during dark lunar phases grew faster as larvae and were larger at settlement compared to those settling during the light lunar phases. However, the strength and direction of early trait-mediated selective mortality also varied by settlement lunar phase such that the early life history traits of 2-4 week old recruit survivors that settled across the lunar cycle converged to more similar values. Similarly, within peak settlement periods, early life history traits of settling larvae and selective mortality of recruits varied by the magnitude of the settlement event: larvae settling in larger events had longer PLDs and consequently were larger at settlement than those settling in smaller pulses. Traits also varied by recruitment habitat: recruits surviving in live coral habitat (vs rubble or areas with higher densities of adult conspecifics were those that were larger at settlement. Reef habitats, especially those with high densities of territorial conspecifics, are more challenging habitats for young fish to occupy and small settlers (due to lower larval growth and/or shorter PLDs to these habitats have a lower chance of survival than they do in rubble habitats. Settling reef fish are not all equal and the time and location of settlement influences the likelihood that individuals will survive to contribute to the population.

  19. Ectoparasites increase swimming costs in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Binning, Sandra A; Roche, Dominique G; Layton, Cayne

    2013-02-23

    Ectoparasites can reduce individual fitness by negatively affecting behavioural, morphological and physiological traits. In fishes, there are potential costs if ectoparasites decrease streamlining, thereby directly compromising swimming performance. Few studies have examined the effects of ectoparasites on fish swimming performance and none distinguish between energetic costs imposed by changes in streamlining and effects on host physiology. The bridled monocle bream (Scolopsis bilineatus) is parasitized by an isopod (Anilocra nemipteri), which attaches above the eye. We show that parasitized fish have higher standard metabolic rates (SMRs), poorer aerobic capacities and lower maximum swimming speeds than non-parasitized fish. Adding a model parasite did not affect SMR, but reduced maximum swimming speed and elevated oxygen consumption rates at high speeds to levels observed in naturally parasitized fish. This demonstrates that ectoparasites create drag effects that are important at high speeds. The higher SMR of naturally parasitized fish does, however, reveal an effect of parasitism on host physiology. This effect was easily reversed: fish whose parasite was removed 24 h earlier did not differ from unparasitized fish in any performance metrics. In sum, the main cost of this ectoparasite is probably its direct effect on streamlining, reducing swimming performance at high speeds.

  20. Linking fish species traits to environmental conditions in the Jakarta Bay-Pulau Seribu coral reef system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cleary, Daniel F R

    2017-09-15

    Coral reefs around the globe have been subjected to a wide range of stressors. In the present study, fish species were recorded across a pronounced in-to-offshore gradient in the Jakarta Bay-Pulau Seribu reef system. In addition to this, fish species traits were obtained from FishBase. RLQ analysis revealed a significant association between fish species traits and environmental variables. Fish species associated with perturbed, inshore waters were resilient to disturbance, had higher mortality rates, higher growth rates and mainly consumed animals. In contrast, fish species associated with less perturbed, mid- and offshore waters had greater life expectancy, higher age at maturity, greater life span, greater generation time and mainly fed on plants or plants and animals. Eutrophication, pollution and physical destruction of coral substrate in inshore waters has thus selected for a low biomass and depauperate fish community characterised by fast growing and short lived species. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  1. Extraordinary aggressive behavior from the giant coral reef fish, Bolbometopon muricatum, in a remote marine reserve.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roldan C Muñoz

    Full Text Available Human impacts to terrestrial and marine communities are widespread and typically begin with the local extirpation of large-bodied animals. In the marine environment, few pristine areas relatively free of human impact remain to provide baselines of ecosystem function and goals for restoration efforts. Recent comparisons of remote and/or protected coral reefs versus impacted sites suggest remote systems are dominated by apex predators, yet in these systems the ecological role of non-predatory, large-bodied, highly vulnerable species such as the giant bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum has received less attention. Overfishing of Bolbometopon has lead to precipitous declines in population density and avoidance of humans throughout its range, contributing to its status as a candidate species under the U. S. Endangered Species Act and limiting opportunities to study unexploited populations. Here we show that extraordinary ecological processes, such as violent headbutting contests by the world's largest parrotfish, can be revealed by studying unexploited ecosystems, such as the coral reefs of Wake Atoll where we studied an abundant population of Bolbometopon. Bolbometopon is among the largest of coral reef fishes and is a well known, charismatic species, yet to our knowledge, no scientific documentation of ritualized headbutting exists for marine fishes. Our observations of aggressive headbutting by Bolbometopon underscore that remote locations and marine reserves, by inhibiting negative responses to human observers and by allowing the persistence of historical conditions, can provide valuable opportunities to study ecosystems in their natural state, thereby facilitating the discovery, conservation, and interpretation of a range of sometimes remarkable behavioral and ecological processes.

  2. Monitoring herbivorous fishes as indicators of coral reef resilience in American Samoa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adel Heenan

    Full Text Available Resilience-based management aims to promote or protect processes and species that underpin an ecosystem's capacity to withstand and recover from disturbance. The management of ecological processes is a developing field that requires reliable indicators that can be monitored over time. Herbivory is a key ecological process on coral reefs, and pooling herbivorous fishes into functional groups based on their feeding mode is increasingly used as it may quantify herbivory in ways that indicate resilience. Here we evaluate whether the biomass estimates of these herbivore functional groups are good predictors of reef benthic assemblages, using data from 240 sites from five island groups in American Samoa. Using an information theoretic approach, we assembled a candidate set of linear and nonlinear models to identify the relations between benthic cover and total herbivore and non-herbivore biomass and the biomass of the aforementioned functional groups. For each benthic substrate type considered (encrusting algae, fleshy macroalgae, hard coral and turf algae, the biomass of herbivorous fishes were important explanatory variables in predicting benthic cover, whereas biomass of all fishes combined generally was not. Also, in all four cases, variation in cover was best explained by the biomass of specific functional groups rather than by all herbivores combined. Specifically: 1 macroalgal and turf algal cover decreased with increasing biomass of 'grazers/detritivores'; and 2 cover of encrusting algae increased with increasing biomass of 'grazers/detritivores' and browsers. Furthermore, hard coral cover increased with the biomass of large excavators/bio-eroders (made up of large-bodied parrotfishes. Collectively, these findings emphasize the link between herbivorous fishes and the benthic community and demonstrate support for the use of functional groups of herbivores as indicators for resilience-based monitoring.

  3. Phenotypic plasticity in sex allocation for a simultaneously hermaphroditic coral reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hart, M. K.; Svoboda, A.; Mancilla Cortez, D.

    2011-06-01

    Phenotypic plasticity can facilitate reproductive strategies that maximize mating success in variable environments and lead to differences in sex allocation among populations. For simultaneous hermaphrodites with sperm competition, including Serranus tortugarum a small coral reef fish, proportional male allocation (testis in total gonad) is often greater where local density or mating group size is higher. We tested whether S. tortugarum reduced male allocation when transplanted from a higher density site to a lower density site. After 4 months, transplants mirrored the sex-allocation patterns of the resident population on their new reef. Transplants had significantly lower male allocation than representatives from their source population, largely as a result of reduced testis mass relative to body size.

  4. Status of Coral Reef Fish Communities within the Mombasa Marine ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Keywords: Ecological monitoring, no-take area, partially-protected area, Marine ... abundance of haemulids (nocturnal carnivores) and acanthurids (herbivores) in ... This was also positively ... was little detectable effect on fish abundance.

  5. Polarized light sensitivity and orientation in coral reef fish post-larvae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berenshtein, Igal; Kiflawi, Moshe; Shashar, Nadav; Wieler, Uri; Agiv, Haim; Paris, Claire B

    2014-01-01

    Recent studies of the larvae of coral-reef fishes reveal that these tiny vertebrates possess remarkable swimming capabilities, as well as the ability to orient to olfactory, auditory, and visual cues. While navigation according to reef-generated chemicals and sounds can significantly affect dispersal, the effect is limited to the vicinity of the reef. Effective long-distance navigation requires at least one other capacity-the ability to maintain a bearing using, for example, a sun compass. Directional information in the sun's position can take the form of polarized-light related cues (i.e., e-vector orientation and percent polarization) and/or non-polarized-light related cues (i.e., the direct image of the sun, and the brightness and spectral gradients). We examined the response to both types of cues using commercially-reared post-larvae of the spine-cheeked anemonefish Premnas biaculeatus. Initial optomotor trials indicated that the post-larval stages are sensitive to linearly polarized light. Swimming directionality was then tested using a Drifting In-Situ Chamber (DISC), which allowed us to examine the response of the post-larvae to natural variation in light conditions and to manipulated levels of light polarization. Under natural light conditions, 28 of 29 post-larvae showed significant directional swimming (Rayleigh's test ppolarized light exhibited a distinct behavior of tracking the polarization axis, as it rotated along with the DISC. This behavior was not observed under partially-polarized illumination. We view these findings as an indication for the use of sun-related cues, and polarized light signal in specific, by orienting coral-reef fish larvae.

  6. Polarized light sensitivity and orientation in coral reef fish post-larvae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Igal Berenshtein

    Full Text Available Recent studies of the larvae of coral-reef fishes reveal that these tiny vertebrates possess remarkable swimming capabilities, as well as the ability to orient to olfactory, auditory, and visual cues. While navigation according to reef-generated chemicals and sounds can significantly affect dispersal, the effect is limited to the vicinity of the reef. Effective long-distance navigation requires at least one other capacity-the ability to maintain a bearing using, for example, a sun compass. Directional information in the sun's position can take the form of polarized-light related cues (i.e., e-vector orientation and percent polarization and/or non-polarized-light related cues (i.e., the direct image of the sun, and the brightness and spectral gradients. We examined the response to both types of cues using commercially-reared post-larvae of the spine-cheeked anemonefish Premnas biaculeatus. Initial optomotor trials indicated that the post-larval stages are sensitive to linearly polarized light. Swimming directionality was then tested using a Drifting In-Situ Chamber (DISC, which allowed us to examine the response of the post-larvae to natural variation in light conditions and to manipulated levels of light polarization. Under natural light conditions, 28 of 29 post-larvae showed significant directional swimming (Rayleigh's test p<0.05, R = 0.74±0.23, but to no particular direction. Swimming directionality was positively affected by sky clarity (absence of clouds and haze, which explained 38% of the observed variation. Moreover, post-larvae swimming under fully polarized light exhibited a distinct behavior of tracking the polarization axis, as it rotated along with the DISC. This behavior was not observed under partially-polarized illumination. We view these findings as an indication for the use of sun-related cues, and polarized light signal in specific, by orienting coral-reef fish larvae.

  7. 77 FR 12567 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-01

    ... Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Logbook and Reporting AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric... Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit (authorized under the Fishery Management Plan for Coral Reef... the logbooks is used to obtain fish catch/fishing effort data on coral reef fishes and invertebrates...

  8. Effects of ocean acidification on learning in coral reef fishes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maud C O Ferrari

    Full Text Available Ocean acidification has the potential to cause dramatic changes in marine ecosystems. Larval damselfish exposed to concentrations of CO(2 predicted to occur in the mid- to late-century show maladaptive responses to predator cues. However, there is considerable variation both within and between species in CO(2 effects, whereby some individuals are unaffected at particular CO(2 concentrations while others show maladaptive responses to predator odour. Our goal was to test whether learning via chemical or visual information would be impaired by ocean acidification and ultimately, whether learning can mitigate the effects of ocean acidification by restoring the appropriate responses of prey to predators. Using two highly efficient and widespread mechanisms for predator learning, we compared the behaviour of pre-settlement damselfish Pomacentrus amboinensis that were exposed to 440 µatm CO(2 (current day levels or 850 µatm CO(2, a concentration predicted to occur in the ocean before the end of this century. We found that, regardless of the method of learning, damselfish exposed to elevated CO(2 failed to learn to respond appropriately to a common predator, the dottyback, Pseudochromis fuscus. To determine whether the lack of response was due to a failure in learning or rather a short-term shift in trade-offs preventing the fish from displaying overt antipredator responses, we conditioned 440 or 700 µatm-CO(2 fish to learn to recognize a dottyback as a predator using injured conspecific cues, as in Experiment 1. When tested one day post-conditioning, CO(2 exposed fish failed to respond to predator odour. When tested 5 days post-conditioning, CO(2 exposed fish still failed to show an antipredator response to the dottyback odour, despite the fact that both control and CO(2-treated fish responded to a general risk cue (injured conspecific cues. These results indicate that exposure to CO(2 may alter the cognitive ability of juvenile fish and render

  9. Effects of ocean acidification on learning in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrari, Maud C O; Manassa, Rachel P; Dixson, Danielle L; Munday, Philip L; McCormick, Mark I; Meekan, Mark G; Sih, Andrew; Chivers, Douglas P

    2012-01-01

    Ocean acidification has the potential to cause dramatic changes in marine ecosystems. Larval damselfish exposed to concentrations of CO(2) predicted to occur in the mid- to late-century show maladaptive responses to predator cues. However, there is considerable variation both within and between species in CO(2) effects, whereby some individuals are unaffected at particular CO(2) concentrations while others show maladaptive responses to predator odour. Our goal was to test whether learning via chemical or visual information would be impaired by ocean acidification and ultimately, whether learning can mitigate the effects of ocean acidification by restoring the appropriate responses of prey to predators. Using two highly efficient and widespread mechanisms for predator learning, we compared the behaviour of pre-settlement damselfish Pomacentrus amboinensis that were exposed to 440 µatm CO(2) (current day levels) or 850 µatm CO(2), a concentration predicted to occur in the ocean before the end of this century. We found that, regardless of the method of learning, damselfish exposed to elevated CO(2) failed to learn to respond appropriately to a common predator, the dottyback, Pseudochromis fuscus. To determine whether the lack of response was due to a failure in learning or rather a short-term shift in trade-offs preventing the fish from displaying overt antipredator responses, we conditioned 440 or 700 µatm-CO(2) fish to learn to recognize a dottyback as a predator using injured conspecific cues, as in Experiment 1. When tested one day post-conditioning, CO(2) exposed fish failed to respond to predator odour. When tested 5 days post-conditioning, CO(2) exposed fish still failed to show an antipredator response to the dottyback odour, despite the fact that both control and CO(2)-treated fish responded to a general risk cue (injured conspecific cues). These results indicate that exposure to CO(2) may alter the cognitive ability of juvenile fish and render learning

  10. Global ecological success of Thalassoma fishes in extreme coral reef habitats

    KAUST Repository

    Fulton, Christopher J.

    2016-12-20

    Phenotypic adaptations can allow organisms to relax abiotic selection and facilitate their ecological success in challenging habitats, yet we have relatively little data for the prevalence of this phenomenon at macroecological scales. Using data on the relative abundance of coral reef wrasses and parrotfishes (f. Labridae) spread across three ocean basins and the Red Sea, we reveal the consistent global dominance of extreme wave-swept habitats by fishes in the genus Thalassoma, with abundances up to 15 times higher than any other labrid. A key locomotor modification-a winged pectoral fin that facilitates efficient underwater flight in high-flow environments-is likely to have underpinned this global success, as numerical dominance by Thalassoma was contingent upon the presence of high-intensity wave energy. The ecological success of the most abundant species also varied with species richness and the presence of congeneric competitors. While several fish taxa have independently evolved winged pectoral fins, Thalassoma appears to have combined efficient high-speed swimming (to relax abiotic selection) with trophic versatility (to maximize exploitation of rich resources) to exploit and dominate extreme coral reef habitats around the world.

  11. Investigating functional redundancy versus complementarity in Hawaiian herbivorous coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Emily L A; Eynaud, Yoan; Clements, Samantha M; Gleason, Molly; Sparks, Russell T; Williams, Ivor D; Smith, Jennifer E

    2016-12-01

    Patterns of species resource use provide insight into the functional roles of species and thus their ecological significance within a community. The functional role of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs has been defined through a variety of methods, but from a grazing perspective, less is known about the species-specific preferences of herbivores on different groups of reef algae and the extent of dietary overlap across an herbivore community. Here, we quantified patterns of redundancy and complementarity in a highly diverse community of herbivores at a reef on Maui, Hawaii, USA. First, we tracked fish foraging behavior in situ to record bite rate and type of substrate bitten. Second, we examined gut contents of select herbivorous fishes to determine consumption at a finer scale. Finally, we placed foraging behavior in the context of resource availability to determine how fish selected substrate type. All species predominantly (73-100 %) foraged on turf algae, though there were differences among the types of macroalgae and other substrates bitten. Increased resolution via gut content analysis showed the composition of turf algae consumed by fishes differed across herbivore species. Consideration of foraging behavior by substrate availability revealed 50 % of herbivores selected for turf as opposed to other substrate types, but overall, there were variable foraging portfolios across all species. Through these three methods of investigation, we found higher complementarity among herbivorous fishes than would be revealed using a single metric. These results suggest differences across species in the herbivore "rain of bites" that graze and shape benthic community composition.

  12. Coral reef habitats mapping of Spermonde Archipelago using remote sensing compared with in situ survey of fish abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawayama, Shuhei; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Nurdin, Nurjannah

    2012-10-01

    Coral reefs worldwide are now facing so great threat due to various impacts that their monitoring is urgently required for conservation and management. To understand status of coral reef ecosystem and find out indicator fish species for health of ecosystem, mapping seabed habitats with remote sensing and in situ visual survey of fish assemblage by snorkeling were conducted in coral reefs in Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia. ALOS AVNIR-2 multi-band imagery on 14 October 2010 was analyzed to map four habitats: live coral, dead coral, seagrass and sand-rubble. Groundtruth data were obtained using towed video camera and sidescan sonar in May and June 2011. Depth-Invariant indices (DI-indices) based on ratios of radiance values between bands were applied as a water column correction. Overall classification accuracy in Tau-coefficient of mapping with the DI-indices (0.66) didn't differ significantly (p<0.05) from that with the radiance values (0.63). Concerning visual fish survey, 12 fish groups were identified and numbers of individuals belonging to each group were counted along a transect of approximately 100m at 18 sites. We calculated Spearman's rank correlation between abundance (Ind. /100m) of every fish group along a transect and the ratio of each habitat area mapped with DI-indices inside the circle with 50m-diameter which includes the fish transect. We detected significant correlations between abundance of five fish groups and specific habitats, especially butterflyfish and live coral. This result corresponds to the past reports that butterflyfish was a good indicator of healthy corals, suggesting meaningfulness of studying relationships between fish abundance and spatial distribution of habitats in larger scale.

  13. Double jeopardy and global extinction risk in corals and reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P; Bellwood, David R; Connolly, Sean R; Cornell, Howard V; Karlson, Ronald H

    2014-12-15

    Coral reefs are critically important ecosystems that support the food security and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people in maritime tropical countries, yet they are increasingly threatened by overfishing, coastal pollution, climate change, and other anthropogenic impacts, leading to concerns that some species may be threatened with local or even global extinction. The concept of double jeopardy proposes that the risk of species extinction is elevated if species that are endemic (small range) are also scarce (low local abundance). Traditionally, marine macroecology has been founded on patterns of species richness and presence-absence data, which provide no information on species abundances or on the prevalence of double jeopardy. Here we quantify the abundances of >400 species of corals and fishes along one of the world's major marine biodiversity gradients, from the Coral Triangle hotspot to French Polynesia, a distance of approximately 10,000 km. In contrast to classical terrestrial studies, we find that the abundance of these species bears no relationship to the size of their geographic ranges. Consequently, double jeopardy is uncommon because endemics are often locally abundant, and conversely many pandemics are rare. The Coral Triangle hotspot has more numerically rare species (both endemic and pandemic) but also encompasses more species with intermediate and higher abundances. We conclude that conservation efforts in the sea should focus less on extinction risk and more on maintaining and rebuilding key ecological functions that are highly vulnerable to human pressures, even if species can avoid extinction.

  14. Extent of mangrove nursery habitats determines the geographic distribution of a coral reef fish in a South-Pacific archipelago.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christelle Paillon

    Full Text Available Understanding the drivers of species' geographic distribution has fundamental implications for the management of biodiversity. For coral reef fishes, mangroves have long been recognized as important nursery habitats sustaining biodiversity in the Western Atlantic but there is still debate about their role in the Indo-Pacific. Here, we combined LA-ICP-MS otolith microchemistry, underwater visual censuses (UVC and mangrove cartography to estimate the importance of mangroves for the Indo-Pacific coral reef fish Lutjanus fulviflamma in the archipelago of New Caledonia. Otolith elemental compositions allowed high discrimination of mangroves and reefs with 83.8% and 98.7% correct classification, respectively. Reefs were characterized by higher concentrations of Rb and Sr and mangroves by higher concentrations of Ba, Cr, Mn and Sn. All adult L. fulviflamma collected on reefs presented a mangrove signature during their juvenile stage with 85% inhabiting mangrove for their entire juvenile life (about 1 year. The analysis of 2942 UVC revealed that the species was absent from isolated islands of the New Caledonian archipelago where mangroves were absent. Furthermore, strong positive correlations existed between the abundance of L. fulviflamma and the area of mangrove (r = 0.84 for occurrence, 0.93 for density and 0.89 for biomass. These results indicate that mangrove forest is an obligatory juvenile habitat for L. fulviflamma in New Caledonia and emphasize the potential importance of mangroves for Indo-Pacific coral reef fishes.

  15. Coordinated vigilance provides evidence for direct reciprocity in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Bellwood, David R

    2015-09-25

    Reciprocity is frequently assumed to require complex cognitive abilities. Therefore, it has been argued that reciprocity may be restricted to animals that can meet these demands. Here, we provide evidence for the potential presence of direct reciprocity in teleost fishes. We demonstrate that in pairs of coral reef rabbitfishes (f. Siganidae), one fish frequently assumes an upright vigilance position in the water column, while the partner forages in small crevices in the reef substratum. Both behaviours are strongly coordinated and partners regularly alternate their positions, resulting in a balanced distribution of foraging activity. Compared to solitary individuals, fishes in pairs exhibit longer vigilance bouts, suggesting that the help provided to the partner is costly. In turn, fishes in pairs take more consecutive bites and penetrate deeper into crevices than solitary individuals, suggesting that the safety provided by a vigilant partner may outweigh initial costs by increasing foraging efficiency. Thus, the described system appears to meet all of the requirements for direct reciprocity. We argue that the nature of rabbitfish pairs provides favourable conditions for the establishment of direct reciprocity, as continuous interaction with the same partner, simultaneous needs, interdependence, and communication relax the cognitive demands of reciprocal cooperation.

  16. Stable isotopes as tracers of residency for fish on inshore coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Jean P.; Pitt, Kylie A.; Fry, Brian; Connolly, Rod M.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the migratory movements of fish between habitats is an important priority for fisheries management. Carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stable isotopes were used to evaluate the degree of movement and residency for five fish species collected from coral reefs in Queensland, Australia. Isotope values of fish were measured and compared between slow-turnover muscle tissue and fast-turnover liver tissue, with isotopic agreement between liver and muscle generally indicating resident animals, and relatively low C isotope values in muscle indicating migrants. Three fish species, rabbitfish (Siganus fuscescens), painted sweetlips (Diagramma labiosum) and Guenther's wrasse (Pseudolabrus guentheri) showed relatively consistent carbon isotope values between muscle and liver tissue as expected for resident populations. One quarter of bream (Acanthopagrus australis) individuals showed much lower δ13C values in muscle than liver. These low values diverged from the -10 to -15‰ values of residents and were more similar to the -20‰ values of fish collected from coastal riverine habitats, the presumed migration source. Moses perch (Lutjanus russelli) also showed substantial differences between muscle and liver C isotopes for about a quarter of individuals, but the overall higher C values of these individuals indicated they may have switched diets within island habitats rather than migrating. Our results were consistent with previous studies of fish residency and indicate that measuring stable isotopes in multiple tissues provides a useful methodology for characterizing fish residency in inshore areas.

  17. Human-mediated loss of phylogenetic and functional diversity in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'agata, Stéphanie; Mouillot, David; Kulbicki, Michel; Andréfouët, Serge; Bellwood, David R; Cinner, Joshua E; Cowman, Peter F; Kronen, Mecki; Pinca, Silvia; Vigliola, Laurent

    2014-03-03

    Beyond the loss of species richness, human activities may also deplete the breadth of evolutionary history (phylogenetic diversity) and the diversity of roles (functional diversity) carried out by species within communities, two overlooked components of biodiversity. Both are, however, essential to sustain ecosystem functioning and the associated provision of ecosystem services, particularly under fluctuating environmental conditions. We quantified the effect of human activities on the taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity of fish communities in coral reefs, while teasing apart the influence of biogeography and habitat along a gradient of human pressure across the Pacific Ocean. We detected nonlinear relationships with significant breaking points in the impact of human population density on phylogenetic and functional diversity of parrotfishes, at 25 and 15 inhabitants/km(2), respectively, while parrotfish species richness decreased linearly along the same population gradient. Over the whole range, species richness decreased by 11.7%, while phylogenetic and functional diversity dropped by 35.8% and 46.6%, respectively. Our results call for caution when using species richness as a benchmark for measuring the status of ecosystems since it appears to be less responsive to variation in human population densities than its phylogenetic and functional counterparts, potentially imperiling the functioning of coral reef ecosystems.

  18. Unexpected high vulnerability of functions in wilderness areas: evidence from coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vigliola, Laurent; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Wantiez, Laurent; Parravicini, Valeriano; Villéger, Sébastien; Mou-Tham, Gerard; Frolla, Philippe; Friedlander, Alan M.; Kulbicki, Michel; Mouillot, David

    2016-01-01

    High species richness is thought to support the delivery of multiple ecosystem functions and services under changing environments. Yet, some species might perform unique functional roles while others are redundant. Thus, the benefits of high species richness in maintaining ecosystem functioning are uncertain if functions have little redundancy, potentially leading to high vulnerability of functions. We studied the natural propensity of assemblages to be functionally buffered against loss prior to fishing activities, using functional trait combinations, in coral reef fish assemblages across unfished wilderness areas of the Indo-Pacific: Chagos Archipelago, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Fish functional diversity in these wilderness areas is highly vulnerable to fishing, explained by species- and abundance-based redundancy packed into a small combination of traits, leaving most other trait combinations (60%) sensitive to fishing, with no redundancy. Functional vulnerability peaks for mobile and sedentary top predators, and large species in general. Functional vulnerability decreases for certain functional entities in New Caledonia, where overall functional redundancy was higher. Uncovering these baseline patterns of functional vulnerability can offer early warning signals of the damaging effects from fishing, and may serve as baselines to guide precautionary and even proactive conservation actions. PMID:27928042

  19. Effects of trap fishing on coral reefs and associated habitats in the Florida Keys

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — We conducted surveys of trap distributions, targeted habitats, trap damage to coral reefs and associated habitats, and spatial/temporal distribution of catches....

  20. Effects of trap fishing on coral reefs and associated habitats in the US Caribbean

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — We are conducting surveys of trap distributions, targeted habitats, trap damage to coral reefs and associated habitats, and spatial/temporal distribution of catches....

  1. Food selectivity and diet switch can explain the slow feeding of herbivorous coral-reef fishes during the morning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ruth Khait

    Full Text Available Most herbivorous coral-reef fishes feed slower in the morning than in the afternoon. Given the typical scarcity of algae in coral reefs, this behavior seems maladaptive. Here we suggest that the fishes' slow feeding during the morning is an outcome of highly selective feeding on scarcely found green algae. The rarity of the food requires longer search time and extended swimming tracks, resulting in lower bite rates. According to our findings by noon the fish seem to stop their search and switch to indiscriminative consumption of benthic algae, resulting in apparent higher feeding rates. The abundance of the rare preferable algae gradually declines from morning to noon and seems to reach its lowest levels around the switch time. Using in situ experiments we found that the feeding pattern is flexible, with the fish exhibiting fast feeding rates when presented with ample supply of preferable algae, regardless of the time of day. Analyses of the fish's esophagus content corroborated our conclusion that their feeding was highly selective in the morning and non-selective in the afternoon. Modeling of the fishes' behavior predicted that the fish should perform a diel diet shift when the preferred food is relatively rare, a situation common in most coral reefs found in a warm, oligotrophic ocean.

  2. Transformation of algal turf by echinoids and scarid fishes on French Polynesian coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harmelin-Vivien, Mireille L.; Peyrot-Clausade, Mireille; Romano, Jean-Claude

    1992-04-01

    The respective roles of regular echinoids and scarid fishes in the transformation of turf algae, the main food resource for reef herbivores, were investigated on French Polynesian coral reefs. The role of one species of parrotfish ( Scarus sordidus) was compared with that of four species of echinoids. The degree and ways of degradation of the algal matter were determined by the organic matter percentage, the composition of the sugar fraction, and the concentration and composition of chlorophylltype pigments as assayed by HPLC analysis. Chemical analyses were performed on anterior and posterior intestines for scarids, intestinal contents and faeces for echinoids, and on fresh algal turf as a control of initial food quality. A decrease in mean percentage of organic matter in gut content was observed from intestine (9.7%) to faeces (7%) in sea urchins, but not in parrotfishes. The total sugar fraction decreased from fresh algal turf (32% of total organic matter) to echinoid (28%) to scarid (18%) gut contents. The ratio of insoluble to soluble sugars (I/S ratios) was higher in echinoids (2.6) than in scarid gut contents (1.0). A decrease in the total pigment concentration was measured from fresh algal turf to echinoid and it was found to be even lower in scarid gut contents. Chromatograms showed that the composition of chlorophyll-type pigments in scarid intestines was very similar to fresh algal turf, with a dominance of native forms, mainly chlorophyll a and b. On the contrary, degraded pigment forms dominated in echinoids. The main degraded products were pheophorbides in sea urchins, and chlorophyllides in parrotfishes. These results provided evidence for differentiation in digestive processes occurring in the two types of grazers. Echinoids released higher degraded algal material than did scarids. Thus, these two types of grazers play different roles in the recycling of organic matter on coral reefs.

  3. Counter-gradient variation in respiratory performance of coral reef fishes at elevated temperatures.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Naomi M Gardiner

    Full Text Available The response of species to global warming depends on how different populations are affected by increasing temperature throughout the species' geographic range. Local adaptation to thermal gradients could cause populations in different parts of the range to respond differently. In aquatic systems, keeping pace with increased oxygen demand is the key parameter affecting species' response to higher temperatures. Therefore, respiratory performance is expected to vary between populations at different latitudes because they experience different thermal environments. We tested for geographical variation in respiratory performance of tropical marine fishes by comparing thermal effects on resting and maximum rates of oxygen uptake for six species of coral reef fish at two locations on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia. The two locations, Heron Island and Lizard Island, are separated by approximately 1200 km along a latitudinal gradient. We found strong counter-gradient variation in aerobic scope between locations in four species from two families (Pomacentridae and Apogonidae. High-latitude populations (Heron Island, southern GBR performed significantly better than low-latitude populations (Lizard Island, northern GBR at temperatures up to 5°C above average summer surface-water temperature. The other two species showed no difference in aerobic scope between locations. Latitudinal variation in aerobic scope was primarily driven by up to 80% higher maximum rates of oxygen uptake in the higher latitude populations. Our findings suggest that compensatory mechanisms in high-latitude populations enhance their performance at extreme temperatures, and consequently, that high-latitude populations of reef fishes will be less impacted by ocean warming than will low-latitude populations.

  4. Indirect effects of an exploited predator on recruitment of coral-reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stallings, Christopher D

    2008-08-01

    The more ecologists examine the role of trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMIIs), especially in regulating predator-prey interactions, the more we recognize their fundamental role in structuring food webs. However, most empirical evidence for TMIIs comes from studies that are either conducted in laboratory or mesocosm venues or are restricted to simple food webs involving lower trophic-level animals. Here, I quantified the direct and indirect effects of interactions between high-level vertebrate predators on their vertebrate prey using a field experiment. Specifically, I tested how varying densities of a large-bodied, top predator (Nassau grouper; Epinephelus striatus) affected persistence, growth, and behavior of two smaller-bodied, intermediate predators (coney and graysby groupers; Cephalopholis fulva and C. cruentata) on 20 isolated patch reefs in the Bahamas. Large-bodied groupers are capable of consuming their smaller-bodied counterparts, and previous observational studies have indicated that local abundances of these groupers are negatively correlated. I measured the effects of interactions among groupers on lower trophic-level prey by quantifying recruitment of coral-reef fishes to the reefs. The field experiment demonstrated a strong trophic cascade that was entirely mediated by modified behavior of the intermediate predators. These results indicate that indirect, nonlethal interactions in natural systems can have strong cascading effects even at high trophic levels and in high-diversity food webs. Incorporating the complexity of such indirect effects into fisheries management may improve the sustainability of fished populations and strengthen marine conservation efforts; however these results also indicate that the effects of fishing are complex and difficult to predict.

  5. Effects of hypoxia and ocean acidification on the upper thermal niche boundaries of coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ern, Rasmus; Johansen, Jacob L; Rummer, Jodie L; Esbaugh, Andrew J

    2017-07-01

    Rising ocean temperatures are predicted to cause a poleward shift in the distribution of marine fishes occupying the extent of latitudes tolerable within their thermal range boundaries. A prevailing theory suggests that the upper thermal limits of fishes are constrained by hypoxia and ocean acidification. However, some eurythermal fish species do not conform to this theory, and maintain their upper thermal limits in hypoxia. Here we determine if the same is true for stenothermal species. In three coral reef fish species we tested the effect of hypoxia on upper thermal limits, measured as critical thermal maximum (CTmax). In one of these species we also quantified the effect of hypoxia on oxygen supply capacity, measured as aerobic scope (AS). In this species we also tested the effect of elevated CO2 (simulated ocean acidification) on the hypoxia sensitivity of CTmax We found that CTmax was unaffected by progressive hypoxia down to approximately 35 mmHg, despite a substantial hypoxia-induced reduction in AS. Below approximately 35 mmHg, CTmax declined sharply with water oxygen tension (PwO2). Furthermore, the hypoxia sensitivity of CTmax was unaffected by elevated CO2 Our findings show that moderate hypoxia and ocean acidification do not constrain the upper thermal limits of these tropical, stenothermal fishes. © 2017 The Author(s).

  6. Dopamine D1 receptor activation leads to object recognition memory in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamilton, Trevor J; Tresguerres, Martin; Kline, David I

    2017-07-01

    Object recognition memory is the ability to identify previously seen objects and is an adaptive mechanism that increases survival for many species throughout the animal kingdom. Previously believed to be possessed by only the highest order mammals, it is now becoming clear that fish are also capable of this type of memory formation. Similar to the mammalian hippocampus, the dorsolateral pallium regulates distinct memory processes and is modulated by neurotransmitters such as dopamine. Caribbean bicolour damselfish (Stegastes partitus) live in complex environments dominated by coral reef structures and thus likely possess many types of complex memory abilities including object recognition. This study used a novel object recognition test in which fish were first presented two identical objects, then after a retention interval of 10 min with no objects, the fish were presented with a novel object and one of the objects they had previously encountered in the first trial. We demonstrate that the dopamine D1-receptor agonist (SKF 38393) induces the formation of object recognition memories in these fish. Thus, our results suggest that dopamine-receptor mediated enhancement of spatial memory formation in fish represents an evolutionarily conserved mechanism in vertebrates. © 2017 The Author(s).

  7. Functional connectivity of coral reef fishes in a tropical seascape assessed by compound-specific stable isotope analyses

    KAUST Repository

    McMahon, Kelton W.

    2011-01-01

    The ecological integrity of tropical habitats, including mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs, is coming under increasing pressure from human activities. Many coral reef fish species are thought to use mangroves and seagrass beds as juvenile nurseries before migrating to coral reefs as adults. Identifying essential habitats and preserving functional linkages among these habitats is likely necessary to promote ecosystem health and sustainable fisheries on coral reefs. This necessitates quantitative assessment of functional connectivity among essential habitats at the seascape level. This thesis presents the development and first application of a method for tracking fish migration using amino acid (AA) δ13C analysis in otoliths. In a controlled feeding experiment with fish reared on isotopically distinct diets, we showed that essential AAs exhibited minimal trophic fractionation between consumer and diet, providing a δ13C record of the baseline isoscape. We explored the potential for geochemical signatures in otoliths of snapper to act as natural tags of residency in seagrass beds, mangroves and coral reefs in the Red Sea, Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean. The δ13C values of otolith essential AAs varied as a function of habitat type and provided a better tracer of residence in juvenile nursery habitats than conventional bulk stable isotope analyses (SIA). Using our otolith AA SIA approach, we quantified the relative contribution of coastal wetlands and reef habitats to Lutjanus ehrenbergii populations on coastal, shelf and oceanic coral reefs in the Red Sea. L. ehrenbergii made significant ontogenetic migrations, traveling more than 30 km from juvenile nurseries to coral reefs and across deep open water. Coastal wetlands were important nurseries for L. ehrenbergii; however, there was significant plasticity in L. ehrenbergii juvenile habitat requirements. Seascape configuration played an important role in determining the functional connectivity of L

  8. Modeling Coral Reef Fish Home Range Movements in Dry Tortugas, Florida

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A. Farmer

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Underestimation of reef fish space use may result in marine reserves that are too small to effectively buffer a portion of the stock from fishing mortality. Commonly used statistical home range models, such as minimum convex polygon (MCP or 95% kernel density (95% KD methods, require the exclusion of individuals who move beyond the bounds of the tracking study. Spatially explicit individual-based models of fish home range movements parameterized from multiple years of acoustic tracking data were developed for three exploited coral reef fishes (red grouper Epinephelus morio, black grouper Mycteroperca bonaci, and mutton snapper Lutjanus analis in Dry Tortugas, Florida. Movements were characterized as a combination of probability of movement, distance moved, and turning angle. Simulations suggested that the limited temporal and geographic scope of most movement studies may underestimate home range size, especially for fish with home range centers near the edges of the array. Simulations provided useful upper bounds for home range size (red grouper: 2.28±0.81 km2 MCP, 3.60±0.89 km2 KD; black grouper: 2.06±0.84 km2 MCP, 3.93±1.22 km2 KD; mutton snapper: 7.72±2.23 km2 MCP, 6.16±1.11 km2 KD. Simulations also suggested that MCP home ranges are more robust to artifacts of passive array acoustic detection patterns than 95% KD methods.

  9. Modeling coral reef fish home range movements in Dry Tortugas, Florida.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farmer, Nicholas A; Ault, Jerald S

    2014-01-01

    Underestimation of reef fish space use may result in marine reserves that are too small to effectively buffer a portion of the stock from fishing mortality. Commonly used statistical home range models, such as minimum convex polygon (MCP) or 95% kernel density (95% KD) methods, require the exclusion of individuals who move beyond the bounds of the tracking study. Spatially explicit individual-based models of fish home range movements parameterized from multiple years of acoustic tracking data were developed for three exploited coral reef fishes (red grouper Epinephelus morio, black grouper Mycteroperca bonaci, and mutton snapper Lutjanus analis) in Dry Tortugas, Florida. Movements were characterized as a combination of probability of movement, distance moved, and turning angle. Simulations suggested that the limited temporal and geographic scope of most movement studies may underestimate home range size, especially for fish with home range centers near the edges of the array. Simulations provided useful upper bounds for home range size (red grouper: 2.28±0.81 km2 MCP, 3.60±0.89 km2 KD; black grouper: 2.06±0.84 km2 MCP, 3.93±1.22 km2 KD; mutton snapper: 7.72±2.23 km2 MCP, 6.16±1.11 km2 KD). Simulations also suggested that MCP home ranges are more robust to artifacts of passive array acoustic detection patterns than 95% KD methods.

  10. Body Fineness Ratio as a Predictor of Maximum Prolonged-Swimming Speed in Coral Reef Fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Jeffrey A.; Alfaro, Michael E.; Noble, Mae M.; Fulton, Christopher J.

    2013-01-01

    The ability to sustain high swimming speeds is believed to be an important factor affecting resource acquisition in fishes. While we have gained insights into how fin morphology and motion influences swimming performance in coral reef fishes, the role of other traits, such as body shape, remains poorly understood. We explore the ability of two mechanistic models of the causal relationship between body fineness ratio and endurance swimming-performance to predict maximum prolonged-swimming speed (Umax) among 84 fish species from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. A drag model, based on semi-empirical data on the drag of rigid, submerged bodies of revolution, was applied to species that employ pectoral-fin propulsion with a rigid body at Umax. An alternative model, based on the results of computer simulations of optimal shape in self-propelled undulating bodies, was applied to the species that swim by body-caudal-fin propulsion at Umax. For pectoral-fin swimmers, Umax increased with fineness, and the rate of increase decreased with fineness, as predicted by the drag model. While the mechanistic and statistical models of the relationship between fineness and Umax were very similar, the mechanistic (and statistical) model explained only a small fraction of the variance in Umax. For body-caudal-fin swimmers, we found a non-linear relationship between fineness and Umax, which was largely negative over most of the range of fineness. This pattern fails to support either predictions from the computational models or standard functional interpretations of body shape variation in fishes. Our results suggest that the widespread hypothesis that a more optimal fineness increases endurance-swimming performance via reduced drag should be limited to fishes that swim with rigid bodies. PMID:24204575

  11. Body fineness ratio as a predictor of maximum prolonged-swimming speed in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Jeffrey A; Alfaro, Michael E; Noble, Mae M; Fulton, Christopher J

    2013-01-01

    The ability to sustain high swimming speeds is believed to be an important factor affecting resource acquisition in fishes. While we have gained insights into how fin morphology and motion influences swimming performance in coral reef fishes, the role of other traits, such as body shape, remains poorly understood. We explore the ability of two mechanistic models of the causal relationship between body fineness ratio and endurance swimming-performance to predict maximum prolonged-swimming speed (Umax ) among 84 fish species from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. A drag model, based on semi-empirical data on the drag of rigid, submerged bodies of revolution, was applied to species that employ pectoral-fin propulsion with a rigid body at U max. An alternative model, based on the results of computer simulations of optimal shape in self-propelled undulating bodies, was applied to the species that swim by body-caudal-fin propulsion at Umax . For pectoral-fin swimmers, Umax increased with fineness, and the rate of increase decreased with fineness, as predicted by the drag model. While the mechanistic and statistical models of the relationship between fineness and Umax were very similar, the mechanistic (and statistical) model explained only a small fraction of the variance in Umax . For body-caudal-fin swimmers, we found a non-linear relationship between fineness and Umax , which was largely negative over most of the range of fineness. This pattern fails to support either predictions from the computational models or standard functional interpretations of body shape variation in fishes. Our results suggest that the widespread hypothesis that a more optimal fineness increases endurance-swimming performance via reduced drag should be limited to fishes that swim with rigid bodies.

  12. Limited Capacity for Faster Digestion in Larval Coral Reef Fish at an Elevated Temperature.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ian M McLeod

    Full Text Available The prevalence of extreme, short-term temperature spikes in coastal regions during summer months is predicted to increase with ongoing climate change. In tropical systems, these changes are predicted to increase the metabolic demand of coral reef fish larvae while also altering the plankton communities upon which the larvae feed during their pelagic phase. The consequences of these predictions remain speculative in the absence of empirical data on the interactive effects of warm temperatures on the metabolism, postprandial processes and growth responses of coral reef fish larvae. Here, we tested the effect of increased temperature on the metabolism, postprandial performance and fine-scale growth patterns of a coral reef fish (Amphiprion percula in the latter half of its ~11-d larval phase. First, we measured the length and weight of fed versus fasted larvae (N = 340; mean body mass 4.1±0.05 mg across fine temporal scales at a typical current summer temperature (28.5°C and a temperature that is likely be encountered during warm summer periods later this century (31.5°C. Second, we measured routine metabolic rate (Mo2 routine and the energetics of the postprandial processes (i.e., digestion, absorption and assimilation of a meal; termed specific dynamic action (SDA at both temperatures. Larvae fed voraciously when provided with food for a 12-hour period and displayed a temperature-independent increase in mass of 40.1% (28.5°C and 42.6% (31.5°C, which was largely associated with the mass of prey in the gut. A subsequent 12-h fasting period revealed that the larvae had grown 21.2±4.8% (28.5°C and 22.8±8.8% (31.5°C in mass and 10.3±2.0% (28.5°C and 7.8±2.6% (31.5°C in length compared with pre-feeding values (no significant temperature effect. Mo2 routine was 55±16% higher at 31.5°C and peak Mo2 during the postprandial period was 28±11% higher at 31.5°C, yet elevated temperature had no significant effect on SDA (0.51±0.06 J at 28.5

  13. Bait effects in sampling coral reef fish assemblages with stereo-BRUVs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stacey R Dorman

    Full Text Available Baited underwater video techniques are increasingly being utilised for assessing and monitoring demersal fishes because they are: 1 non extractive, 2 can be used to sample across multiple habitats and depths, 3 are cost effective, 4 sample a broader range of species than many other techniques, 5 and with greater statistical power. However, an examination of the literature demonstrates that a range of different bait types are being used. The use of different types of bait can create an additional source of variability in sampling programs. Coral reef fish assemblages at the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, were sampled using baited remote underwater stereo-video systems. One-hour stereo-video recordings were collected for four different bait treatments (pilchards, cat food, falafel mix and no bait (control from sites inside and outside a targeted fishery closure (TFC. In total, 5209 individuals from 132 fish species belonging to 41 families were recorded. There were significant differences in the fish assemblage structure and composition between baited and non-baited treatments (P<0.001, while no difference was observed with species richness. Samples baited with cat food and pilchards contained similar ingredients and were found to record similar components of the fish assemblage. There were no significant differences in the fish assemblages in areas open or closed to fishing, regardless of the bait used. Investigation of five targeted species indicated that the response to different types of bait was species-specific. For example, the relative abundance of Pagrus auratus was found to increase in areas protected from fishing, but only in samples baited with pilchards and cat food. The results indicate that the use of bait in conjunction with stereo-BRUVs is advantageous. On balance, the use of pilchards as a standardised bait for stereo-BRUVs deployments is justified for use along the mid-west coast of Western Australia.

  14. 76 FR 68711 - Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch and Coral and Reef Associated Plants and...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-11-07

    ... CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 101217620-1654-02] RIN 0648-BA62 Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster... Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Amendment 5 to the FMP for the Spiny Lobster Fishery... catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for reef fish, spiny lobster, and aquarium...

  15. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vermeij, Mark J A; Marhaver, Kristen L; Huijbers, Chantal M; Nagelkerken, Ivan; Simpson, Stephen D

    2010-05-14

    Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviours of small coral larvae (coral larvae respond to acoustic cues that may facilitate detection of habitat from large distances and from upcurrent of preferred settlement locations. Using in situ choice chambers, we found that settling coral larvae were attracted to reef sounds, produced mainly by fish and crustaceans, which we broadcast underwater using loudspeakers. Our discovery that coral larvae can detect and respond to sound is the first description of an auditory response in the invertebrate phylum Cnidaria, which includes jellyfish, anemones, and hydroids as well as corals. If, like settlement-stage reef fish and crustaceans, coral larvae use reef noise as a cue for orientation, the alleviation of noise pollution in the marine environment may gain further urgency.

  16. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program - Assessment of coral reef fish communities in Puerto Rico from 2014-05-19 to 2014-12-03 (NCEI Accession 0131260)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan (NCRMP) is a framework for conducting sustained observations of biological, climate, and socioeconomic indicators at 10...

  17. Global warming may disproportionately affect larger adults in a predatory coral reef fish

    KAUST Repository

    Messmer, Vanessa

    2016-11-03

    Global warming is expected to reduce body sizes of ectothermic animals. Although the underlying mechanisms of size reductions remain poorly understood, effects appear stronger at latitudinal extremes (poles and tropics) and in aquatic rather than terrestrial systems. To shed light on this phenomenon, we examined the size dependence of critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and aerobic metabolism in a commercially important tropical reef fish, the leopard coral grouper (Plectropomus leopardus) following acclimation to current-day (28.5 °C) vs. projected end-of-century (33 °C) summer temperatures for the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). CTmax declined from 38.3 to 37.5 °C with increasing body mass in adult fish (0.45-2.82 kg), indicating that larger individuals are more thermally sensitive than smaller conspecifics. This may be explained by a restricted capacity for large fish to increase mass-specific maximum metabolic rate (MMR) at 33 °C compared with 28.5 °C. Indeed, temperature influenced the relationship between metabolism and body mass (0.02-2.38 kg), whereby the scaling exponent for MMR increased from 0.74 ± 0.02 at 28.5 °C to 0.79 ± 0.01 at 33 °C, and the corresponding exponents for standard metabolic rate (SMR) were 0.75 ± 0.04 and 0.80 ± 0.03. The increase in metabolic scaling exponents at higher temperatures suggests that energy budgets may be disproportionately impacted in larger fish and contribute to reduced maximum adult size. Such climate-induced reductions in body size would have important ramifications for fisheries productivity, but are also likely to have knock-on effects for trophodynamics and functioning of ecosystems.

  18. Global warming may disproportionately affect larger adults in a predatory coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Messmer, Vanessa; Pratchett, Morgan S; Hoey, Andrew S; Tobin, Andrew J; Coker, Darren J; Cooke, Steven J; Clark, Timothy D

    2017-06-01

    Global warming is expected to reduce body sizes of ectothermic animals. Although the underlying mechanisms of size reductions remain poorly understood, effects appear stronger at latitudinal extremes (poles and tropics) and in aquatic rather than terrestrial systems. To shed light on this phenomenon, we examined the size dependence of critical thermal maxima (CTmax) and aerobic metabolism in a commercially important tropical reef fish, the leopard coral grouper (Plectropomus leopardus) following acclimation to current-day (28.5 °C) vs. projected end-of-century (33 °C) summer temperatures for the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). CTmax declined from 38.3 to 37.5 °C with increasing body mass in adult fish (0.45-2.82 kg), indicating that larger individuals are more thermally sensitive than smaller conspecifics. This may be explained by a restricted capacity for large fish to increase mass-specific maximum metabolic rate (MMR) at 33 °C compared with 28.5 °C. Indeed, temperature influenced the relationship between metabolism and body mass (0.02-2.38 kg), whereby the scaling exponent for MMR increased from 0.74 ± 0.02 at 28.5 °C to 0.79 ± 0.01 at 33 °C, and the corresponding exponents for standard metabolic rate (SMR) were 0.75 ± 0.04 and 0.80 ± 0.03. The increase in metabolic scaling exponents at higher temperatures suggests that energy budgets may be disproportionately impacted in larger fish and contribute to reduced maximum adult size. Such climate-induced reductions in body size would have important ramifications for fisheries productivity, but are also likely to have knock-on effects for trophodynamics and functioning of ecosystems. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Coral Reefs: A Gallery Program, Grades 7-12.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. Dept. of Education.

    Gallery classes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore give the opportunity to study specific aquarium exhibits which demonstrate entire natural habitats. The coral reef gallery class features the gigantic western Atlantic coral reef (325,000 gallons) with over 1,000 fish. The exhibit simulates a typical Caribbean coral reef and nearby sandy…

  20. Coral Reefs: A Gallery Program, Grades 7-12.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. Dept. of Education.

    Gallery classes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore give the opportunity to study specific aquarium exhibits which demonstrate entire natural habitats. The coral reef gallery class features the gigantic western Atlantic coral reef (325,000 gallons) with over 1,000 fish. The exhibit simulates a typical Caribbean coral reef and nearby sandy…

  1. Impact of global warming and rising CO2 levels on coral reef fishes: what hope for the future?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munday, Philip L; McCormick, Mark I; Nilsson, Göran E

    2012-11-15

    Average sea-surface temperature and the amount of CO(2) dissolved in the ocean are rising as a result of increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO(2). Many coral reef fishes appear to be living close to their thermal optimum, and for some of them, even relatively moderate increases in temperature (2-4°C) lead to significant reductions in aerobic scope. Reduced aerobic capacity could affect population sustainability because less energy can be devoted to feeding and reproduction. Coral reef fishes seem to have limited capacity to acclimate to elevated temperature as adults, but recent research shows that developmental and transgenerational plasticity occur, which might enable some species to adjust to rising ocean temperatures. Predicted increases in P(CO(2)), and associated ocean acidification, can also influence the aerobic scope of coral reef fishes, although there is considerable interspecific variation, with some species exhibiting a decline and others an increase in aerobic scope at near-future CO(2) levels. As with thermal effects, there are transgenerational changes in response to elevated CO(2) that could mitigate impacts of high CO(2) on the growth and survival of reef fishes. An unexpected discovery is that elevated CO(2) has a dramatic effect on a wide range of behaviours and sensory responses of reef fishes, with consequences for the timing of settlement, habitat selection, predator avoidance and individual fitness. The underlying physiological mechanism appears to be the interference of acid-base regulatory processes with brain neurotransmitter function. Differences in the sensitivity of species and populations to global warming and rising CO(2) have been identified that will lead to changes in fish community structure as the oceans warm and becomes more acidic; however, the prospect for acclimation and adaptation of populations to these threats also needs to be considered. Ultimately, it will be the capacity for species to adjust to environmental

  2. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.; Wafar, S.

    communication). Fossil reefs, drowned as a result of the Holocene sea level rise, occur at 92, 85, 75 and 55 m depth along .. ~ !! ":2 0. ~ Figure 3.1 Graphical Representation of the SO-Box Model of a Caribbean Coral Reef Key: 1. Benthic producers. 2. Detritus... explain the low species diversity and the absence of branching corals in the intertidal regions. H.aised fossil reefs, proba bly as a result of local upheavals, arc found in Minicoy island (Gardiner 1903), in Ramanalhapuram district in Tamil Nadu...

  3. Influence of Coral Bleaching on the Fauna of Tutia Reef, Tanzania

    OpenAIRE

    Öhman, M.C.; Lindahl, U.; Schelten, C.K.

    1999-01-01

    In 1998, coral reefs of Tanzania were severely affected by bleaching. The coral mortality that followed caused a concern for coral reef degradation and overall resource depletion. In this study, we investigated coral bleaching effects on the coral reef fauna at Tutia Reef in Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania. Corals from adjacent reef patches of the species Acropora formosa were transplanted into plots, and reef structure and associated fish assemblages were examined before and after the ble...

  4. Coral reefs: Turning back time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lough, Janice M.

    2016-03-01

    An in situ experiment finds that reducing the acidity of the seawater surrounding a natural coral reef significantly increases reef calcification, suggesting that ocean acidification may already be slowing coral growth. See Letter p.362

  5. Complementarity of rotating video and underwater visual census for assessing species richness, frequency and density of reef fish on coral reef slopes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Delphine Mallet

    Full Text Available Estimating diversity and abundance of fish species is fundamental for understanding community structure and dynamics of coral reefs. When designing a sampling protocol, one crucial step is the choice of the most suitable sampling technique which is a compromise between the questions addressed, the available means and the precision required. The objective of this study is to compare the ability to sample reef fish communities at the same locations using two techniques based on the same stationary point count method: one using Underwater Visual Census (UVC and the other rotating video (STAVIRO. UVC and STAVIRO observations were carried out on the exact same 26 points on the reef slope of an intermediate reef and the associated inner barrier reefs. STAVIRO systems were always deployed 30 min to 1 hour after UVC and set exactly at the same place. Our study shows that; (i fish community observations by UVC and STAVIRO differed significantly; (ii species richness and density of large species were not significantly different between techniques; (iii species richness and density of small species were higher for UVC; (iv density of fished species was higher for STAVIRO and (v only UVC detected significant differences in fish assemblage structure across reef type at the spatial scale studied. We recommend that the two techniques should be used in a complementary way to survey a large area within a short period of time. UVC may census reef fish within complex habitats or in very shallow areas such as reef flat whereas STAVIRO would enable carrying out a large number of stations focused on large and diver-averse species, particularly in the areas not covered by UVC due to time and depth constraints. This methodology would considerably increase the spatial coverage and replication level of fish monitoring surveys.

  6. Understanding the Spatio-Temporal Response of Coral Reef Fish Communities to Natural Disturbances: Insights from Beta-Diversity Decomposition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamy, Thomas; Legendre, Pierre; Chancerelle, Yannick; Siu, Gilles; Claudet, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how communities respond to natural disturbances is fundamental to assess the mechanisms of ecosystem resistance and resilience. However, ecosystem responses to natural disturbances are rarely monitored both through space and time, while the factors promoting ecosystem stability act at various temporal and spatial scales. Hence, assessing both the spatial and temporal variations in species composition is important to comprehensively explore the effects of natural disturbances. Here, we suggest a framework to better scrutinize the mechanisms underlying community responses to disturbances through both time and space. Our analytical approach is based on beta diversity decomposition into two components, replacement and biomass difference. We illustrate this approach using a 9-year monitoring of coral reef fish communities off Moorea Island (French Polynesia), which encompassed two severe natural disturbances: a crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak and a hurricane. These disturbances triggered a fast logistic decline in coral cover, which suffered a 90% decrease on all reefs. However, we found that the coral reef fish composition remained largely stable through time and space whereas compensatory changes in biomass among species were responsible for most of the temporal fluctuations, as outlined by the overall high contribution of the replacement component to total beta diversity. This suggests that, despite the severity of the two disturbances, fish communities exhibited high resistance and the ability to reorganize their compositions to maintain the same level of total community biomass as before the disturbances. We further investigated the spatial congruence of this pattern and showed that temporal dynamics involved different species across sites; yet, herbivores controlling the proliferation of algae that compete with coral communities were consistently favored. These results suggest that compensatory changes in biomass among species and spatial

  7. Predator crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreak, mass mortality of corals, and cascading effects on reef fish and benthic communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kayal, Mohsen; Vercelloni, Julie; Lison de Loma, Thierry; Bosserelle, Pauline; Chancerelle, Yannick; Geoffroy, Sylvie; Stievenart, Céline; Michonneau, François; Penin, Lucie; Planes, Serge; Adjeroud, Mehdi

    2012-01-01

    Outbreaks of the coral-killing seastar Acanthaster planci are intense disturbances that can decimate coral reefs. These events consist of the emergence of large swarms of the predatory seastar that feed on reef-building corals, often leading to widespread devastation of coral populations. While cyclic occurrences of such outbreaks are reported from many tropical reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific, their causes are hotly debated, and the spatio-temporal dynamics of the outbreaks and impacts to reef communities remain unclear. Based on observations of a recent event around the island of Moorea, French Polynesia, we show that Acanthaster outbreaks are methodic, slow-paced, and diffusive biological disturbances. Acanthaster outbreaks on insular reef systems like Moorea's appear to originate from restricted areas confined to the ocean-exposed base of reefs. Elevated Acanthaster densities then progressively spread to adjacent and shallower locations by migrations of seastars in aggregative waves that eventually affect the entire reef system. The directional migration across reefs appears to be a search for prey as reef portions affected by dense seastar aggregations are rapidly depleted of living corals and subsequently left behind. Coral decline on impacted reefs occurs by the sequential consumption of species in the order of Acanthaster feeding preferences. Acanthaster outbreaks thus result in predictable alteration of the coral community structure. The outbreak we report here is among the most intense and devastating ever reported. Using a hierarchical, multi-scale approach, we also show how sessile benthic communities and resident coral-feeding fish assemblages were subsequently affected by the decline of corals. By elucidating the processes involved in an Acanthaster outbreak, our study contributes to comprehending this widespread disturbance and should thus benefit targeted management actions for coral reef ecosystems.

  8. Limited contemporary gene flow and high self-replenishment drives peripheral isolation in an endemic coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Meer, Martin H; Horne, John B; Gardner, Michael G; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A; Pratchett, Morgan; van Herwerden, Lynne

    2013-06-01

    Extensive ongoing degradation of coral reef habitats worldwide has lead to declines in abundance of coral reef fishes and local extinction of some species. Those most vulnerable are ecological specialists and endemic species. Determining connectivity between locations is vital to understanding recovery and long-term persistence of these species following local extinction. This study explored population connectivity in the ecologically-specialized endemic three-striped butterflyfish (Chaetodon tricinctus) using mt and msatDNA (nuclear microsatellites) to distinguish evolutionary versus contemporary gene flow, estimate self-replenishment and measure genetic diversity among locations at the remote Australian offshore coral reefs of Middleton Reef (MR), Elizabeth Reef (ER), Lord Howe Island (LHI), and Norfolk Island (NI). Mt and msatDNA suggested genetic differentiation of the most peripheral location (NI) from the remaining three locations (MR, ER, LHI). Despite high levels of mtDNA gene flow, there is limited msatDNA gene flow with evidence of high levels of self-replenishment (≥76%) at all four locations. Taken together, this suggests prolonged population recovery times following population declines. The peripheral population (NI) is most vulnerable to local extinction due to its relative isolation, extreme levels of self-replenishment (95%), and low contemporary abundance.

  9. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, Helen T.

    Coral reefs are geological structures of significant dimensions, constructed over millions of years by calcifying organisms. The present day reef-builders are hard corals belonging to the order Scleractinia, phylum Cnidaria. The greatest concentrations of coral reefs are in the tropics, with highest levels of biodiversity situated in reefs of the Indo-West Pacific region. These ecosystems have provided coastal protection and livelihood to human populations over the millennia. Human activities have caused destruction of these habitats, the intensity of which has increased alarmingly since the latter decades of the twentieth century. The severity of this impact is directly related to exponential growth rates of human populations especially in the coastal areas of the developing world. However, a more recently recognized phenomenon concerns disturbances brought about by the changing climate, manifested mainly as rising sea surface temperatures, and increasing acidification of ocean waters due to greater drawdown of higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Management efforts have so far not kept pace with the rates of degradation, so that the spatial extent of damaged reefs and the incidences of localized extinction of reef species are increasing year after year. The major management efforts to date consist of establishing marine protected areas and promoting the active restoration of coral habitats.

  10. Upper and lower mesophotic coral reef fish communities evaluated by underwater visual censuses in two Caribbean locations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinheiro, H. T.; Goodbody-Gringley, G.; Jessup, M. E.; Shepherd, B.; Chequer, A. D.; Rocha, L. A.

    2016-03-01

    Despite more than 60 yr of coral reef research using scuba diving, mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) between 30 and 150 m depth remain largely unknown. This study represents the first underwater visual census of reef fish communities in the Greater Caribbean on MCEs at depths up to 80 m in Bermuda and 130 m in Curaçao. Sampling was performed using mixed-gas closed-circuit rebreathers. Quantitative data on reef fish communities were obtained for four habitats: coral reefs (45-80 m), rhodolith beds (45-80 m), ledges (85-130 m) and walls (85-130 m). A total of 38 species were recorded in Bermuda and 66 in Curaçao. Mesophotic reef fish communities varied significantly between the two localities. MCEs in Bermuda had lower richness and abundance, but higher biomass than those in Curaçao. Richness, abundance and biomass increased with depth in Bermuda, but decreased in Curaçao. A high turnover of species was found among depth strata and between Bermuda and other Caribbean upper MCEs (45-80 m), indicating that depth was an important driver of community structure at all localities. However, local and evolutionary factors (habitat and endemism) are likely the main factors shaping communities in isolated locations such as Bermuda. High fishing pressure is evident in both localities, as total biomass of apex predators was generally low, and thus may be driving a "refugia" scenario in Bermuda, as the abundance and biomass of macro-carnivores increased with depth and distance from the coast.

  11. 75 FR 39917 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-13

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of the South Atlantic Region. The applicant has... Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF, http://www.coralreefresearchfoundation.org/ ). Samples would be...

  12. 76 FR 30110 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-24

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... implementing the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of the South... Cancer Institute ( http://www.cancer.gov/ ) and the Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF, http://www...

  13. 77 FR 32572 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-06-01

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... South Carolina Aquarium to collect, with certain conditions, various species of reef fish, crabs, and...

  14. Destruction of corals and other reef animals by coral spawn slicks on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simpson, C. J.; Cary, J. L.; Masini, R. J.

    1993-11-01

    In March 1989, most of the corals near Coral Bay, off the north-western coastline of Australia, spawned several nights earlier than usual. Flood, rather than ebb, tides at the time of spawning combined with light north-west winds and low swell conditions to restrict the dispersal of coral propagules and, as a result, large amounts of coral spawn were trapped in the bay, forming extensive slicks. Fish and other animals began to die almost immediately, and over the next few days, over 1 million fish, representing at least 80 species, were washed ashore. A survey of the benthic communities revealed extensive mortality of corals and other reef animals over an area of about 3 km2. Live coral cover in this area decreased from 42.9% to 9.4% and several large coral colonies up to 10 m in diameter were killed. The observed mortality was presumably the result of hypoxia (oxygen depletion) created initially by the respiratory demand of the coral spawn and maintained by the biological oxygen demand of the decomposing spawn slicks and dead animals. Anecdotal reports of corals and other reef animals dying in the vicinity of coral spawn slicks on other reefs in Western Australia suggest that this phenomenon may be a relatively common event on shallow coral reefs where coral mass spawning occurs. These records and observations document, for the first time, a new source of natural disturbance that has a significant influence on the community structure of some coral reefs.

  15. Climate change impacts on freshwater fish, coral reefs, and related ecosystem services in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    We analyzed the potential physical and economic impacts of climate change on freshwater fisheries and coral reefs in the United States, examining a reference scenario and two policy scenarios that limit global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We modeled shifts in suitable habitat ...

  16. Trophic designation and live coral cover predict changes in reef-fish community structure along a shallow to mesophotic gradient in Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kane, Corinne N.; Tissot, Brian N.

    2017-09-01

    Reef-fish community structure and habitat associations are well documented for shallow coral reefs (reefs (mesophotic reefs; >30 m). We documented the community structure of fishes and seafloor habitat composition through visual observations at depth intervals from 3 to 50 m in West Hawaii. Community structure changed gradually with depth, with more than 78% of fish species observed at mesophotic depths also found in shallow reef habitats. Depth explained 17% of the variation in reef-fish community structure; live coral cover explained 10% and prevalence of sand accounted for 7% of the fitted variation indicating that depth-related factors and coral habitat play a predominant role in structuring these communities. Differences in community structure also appear to be linked closely with feeding behavior. Trophic designation accounted for 31% of the fitted variation, with changes in herbivore abundance accounting for 10% of the variation. These findings suggest that changes in reef-fish community composition from shallow to mesophotic environments are largely influenced by trophic position, coral habitat and indirect effects of depth itself.

  17. ReefLink Database: A decision support tool for Linking Coral Reefs and Society Through Systems Thinking

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs provide the ecological foundation for productive and diverse fish and invertebrate communities that support multibillion dollar reef fishing and tourism industries. Yet reefs are threatened by growing coastal development, climate change, and over-exploitation. A key i...

  18. Acoustic Tracking of Fish Movements in Coral Reef Ecosystems in St John (USVI), 2006-2010

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Acoustic Tracking of Reef Fishes to Elucidate Habitat Utilization Patterns and Residence Times Inside and Outside Marine Protected Areas Around the Island of St....

  19. Acoustic Tracking of Fish Movements in Coral Reef Ecosystems in St John (USVI), 2006-2010

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Acoustic Tracking of Reef Fishes to Elucidate Habitat Utilization Patterns and Residence Times Inside and Outside Marine Protected Areas Around the Island of St....

  20. Fish Community Characterization on Shallow (less than 30m) Hardbottom Shelf Habitats in St. Croix, USVI. A preliminary field survey to assess operational and logistical approaches to implement the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) in the USVI.

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Reef fish populations are a conspicuous and essential component of USVI coral reef ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, striking population and community level...

  1. Fish Community Characterization on Shallow (<30m) Hardbottom Shelf Habitats in St. Croix, USVI. A preliminary field survey to assess operational and logistical approaches to implement the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) in the USVI. (NODC Accession 0125237)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Reef fish populations are a conspicuous and essential component of USVI coral reef ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, striking population and community level...

  2. Seasonal and ontogenetic patterns of habitat use in coral reef fish juveniles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mellin, C.; Kulbicki, M.; Ponton, D.

    2007-12-01

    We investigated the diversity of patterns of habitat use by juveniles of coral reef fishes according to seasons and at two spatial scales (10-100 m and 1-10 km). We conducted underwater visual censuses in New Caledonia's Lagoon between 1986 and 2001. Co-inertia analyses highlighted the importance of mid-shelf habitats at large spatial scale (1-10 km) and of sandy and vegetated habitats at small spatial scale (10-100 m) for most juveniles. Among all juvenile species, 53% used different habitats across seasons (e.g. Lutjanus fulviflamma and Siganus argenteus) and 39% used different habitats as they grow (e.g. Lethrinus atkinsoni and Scarus ghobban). During their ontogeny, at large and small scales, respectively, 21% and 33% of the species studied showed an increase in the number of habitats used (e.g. L. fulviflamma, L. atkinsoni), 10% and 3% showed a decrease in the number of habitats used (e.g. Amphiprion melanopus, Siganus fuscescens), 23% and 3% showed a drastic change of habitat used (e.g. S. ghobban, Scarus sp.) whereas 46% and 61% showed no change of habitat used (e.g. Lethrinus genivittatus, Ctenochaetus striatus). Changes in habitat use at both small and large spatial scales occurred during the ontogeny of several species (e.g. S. ghobban, Scarus sp.). Results pointed out the different spatial and temporal scales of juvenile habitat use to account for in conservation decisions regarding both assemblage and species-specific levels.

  3. Repeated exposure to noise increases tolerance in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nedelec, Sophie L; Mills, Suzanne C; Lecchini, David; Nedelec, Brendan; Simpson, Stephen D; Radford, Andrew N

    2016-09-01

    Some anthropogenic noise is now considered pollution, with evidence building that noise from human activities such as transportation, construction and exploration can impact behaviour and physiology in a broad range of taxa. However, relatively little research has considered the effects of repeated or chronic noise; extended exposures may result in habituation or sensitisation, and thus changes in response. We conducted a field-based experiment at Moorea Island to investigate how repeated exposure to playback of motorboat noise affected a coral reef fish (Dascyllus trimaculatus). We found that juvenile D. trimaculatus increased hiding behaviour during motorboat noise after two days of repeated exposure, but no longer did so after one and two weeks of exposure. We also found that naïve individuals responded to playback of motorboat noise with elevated ventilation rates, but that this response was diminished after one and two weeks of repeated exposure. We found no strong evidence that baseline blood cortisol levels, growth or body condition were affected by three weeks of repeated motorboat-noise playback. Our study reveals the importance of considering how tolerance levels may change over time, rather than simply extrapolating from results of short-term studies, if we are to make decisions about regulation and mitigation.

  4. Coral Reef Biological Criteria

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs worldwide are experiencing decline from a variety of stressors. Some important stressors are land-based sources of pollution and human activities in the coastal zone. However, few tools are available to offset the impact of these stressors. The Clean Water Act (CWA...

  5. Digital reef rugosity estimates coral reef habitat complexity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dustan, Phillip; Doherty, Orla; Pardede, Shinta

    2013-01-01

    Ecological habitats with greater structural complexity contain more species due to increased niche diversity. This is especially apparent on coral reefs where individual coral colonies aggregate to give a reef its morphology, species zonation, and three dimensionality. Structural complexity is classically measured with a reef rugosity index, which is the ratio of a straight line transect to the distance a flexible chain of equal length travels when draped over the reef substrate; yet, other techniques from visual categories to remote sensing have been used to characterize structural complexity at scales from microhabitats to reefscapes. Reef-scale methods either lack quantitative precision or are too time consuming to be routinely practical, while remotely sensed indices are mismatched to the finer scale morphology of coral colonies and reef habitats. In this communication a new digital technique, Digital Reef Rugosity (DRR) is described which utilizes a self-contained water level gauge enabling a diver to quickly and accurately characterize rugosity with non-invasive millimeter scale measurements of coral reef surface height at decimeter intervals along meter scale transects. The precise measurements require very little post-processing and are easily imported into a spreadsheet for statistical analyses and modeling. To assess its applicability we investigated the relationship between DRR and fish community structure at four coral reef sites on Menjangan Island off the northwest corner of Bali, Indonesia and one on mainland Bali to the west of Menjangan Island; our findings show a positive relationship between DRR and fish diversity. Since structural complexity drives key ecological processes on coral reefs, we consider that DRR may become a useful quantitative community-level descriptor to characterize reef complexity.

  6. Depth distribution and abundance of a coral-associated reef fish: roles of recruitment and post-recruitment processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smallhorn-West, Patrick F.; Bridge, Tom C. L.; Munday, Philip L.; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2017-03-01

    The abundance of many reef fish species varies with depth, but the demographic processes influencing this pattern remain unclear. Furthermore, while the distribution of highly specialized reef fish often closely matches that of their habitat, it is unclear whether changes in distribution patterns over depth are the result of changes in habitat availability or independent depth-related changes in population parameters such as recruitment and mortality. Here, we show that depth-related patterns in the distribution of the coral-associated goby, Paragobiodon xanthosoma, are strongly related to changes in recruitment and performance (growth and survival). Depth-stratified surveys showed that while the coral host, Seriatopora hystrix, extended into deeper water (>20 m), habitat use by P. xanthosoma declined with depth and both adult and juvenile P. xanthosoma were absent below 20 m. Standardization of S. hystrix abundance at three depths (5, 15 and 30 m) demonstrated that recruitment of P. xanthosoma was not determined by the availability of its habitat. Reciprocal transplantation of P. xanthosoma to S. hystrix colonies among three depths (5, 15 and 30 m) then established that individual performance (survival and growth) was lowest in deeper water; mortality was three times higher and growth greatly reduced in individuals transplanted to 30 m. Individuals collected from 15 m also exhibited growth rates 50% lower than fish from shallow depths. These results indicate that the depth distribution of this species is limited not by the availability of its coral habitat, but by demographic costs associated with living in deeper water.

  7. A Global Estimate of the Number of Coral Reef Fishers.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Louise S L Teh

    Full Text Available Overfishing threatens coral reefs worldwide, yet there is no reliable estimate on the number of reef fishers globally. We address this data gap by quantifying the number of reef fishers on a global scale, using two approaches - the first estimates reef fishers as a proportion of the total number of marine fishers in a country, based on the ratio of reef-related to total marine fish landed values. The second estimates reef fishers as a function of coral reef area, rural coastal population, and fishing pressure. In total, we find that there are 6 million reef fishers in 99 reef countries and territories worldwide, of which at least 25% are reef gleaners. Our estimates are an improvement over most existing fisher population statistics, which tend to omit accounting for gleaners and reef fishers. Our results suggest that slightly over a quarter of the world's small-scale fishers fish on coral reefs, and half of all coral reef fishers are in Southeast Asia. Coral reefs evidently support the socio-economic well-being of numerous coastal communities. By quantifying the number of people who are employed as reef fishers, we provide decision-makers with an important input into planning for sustainable coral reef fisheries at the appropriate scale.

  8. 77 FR 12243 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-29

    ... Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Permit Form AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration... vessel to fish for Western Pacific coral reef ecosystem management unit species in the designated low-use... regulations; or (3) fishing for, taking, or retaining any Potentially Harvested Coral Reef Taxa in the coral...

  9. Behavioural thermoregulation in a temperature-sensitive coral reef fish, the five-lined cardinalfish ( Cheilodipterus quinquelineatus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nay, Tiffany J.; Johansen, Jacob L.; Habary, Adam; Steffensen, John F.; Rummer, Jodie L.

    2015-12-01

    As global temperatures increase, fish populations at low latitudes are thought to be at risk as they are adapted to narrow temperature ranges and live at temperatures close to their thermal tolerance limits. Behavioural movements, based on a preference for a specific temperature ( T pref), may provide a strategy to cope with changing conditions. A temperature-sensitive coral reef cardinalfish ( Cheilodipterus quinquelineatus) was exposed to 28 °C (average at collection site) or 32 °C (predicted end-of-century) for 6 weeks. T pref was determined using a shuttlebox system, which allowed fish to behaviourally manipulate their thermal environment. Regardless of treatment temperature, fish preferred 29.5 ± 0.25 °C, approximating summer average temperatures in the wild. However, 32 °C fish moved more frequently to correct their thermal environment than 28 °C fish, and daytime movements were more frequent than night-time movements. Understanding temperature-mediated movements is imperative for predicting how ocean warming will influence coral reef species and distribution patterns.

  10. Evolution of microhabitat association and morphology in a diverse group of cryptobenthic coral reef fishes (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Eviota).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tornabene, Luke; Ahmadia, Gabby N; Berumen, Michael L; Smith, Dave J; Jompa, Jamaluddin; Pezold, Frank

    2013-01-01

    Gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae) are an extremely diverse and widely distributed group and are the second most species rich family of vertebrates. Ecological drivers are key to the evolutionary success of the Gobiidae. However, ecological and phylogenetic data are lacking for many diverse genera of gobies. Our study investigated the evolution of microhabitat association across the phylogeny of 18 species of dwarfgobies (genus Eviota), an abundant and diverse group of coral reef fishes. In addition, we also explore the evolution of pectoral fin-ray branching and sensory head pores to determine the relationship between morphological evolution and microhabitat shifts. Our results demonstrate that Eviota species switched multiple times from a facultative hard-coral association to inhabiting rubble or mixed sand/rubble habitat. We found no obvious relationship between microhabitat shifts and changes in pectoral fin-ray branching or reduction in sensory pores, with the latter character being highly homoplasious throughout the genus. The relative flexibility in coral-association in Eviota combined with the ability to move into non-coral habitats suggests a genetic capacity for ecological release in contrast to the strict obligate coral-dwelling relationship commonly observed in closely related coral gobies, thus promoting co-existence through fine scale niche partitioning. The variation in microhabitat association may facilitate opportunistic ecological speciation, and species persistence in the face of environmental change. This increased speciation opportunity, in concert with a high resilience to extinction, may explain the exceptionally high diversity seen in Eviota compared to related genera in the family.

  11. Seascape and life-history traits do not predict self-recruitment in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herrera, Marcela; Nanninga, Gerrit B; Planes, Serge; Jones, Geoffrey P; Thorrold, Simon R; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Almany, Glenn R; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-08-01

    The persistence and resilience of many coral reef species are dependent on rates of connectivity among sub-populations. However, despite increasing research efforts, the spatial scale of larval dispersal remains unpredictable for most marine metapopulations. Here, we assess patterns of larval dispersal in the angelfish Centropyge bicolor in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, using parentage and sibling reconstruction analyses based on 23 microsatellite DNA loci. We found that, contrary to previous findings in this system, self-recruitment (SR) was virtually absent at both the reef (0.4-0.5% at 0.15 km(2)) and the lagoon scale (0.6-0.8% at approx. 700 km(2)). While approximately 25% of the collected juveniles were identified as potential siblings, the majority of sibling pairs were sampled from separate reefs. Integrating our findings with earlier research from the same system suggests that geographical setting and life-history traits alone are not suitable predictors of SR and that high levels of localized recruitment are not universal in coral reef fishes.

  12. Seascape and life-history traits do not predict self-recruitment in a coral reef fish

    KAUST Repository

    Herrera, Marcela

    2016-08-10

    The persistence and resilience of many coral reef species are dependent on rates of connectivity among sub-populations. However, despite increasing research efforts, the spatial scale of larval dispersal remains unpredictable for most marine metapopulations. Here, we assess patterns of larval dispersal in the angelfish Centropyge bicolor in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, using parentage and sibling reconstruction analyses based on 23 microsatellite DNA loci. We found that, contrary to previous findings in this system, self-recruitment (SR) was virtually absent at both the reef (0.4-0.5% at 0.15 km2) and the lagoon scale (0.6-0.8% at approx. 700 km2). While approximately 25%of the collected juveniles were identified as potential siblings, the majority of sibling pairs were sampled from separate reefs. Integrating our findings with earlier research from the same system suggests that geographical setting and life-history traits alone are not suitable predictors of SR and that high levels of localized recruitment are not universal in coral reef fishes. © 2016 The Authors.

  13. Altered brain ion gradients following compensation for elevated CO2 are linked to behavioural alterations in a coral reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heuer, R. M.; Welch, M. J.; Rummer, J. L.; Munday, P. L.; Grosell, M.

    2016-01-01

    Neurosensory and behavioural disruptions are some of the most consistently reported responses upon exposure to ocean acidification-relevant CO2 levels, especially in coral reef fishes. The underlying cause of these disruptions is thought to be altered current across the GABAA receptor in neuronal cells due to changes in ion gradients (HCO3− and/or Cl−) that occur in the body following compensation for elevated ambient CO2. Despite these widely-documented behavioural disruptions, the present study is the first to pair a behavioural assay with measurements of relevant intracellular and extracellular acid-base parameters in a coral reef fish exposed to elevated CO2. Spiny damselfish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) exposed to 1900 μatm CO2 for 4 days exhibited significantly increased intracellular and extracellular HCO3− concentrations and elevated brain pHi compared to control fish, providing evidence of CO2 compensation. As expected, high CO2 exposed damselfish spent significantly more time in a chemical alarm cue (CAC) than control fish, supporting a potential link between behavioural disruption and CO2 compensation. Using HCO3− measurements from the damselfish, the reversal potential for GABAA (EGABA) was calculated, illustrating that biophysical properties of the brain during CO2 compensation could change GABAA receptor function and account for the behavioural disturbances noted during exposure to elevated CO2. PMID:27620837

  14. Altered brain ion gradients following compensation for elevated CO2 are linked to behavioural alterations in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heuer, R M; Welch, M J; Rummer, J L; Munday, P L; Grosell, M

    2016-09-13

    Neurosensory and behavioural disruptions are some of the most consistently reported responses upon exposure to ocean acidification-relevant CO2 levels, especially in coral reef fishes. The underlying cause of these disruptions is thought to be altered current across the GABAA receptor in neuronal cells due to changes in ion gradients (HCO3(-) and/or Cl(-)) that occur in the body following compensation for elevated ambient CO2. Despite these widely-documented behavioural disruptions, the present study is the first to pair a behavioural assay with measurements of relevant intracellular and extracellular acid-base parameters in a coral reef fish exposed to elevated CO2. Spiny damselfish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) exposed to 1900 μatm CO2 for 4 days exhibited significantly increased intracellular and extracellular HCO3(-) concentrations and elevated brain pHi compared to control fish, providing evidence of CO2 compensation. As expected, high CO2 exposed damselfish spent significantly more time in a chemical alarm cue (CAC) than control fish, supporting a potential link between behavioural disruption and CO2 compensation. Using HCO3(-) measurements from the damselfish, the reversal potential for GABAA (EGABA) was calculated, illustrating that biophysical properties of the brain during CO2 compensation could change GABAA receptor function and account for the behavioural disturbances noted during exposure to elevated CO2.

  15. New protection initiatives announced for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    Off the coasts of some of the South Pacific's most idyllic-sounding atolls, Austin Bowden-Kerby has seen first-hand the heavy damage to coral reefs from dynamite and cyanide fishing. For instance, while snorkeling near Chuuk, an island in Micronesia, he has observed craters and rubble beds of coral, which locals have told him date to World War II ordnance.A marine biologist and project scientist for the Coral Gardens Initiative of the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, Bowden-Kerby has also identified what he says are some public health effects related to destroyed coral reefs and their dying fisheries. These problems include protein and vitamin A deficiency and blindness, all of which may—in some instances—be linked to poor nutrition resulting from lower reef fish consumption by islanders, according to Bowden-Kerby.

  16. 76 FR 7579 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-10

    ... Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and... U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a public business meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef...-mail: Andrew_Gude@fws.gov ); or Liza Johnson, U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Department of the Interior...

  17. 75 FR 47624 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-06

    ... Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and... U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task...: Andrew_Gude@fws.gov ); or Liza Johnson, U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Department of the Interior Liaison, U...

  18. The Global Coral Reef Crisis: Trends and Solutions (Coral Reefs: Values, Threats, and the Marine Aquarium Trade)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shuman, Craig S. (Reef Check, UCLA)

    2003-02-05

    Second only to tropical rainforests, coral reefs support one of the world's most diverse natural habitats. Over 350 million individuals depend on coral reef resources for food and income. Unfortunately, the Earth is in the midst of a coral reef crisis. Anthropogenic impacts including overfishing, destructive fishing practices, sedimentation and pollution, as well as global climate change, have served to disrupt the natural processes that maintain the health of these ecosystems. Until recently, however, the global extent of the coral reef crisis was unknown. Reef Check was developed in 1996 as a volunteer, community-based monitoring protocol designed to measure the health of coral reefs on a global scale. With goals of education, monitoring, and management, Reef Check has activities in over 60 countries and territories. They have not only provided scientific evidence of the global extent of the coral reef crisis, but have provided the first community based steps to alleviate this urgent situation.

  19. Self-recruitment in a coral reef fish population in a marine reserve

    KAUST Repository

    Herrera Sarrias, Marcela

    2014-12-01

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) have proliferated in the past decades to protect biodiversity and sustain fisheries. However, most of the MPA networks have been designed without taking into account a critical factor: the larval dispersal patterns of populations within and outside the reserves. The scale and predictability of larval dispersal, however, remain unknown due to the difficulty of measuring dispersal when larvae are minute (~ cm) compared to the potential scale of dispersal (~ km). Nevertheless, genetic approaches can now be used to make estimates of larval dispersal. The following thesis describes self-recruitment and connectivity patterns of a coral reef fish species (Centropyge bicolor) in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea. To do this, microsatellite markers were developed to evaluate fine-scale genetics and recruit assignment via genetic parentage analysis. In this method, offspring are assigned to potential parents, so that larval dispersal distances can then be inferred for each individual larvae. From a total of 255 adults and 426 juveniles collected only 2 parentoffspring pairs were assigned, representing less than 1% self-recruitment. Previous data from the same study system showed that both Chaetodon vagagundus and Amphiprion percula have consistent high self-recuitment rates (~ 60%), despite having contrasting life history traits. Since C. bicolor and C. vagabundus have similar characteristics (e.g. reproductive mode, pelagic larval duration), comparable results were expected. On the contrary, the results of this study showed that dispersal patterns cannot be generalized across species. Hence the importance of studying different species and seascapes to better understand the patterns of larval dispersal. This, in turn, will be essential to improve the design and implementation of MPAs as conservation and management tools.

  20. Comparative phylogeography in a genus of coral reef fishes: biogeographic and genetic concordance in the Caribbean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Michael S; Hellberg, Michael E

    2006-03-01

    Geographic barriers that limit the movement of individuals between populations may create or maintain phylogenetically discrete lineages. Such barriers are often inferred from geographic surveys of a single mitochondrial marker to identify phylogenetic splits. Mitochondrial DNA, however, has an effective population size one-fourth that of nuclear DNA, which can facilitate the rapid evolution of monophyletic mtDNA lineages in the absence of geographic barriers. The identification of geographic barriers will thus be more robust if barriers are proposed a priori, and tested with multiple independent genetic markers in multiple species. Here, we tested two proposed marine biogeographic breaks located at the Mona Passage in the Caribbean Sea and at the southern end of Exuma Sound in the Bahamas. We sequenced mitochondrial cytochrome b (400 bp) and nuclear rag1 (573 bp) for nine species and colour forms (183 individuals total) within the teleost genus Elacatinus (Gobiidae) that span the proposed breaks. Our results showed that Mona Passage separated mtcyb and rag1 lineages, with no genetic exchange between populations separated by just 23 km. However, the Central Bahamas barrier was only weakly supported by our data. Importantly, neither barrier coincided with deep genetic splits. This suggests that these two barriers did not initially isolate regional populations, but instead disrupt ongoing gene flow between regions. Our inferred relationships further suggested a division of the Caribbean region into northwestern and southeastern regions, a pattern reflected by some freshwater and terrestrial vertebrates. Our results, coupled with genetic and demographic data from other reef fishes and corals, provide robust support for the Mona Passage as a long-term biogeographic barrier for Caribbean animals.

  1. 76 FR 41764 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-15

    ... Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit AGENCY: National... artificial reefs without additional authorization. A report on the project findings is due at the end of the...

  2. Larval dispersal and movement patterns of coral reef fishes, and implications for marine reserve network design.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Alison L; Maypa, Aileen P; Almany, Glenn R; Rhodes, Kevin L; Weeks, Rebecca; Abesamis, Rene A; Gleason, Mary G; Mumby, Peter J; White, Alan T

    2015-11-01

    Well-designed and effectively managed networks of marine reserves can be effective tools for both fisheries management and biodiversity conservation. Connectivity, the demographic linking of local populations through the dispersal of individuals as larvae, juveniles or adults, is a key ecological factor to consider in marine reserve design, since it has important implications for the persistence of metapopulations and their recovery from disturbance. For marine reserves to protect biodiversity and enhance populations of species in fished areas, they must be able to sustain focal species (particularly fishery species) within their boundaries, and be spaced such that they can function as mutually replenishing networks whilst providing recruitment subsidies to fished areas. Thus the configuration (size, spacing and location) of individual reserves within a network should be informed by larval dispersal and movement patterns of the species for which protection is required. In the past, empirical data regarding larval dispersal and movement patterns of adults and juveniles of many tropical marine species have been unavailable or inaccessible to practitioners responsible for marine reserve design. Recent empirical studies using new technologies have also provided fresh insights into movement patterns of many species and redefined our understanding of connectivity among populations through larval dispersal. Our review of movement patterns of 34 families (210 species) of coral reef fishes demonstrates that movement patterns (home ranges, ontogenetic shifts and spawning migrations) vary among and within species, and are influenced by a range of factors (e.g. size, sex, behaviour, density, habitat characteristics, season, tide and time of day). Some species move marine reserves in tropical marine ecosystems to maximise benefits for conservation and fisheries management for a range of taxa. We recommend that: (i) marine reserves should be more than twice the size of the home

  3. 76 FR 66273 - Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-10-26

    ... Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the South Atlantic; Exempted Fishing Permit AGENCY... conditions, various species of reef fish and live rock in Federal waters off North Carolina. The specimens... Plan (FMP) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region and the FMP for Coral, Coral...

  4. Coral reefs in the Anthropocene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P.; Barnes, Michele L.; Bellwood, David R.; Cinner, Joshua E.; Cumming, Graeme S.; Jackson, Jeremy B. C.; Kleypas, Joanie; van de Leemput, Ingrid A.; Lough, Janice M.; Morrison, Tiffany H.; Palumbi, Stephen R.; van Nes, Egbert H.; Scheffer, Marten

    2017-06-01

    Coral reefs support immense biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services to many millions of people. Yet reefs are degrading rapidly in response to numerous anthropogenic drivers. In the coming centuries, reefs will run the gauntlet of climate change, and rising temperatures will transform them into new configurations, unlike anything observed previously by humans. Returning reefs to past configurations is no longer an option. Instead, the global challenge is to steer reefs through the Anthropocene era in a way that maintains their biological functions. Successful navigation of this transition will require radical changes in the science, management and governance of coral reefs.

  5. Greater Genetic Diversity in Spatially Restricted Coral Reef Fishes Suggests Secondary Contact among Differentiated Lineages

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Julian Caley

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available The maintenance of genetic diversity is a central goal of conservation. It is the raw material for evolutionary change and if lost, can accelerate extinction of species. According to theory, total genetic diversity should be less in species with restricted ranges and in populations on the margins of distributional ranges, making such species or populations more vulnerable to environmental perturbations. Using mtDNA and nuclear Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR data we investigated how the genetic diversity and structure of three con-generic species pairs of coral reef fishes (Pomacentridae was related to species’ range size and position of populations within these ranges. Estimates of genetic structure did not differ significantly among species, but mtDNA and nucDNA genetic diversities were up to 10 times greater in spatially restricted species compared to their widespread congeners. In two of the three species pairs, the distribution of genetic variation indicated secondary contact among differentiated lineages in the spatially restricted species. In contrast, the widespread species displayed a typical signature of population expansion suggesting recent genetic bottlenecks, possibly associated with the (re colonization of the Great Barrier Reef. These results indicate that historical processes, involving hybridization and founder effects, possibly associated with Pleistocene sea level fluctuations, have differentially influenced the widespread and spatially restricted coral reef damselfish species studied here.

  6. Human impacts on Caribbean coral reef ecosystems

    OpenAIRE

    Hardt, Marah Justine

    2007-01-01

    Fishing is one of the oldest anthropogenic disturbances in the ocean, differing from other impacts in its direct removal of biomass from the ecosystem. Despite the centuries of fishing activities, there is much we still do not understand regarding the effects of fish removal on the benthic community. I use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the affect of human disturbance, primarily the alteration of fish communities, on major functional groups of coral reefs, over extended temporal...

  7. Anguilliform fish reveal large scale contamination by mine trace elements in the coral reefs of New Caledonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonnet, Xavier; Briand, Marine J; Brischoux, François; Letourneur, Yves; Fauvel, Thomas; Bustamante, Paco

    2014-02-01

    Due to intensive mining activity, increasing urbanization and industrialization, vast amounts of contaminants are discharged into the lagoon of New Caledonia, one of the largest continuous coral reef systems and a major biodiversity hotspot. The levels of 11 trace element concentrations were examined in the muscles of predator fish in the south-western lagoon (moray eels and congers). These species are sedentary, widespread, abundant, and they are easily collected using a sea snake sampling technique. We found the highest mean and maximal concentrations of different trace elements ever found in coral fish, notably regarding trace elements typical from mining activity (e.g., mean values for Cr and Ni, respectively: 5.53 ± 6.99 μg g(-1) [max, 35.7 μg g(-1)] and 2.84 ± 3.38 μg g(-1) [max, 18.0 μg g(-1)]). Results show that important trace element contamination extends throughout the lagoon to the barrier reef, following a concentration gradient from the oldest nickel factory (Nouméa).

  8. Status of the Coral Reefs of the Samoan Archipelago

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The objectives of this study are twofold: (1) To determine the current status of coral reef fishes and their habitat throughout the Samoan Archipelago. This will be...

  9. OPTIMALISASI ZONA PEMANFAATAN WISATA TAMAN NASIONAL KARIMUNJAWA MELALUI KOMUNITAS IKAN KARANG (Optimizing The Tourism Utilization Zone Karimunjawa National Park through Coral Reef Fish Communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rohmani Sulisyati

    2016-07-01

    . Diving pemula dilakukan pada pulau-pulau dengan resiko penyelaman rendah dan sedikit famili, sementara untuk advanced dilakukan pada pulau-pulau dengan sumberdaya tinggi dan beragam famili ikan.  ABSTRACT Ecotourism was closely related to environmental conservation that could be mutually supported and valuated. Conservation related with the communities condition. The tourism utilization zone required the coral reef fish communities as a tourist attraction. The aim of the study was optimized the tourist utilization zone Karimunjawa National Park for tourism activities through coral reef fish communities. Coral reef fish data collected on a belt transect by a visual census, record families and the number of fishes are found and the approximate total length of fish. The research conducted  during November 2013 at 14 locations.  The transect was deployed at two depth variations i.e 3 and 6–8 meters to represent the shallow and the deep water. Quantitative analysis was done to measure the fish abundance and diversity index, evenness index and domination. The result showed in the shallow water found 18 coral fish families. Chaetodontidae, Labridae and Scaridae can be found at all locations. Fish abundance is moderate which a condition of fish community depressed to stable. While the deep water, there were 17 families. Caesionidae, Chaetodontidae, Labridae, and Scaridae can found in all locations. Fish abundance is moderate which a condition of fish community depressed to stable. In the shallow waters of the outer west island inhabited by a group of major fish with a little family; the center of the archipelago encountered diverse fish families and the outer islands west and east there is a dominance of fish. The islands were located in the middle of the islands suitable for snorkeling. In the deep waters were divided four groups of islands i.e. islands with fair coral cover and the few families of coral reef fish, islands which had a fair coral cover with abundant fish

  10. The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores

    KAUST Repository

    Goatley, Christopher H. R.

    2012-06-29

    Herbivory is widely accepted as a vital function on coral reefs. To date, the majority of studies examining herbivory in coral reef environments have focused on the roles of fishes and/or urchins, with relatively few studies considering the potential role of macroherbivores in reef processes. Here, we introduce evidence that highlights the potential role of marine turtles as herbivores on coral reefs. While conducting experimental habitat manipulations to assess the roles of herbivorous reef fishes we observed green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) showing responses that were remarkably similar to those of herbivorous fishes. Reducing the sediment load of the epilithic algal matrix on a coral reef resulted in a forty-fold increase in grazing by green turtles. Hawksbill turtles were also observed to browse transplanted thalli of the macroalga Sargassum swartzii in a coral reef environment. These responses not only show strong parallels to herbivorous reef fishes, but also highlight that marine turtles actively, and intentionally, remove algae from coral reefs. When considering the size and potential historical abundance of marine turtles we suggest that these potentially valuable herbivores may have been lost from many coral reefs before their true importance was understood. © 2012 Goatley et al.

  11. The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher H R Goatley

    Full Text Available Herbivory is widely accepted as a vital function on coral reefs. To date, the majority of studies examining herbivory in coral reef environments have focused on the roles of fishes and/or urchins, with relatively few studies considering the potential role of macroherbivores in reef processes. Here, we introduce evidence that highlights the potential role of marine turtles as herbivores on coral reefs. While conducting experimental habitat manipulations to assess the roles of herbivorous reef fishes we observed green turtles (Chelonia mydas and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata showing responses that were remarkably similar to those of herbivorous fishes. Reducing the sediment load of the epilithic algal matrix on a coral reef resulted in a forty-fold increase in grazing by green turtles. Hawksbill turtles were also observed to browse transplanted thalli of the macroalga Sargassum swartzii in a coral reef environment. These responses not only show strong parallels to herbivorous reef fishes, but also highlight that marine turtles actively, and intentionally, remove algae from coral reefs. When considering the size and potential historical abundance of marine turtles we suggest that these potentially valuable herbivores may have been lost from many coral reefs before their true importance was understood.

  12. 77 FR 39724 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-07-05

    ...-123D0102DM-DS61200000] U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife.... Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force... better preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The Departments of Commerce and the Interior co-chair...

  13. An annotated list of fish parasites (Isopoda, Copepoda, Monogenea, Digenea, Cestoda, Nematoda) collected from Snappers and Bream (Lutjanidae, Nemipteridae, Caesionidae) in New Caledonia confirms high parasite biodiversity on coral reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-01

    Background Coral reefs are areas of maximum biodiversity, but the parasites of coral reef fishes, and especially their species richness, are not well known. Over an 8-year period, parasites were collected from 24 species of Lutjanidae, Nemipteridae and Caesionidae off New Caledonia, South Pacific. Results Host-parasite and parasite-host lists are provided, with a total of 207 host-parasite combinations and 58 parasite species identified at the species level, with 27 new host records. Results are presented for isopods, copepods, monogeneans, digeneans, cestodes and nematodes. When results are restricted to well-sampled reef fish species (sample size > 30), the number of host-parasite combinations is 20–25 per fish species, and the number of parasites identified at the species level is 9–13 per fish species. Lutjanids include reef-associated fish and deeper sea fish from the outer slopes of the coral reef: fish from both milieus were compared. Surprisingly, parasite biodiversity was higher in deeper sea fish than in reef fish (host-parasite combinations: 12.50 vs 10.13, number of species per fish 3.75 vs 3.00); however, we identified four biases which diminish the validity of this comparison. Finally, these results and previously published results allow us to propose a generalization of parasite biodiversity for four major families of reef-associated fishes (Lutjanidae, Nemipteridae, Serranidae and Lethrinidae): well-sampled fish have a mean of 20 host-parasite combinations per fish species, and the number of parasites identified at the species level is 10 per fish species. Conclusions Since all precautions have been taken to minimize taxon numbers, it is safe to affirm than the number of fish parasites is at least ten times the number of fish species in coral reefs, for species of similar size or larger than the species in the four families studied; this is a major improvement to our estimate of biodiversity in coral reefs. Our results suggest that

  14. Intraspecific variability in the life histories of endemic coral-reef fishes between photic and mesophotic depths across the Central Pacific Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winston, M. S.; Taylor, B. M.; Franklin, E. C.

    2017-06-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) represent the lowest depth distribution inhabited by many coral reef-associated organisms. Research on fishes associated with MCEs is sparse, leading to a critical lack of knowledge of how reef fish found at mesophotic depths may vary from their shallow reef conspecifics. We investigated intraspecific variability in body condition and growth of three Hawaiian endemics collected from shallow, photic reefs (5-33 m deep) and MCEs (40-75 m) throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago and Johnston Atoll: the detritivorous goldring surgeonfish, Ctenochaetus strigosus, and the planktivorous threespot chromis, Chromis verater, and Hawaiian dascyllus, Dascyllus albisella. Estimates of body condition and size-at-age varied between shallow and mesophotic depths; however, these demographic differences were outweighed by the magnitude of variability found across the latitudinal gradient of locations sampled within the Central Pacific. Body condition and maximum body size were lowest in samples collected from shallow and mesophotic Johnston Atoll sites, with no difference occurring between depths. Samples from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands tended to have the highest body condition and reached the largest body sizes, with differences between shallow and mesophotic sites highly variable among species. The findings of this study support newly emerging research demonstrating intraspecific variability in the life history of coral-reef fish species whose distributions span shallow and mesophotic reefs. This suggests not only that the conservation and fisheries management should take into consideration differences in the life histories of reef-fish populations across spatial scales, but also that information derived from studies of shallow fishes be applied with caution to conspecific populations in mesophotic coral environments.

  15. Coral identity underpins architectural complexity on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Dulvy, Nicholas K; Côte, Isabelle M; Watkinson, Andrew R; Gill, Jennifer A

    2011-09-01

    The architectural complexity of ecosystems can greatly influence their capacity to support biodiversity and deliver ecosystem services. Understanding the components underlying this complexity can aid the development of effective strategies for ecosystem conservation. Caribbean coral reefs support and protect millions of livelihoods, but recent anthropogenic change is shifting communities toward reefs dominated by stress-resistant coral species, which are often less architecturally complex. With the regionwide decline in reef fish abundance, it is becoming increasingly important to understand changes in coral reef community structure and function. We quantify the influence of coral composition, diversity, and morpho-functional traits on the architectural complexity of reefs across 91 sites at Cozumel, Mexico. Although reef architectural complexity increases with coral cover and species richness, it is highest on sites that are low in taxonomic evenness and dominated by morpho-functionally important, reef-building coral genera, particularly Montastraea. Sites with similar coral community composition also tend to occur on reefs with very similar architectural complexity, suggesting that reef structure tends to be determined by the same key species across sites. Our findings provide support for prioritizing and protecting particular reef types, especially those dominated by key reef-building corals, in order to enhance reef complexity.

  16. Fish corallivory on a pocilloporid reef and experimental coral responses to predation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palacios, M. M.; Muñoz, C. G.; Zapata, F. A.

    2014-09-01

    This study examined the effects of the Guineafowl pufferfish ( Arothron meleagris), a major corallivore in the Eastern Pacific, on pocilloporid corals on a reef at Gorgona Island, Colombia. Pufferfish occurred at a density of 171.2 individuals ha-1 and fed at a rate of 1.8 bites min-1, which produced a standing bite density of 366.2 bites m-2. We estimate that approximately 15.6 % of the annual pocilloporid carbonate production is removed by the pufferfish population. Examination of the predation effect on individual pocilloporid colonies revealed that although nubbins exposed to corallivory had lower linear growth, they gained similar weight and became thicker than those protected from it. Additionally, colonies with simulated predation injuries (on up to 75 % of branch tips) healed successfully and maintained growth rates similar to those of uninjured colonies. Despite the high corallivore pressure exerted by pufferfish on this reef, we conclude that they have a low destructive impact on Pocillopora colonies as corals can maintain their carbonate production rate while effectively recovering from partial predation. Due to its influence on colony morphology, pufferfish predation may increase environmentally induced morphological variability in Pocillopora.

  17. Follow that fish: Uncovering the hidden blue economy in coral reef fisheries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grafeld, Shanna; Oleson, Kirsten L L; Teneva, Lida; Kittinger, John N

    2017-01-01

    Despite their importance for human well-being, nearshore fisheries are often data poor, undervalued, and underappreciated in policy and development programs. We assess the value chain for nearshore Hawaiian coral reef fisheries, mapping post-catch distribution and disposition, and quantifying associated monetary, food security, and cultural values. We estimate that the total annual value of the nearshore fishery in Hawai'i is $10.3-$16.4 million, composed of non-commercial ($7.2-$12.9 million) and commercial ($2.97 million licensed + $148,500-$445,500 unlicensed) catch. Hawaii's nearshore fisheries provide >7 million meals annually, with most (>5 million) from the non-commercial sector. Over a third (36%) of meals were planktivores, 26% piscivores, 21% primary consumers, and 18% secondary consumers. Only 62% of licensed commercial catch is accounted for in purchase reports, leaving 38% of landings unreported in sales. Value chains are complex, with major buyers for the commercial fishery including grocery stores (66%), retailers (19%), wholesalers (14%), and restaurants (social cohesion. These small-scale coral reef fisheries provide large-scale benefits to the economy, food security, and cultural practices of Hawai'i, underscoring the need for sustainable management. This research highlights the value of information on the value chain for small-scale production systems, making the hidden economy of these fisheries visible and illuminating a range of conservation interventions applicable to Hawai'i and beyond.

  18. Predator biomass, prey density, and species composition effects on group size in recruit coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeMartini, Edward E.; Anderson, Todd W.; Friedlander, Alan M.; Beets, James P.

    2011-01-01

    Group incidence and size are described for recruit parrotfishes, wrasses, and damselfishes on Hawaiian reefs over 3 years (2006–2008) at sites spanning the archipelago (20–28°N, 155–177°W). Coral-poor and coral-rich areas were surveyed at sites with both low (Hawaii Island) and high (Midway Atoll) predator densities, facilitating examination of relations among predator and recruit densities, habitat, and group metrics. Predator and recruit densities varied spatially and temporally, with a sixfold range in total recruit densities among years. Group (≥2 recruits) metrics varied with time and tracked predator and recruit densities and the proportion of schooling species. Groups often included heterospecifics whose proportion increased with group size. A non-saturating relationship between group size and recruit density suggests that the anti-predator benefits of aggregation exceeded competitive costs. Grouping behavior may have overarching importance for recruit survival—even at high recruit densities—and merits further study on Hawaiian reefs and elsewhere.

  19. Bioindication in coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yap, H T

    1986-01-01

    The concept of bioindication in the sense of the use of organisms for detecting environmental stress has been employed in coral reef conservation and management for the past several years. Important tools are coral growth rates and various community parameters, notably hard coral cover. The present need is the optimal coordination of international efforts for the earliest possible institution of an effective monitoring system.

  20. Monitoring of Coral Reef Ecosystems on Maui, Hawaii during 1989-1998 (NODC Accession 9900242)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In an effort to detect spatial and temporal changes in the structure of the coral reef community, coral coverage and reef fish density and diversity were documented...

  1. Monitoring of Coral Reef Ecosystems on Maui, Hawaii during 1989-1998 (NODC Accession 9900242)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In an effort to detect spatial and temporal changes in the structure of the coral reef community, coral coverage and reef fish density and diversity were documented...

  2. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef fish communities in St. Thomas and St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands from 2013-07-08 to 2013-07-19 and from 2015-07-13 to 2015-07-24 (NCEI Accession 0151731)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Belt Transect method is used to conduct fish surveys in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as part of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP). The Belt...

  3. Contrasting responses of coral reef fauna and foraminiferal assemblages to human influence in La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reef biota including stony corals, sponges, gorgonians, fish, benthic macroinvertebrates and foraminifera were surveyed in coastal waters near La Parguera, in southwestern Puerto Rico. The goal was to evaluate sensitivity of coral reef biological indicators to human distur...

  4. Contrasting responses of coral reef fauna and foraminiferal assemblages to human influence in La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reef biota including stony corals, sponges, gorgonians, fish, benthic macroinvertebrates and foraminifera were surveyed in coastal waters near La Parguera, in southwestern Puerto Rico. The goal was to evaluate sensitivity of coral reef biological indicators to human distur...

  5. Evolution of microhabitat association and morphology in a diverse group of cryptobenthic coral reef fishes (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Eviota)

    KAUST Repository

    Tornabene, Luke

    2013-01-01

    Gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae) are an extremely diverse and widely distributed group and are the second most species rich family of vertebrates. Ecological drivers are key to the evolutionary success of the Gobiidae. However, ecological and phylogenetic data are lacking for many diverse genera of gobies. Our study investigated the evolution of microhabitat association across the phylogeny of 18 species of dwarfgobies (genus Eviota), an abundant and diverse group of coral reef fishes. In addition, we also explore the evolution of pectoral fin-ray branching and sensory head pores to determine the relationship between morphological evolution and microhabitat shifts. Our results demonstrate that Eviota species switched multiple times from a facultative hard-coral association to inhabiting rubble or mixed sand/rubble habitat. We found no obvious relationship between microhabitat shifts and changes in pectoral fin-ray branching or reduction in sensory pores, with the latter character being highly homoplasious throughout the genus. The relative flexibility in coral-association in Eviota combined with the ability to move into non-coral habitats suggests a genetic capacity for ecological release in contrast to the strict obligate coral-dwelling relationship commonly observed in closely related coral gobies, thus promoting co-existence through fine scale niche partitioning. The variation in microhabitat association may facilitate opportunistic ecological speciation, and species persistence in the face of environmental change. This increased speciation opportunity, in concert with a high resilience to extinction, may explain the exceptionally high diversity seen in Eviota compared to related genera in the family. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

  6. Preference of early juveniles of a coral reef fish for distinct lagoonal microhabitats is not related to common measures of structural complexity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Grol, M.G.G.; Nagelkerken, I.; Bosch, N.; Meesters, H.W.G.

    2011-01-01

    Coral reef populations of a variety of fish and invertebrate species are replenished by individuals that use inshore coastal habitats as temporary juvenile habitats. These habitats vary greatly in their architecture, and different characteristics of structure could play a role in their selection and

  7. A comparison of visual and collection-based methods for assessing community structure of coral reef fishes in the Tropical Eastern Pacific

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Alzate, Adriana; Zapata, Fernando A.; Giraldo, Alan

    2014-01-01

    Gorgona Island, the major insular area in the Colombian Pacific Ocean, is characterized by a remarkably high biological and ecosystem diversity for this area of the world. Coral reefs are well developed and their fish communities have been described using conventional visual surveys. These methods,

  8. Support for a 'Center of Origin' in the Coral Triangle: cryptic diversity, recent speciation, and local endemism in a diverse lineage of reef fishes (Gobiidae: Eviota).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tornabene, Luke; Valdez, Samantha; Erdmann, Mark; Pezold, Frank

    2015-01-01

    The Coral Triangle is widely regarded as the richest marine biodiversity hot-spot in the world. One factor that has been proposed to explain elevated species-richness within the Coral Triangle is a high rate of in situ speciation within the region itself. Dwarfgobies (Gobiidae: Eviota) are a diverse genus of diminutive cryptobenthic reef fishes with limited dispersal ability, and life histories and ecologies that increase potential for speciation. We use molecular phylogenetic and biogeographic data from two clades of Eviota species to examine patterns, processes and timing associated with species origination within the Coral Triangle. Sequence data from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA were used to generate molecular phylogenies and median-joining haplotype networks for the genus Eviota, with emphasis on the E. nigriventris and E. bifasciata complexes - two species groups with distributions centered in the Coral Triangle. The E. nigriventris and E. bifasciata complexes both contain multiple genetically distinct, geographically restricted color morphs indicative of recently-diverged species originating within the Coral Triangle. Relaxed molecular-clock dating estimates indicate that most speciation events occurred within the Pleistocene, and the geographic pattern of genetic breaks between species corresponds well with similar breaks in other marine fishes and sessile invertebrates. Regional isolation due to sea-level fluctuations may explain some speciation events in these species groups, yet other species formed with no evidence of physical isolation. The timing of diversification events and present day distributions of Eviota species within the Coral Triangle suggest that both allopatric speciation (driven by ephemeral and/or 'soft' physical barriers to gene flow) and sympatric speciation (driven by niche partitioning and assortative mating) may be driving diversification at local scales within the Coral Triangle. The presence of multiple young, highly

  9. Trematodes of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia: emerging patterns of diversity and richness in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cribb, Thomas H; Bott, Nathan J; Bray, Rodney A; McNamara, Marissa K A; Miller, Terrence L; Nolan, Mathew J; Cutmore, Scott C

    2014-10-15

    The Great Barrier Reef holds the richest array of marine life found anywhere in Australia, including a diverse and fascinating parasite fauna. Members of one group, the trematodes, occur as sexually mature adult worms in almost all Great Barrier Reef bony fish species. Although the first reports of these parasites were made 100 years ago, the fauna has been studied systematically for only the last 25 years. When the fauna was last reviewed in 1994 there were 94 species known from the Great Barrier Reef and it was predicted that there might be 2,270 in total. There are now 326 species reported for the region, suggesting that we are in a much improved position to make an accurate prediction of true trematode richness. Here we review the current state of knowledge of the fauna and the ways in which our understanding of this fascinating group is changing. Our best estimate of the true richness is now a range, 1,100-1,800 species. However there remains considerable scope for even these figures to be incorrect given that fewer than one-third of the fish species of the region have been examined for trematodes. Our goal is a comprehensive characterisation of this fauna, and we outline what work needs to be done to achieve this and discuss whether this goal is practically achievable or philosophically justifiable.

  10. Resetting predator baselines in coral reef ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bradley, Darcy; Conklin, Eric; Papastamatiou, Yannis P.; McCauley, Douglas J.; Pollock, Kydd; Pollock, Amanda; Kendall, Bruce E.; Gaines, Steven D.; Caselle, Jennifer E.

    2017-01-01

    What did coral reef ecosystems look like before human impacts became pervasive? Early efforts to reconstruct baselines resulted in the controversial suggestion that pristine coral reefs have inverted trophic pyramids, with disproportionally large top predator biomass. The validity of the coral reef inverted trophic pyramid has been questioned, but until now, was not resolved empirically. We use data from an eight-year tag-recapture program with spatially explicit, capture-recapture models to re-examine the population size and density of a key top predator at Palmyra atoll, the same location that inspired the idea of inverted trophic biomass pyramids in coral reef ecosystems. Given that animal movement is suspected to have significantly biased early biomass estimates of highly mobile top predators, we focused our reassessment on the most mobile and most abundant predator at Palmyra, the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). We estimated a density of 21.3 (95% CI 17.8, 24.7) grey reef sharks/km2, which is an order of magnitude lower than the estimates that suggested an inverted trophic pyramid. Our results indicate that the trophic structure of an unexploited reef fish community is not inverted, and that even healthy top predator populations may be considerably smaller, and more precarious, than previously thought. PMID:28220895

  11. Consequences of a government-controlled agricultural price increase on fishing and the coral reef ecosystem in the republic of kiribati.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sheila M W Reddy

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Economic development policies may have important economic and ecological consequences beyond the sector they target. Understanding these consequences is important to improving these policies and finding opportunities to align economic development with natural resource conservation. These issues are of particular interest to governments and non-governmental organizations that have new mandates to pursue multiple benefits. In this case study, we examined the direct and indirect economic and ecological effects of an increase in the government-controlled price for the primary agricultural product in the Republic of Kiribati, Central Pacific. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted household surveys and underwater visual surveys of the coral reef to examine how the government increase in the price of copra directly affected copra labor and indirectly affected fishing and the coral reef ecosystem. The islands of Kiribati are coral reef atolls and the majority of households participate in copra agriculture and fishing on the coral reefs. Our household survey data suggest that the 30% increase in the price of copra resulted in a 32% increase in copra labor and a 38% increase in fishing labor. Households with the largest amount of land in coconut production increased copra labor the most and households with the smallest amount of land in coconut production increased fishing the most. Our ecological data suggests that increased fishing labor may result in a 20% decrease in fish stocks and 4% decrease in coral reef-builders. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We provide empirical evidence to suggest that the government increase in the copra price in Kiribati had unexpected and indirect economic and ecological consequences. In this case, the economic development policy was not in alignment with conservation. These results emphasize the importance of accounting for differences in household capital and taking a systems approach to policy design and

  12. Elevated carbon dioxide affects behavioural lateralization in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domenici, Paolo; Allan, Bridie; McCormick, Mark I; Munday, Philip L

    2012-02-23

    Elevated carbon dioxide (CO(2)) has recently been shown to affect chemosensory and auditory behaviour, and activity levels of larval reef fishes, increasing their risk of predation. However, the mechanisms underlying these changes are unknown. Behavioural lateralization is an expression of brain functional asymmetries, and thus provides a unique test of the hypothesis that elevated CO(2) affects brain function in larval fishes. We tested the effect of near-future CO(2) concentrations (880 µatm) on behavioural lateralization in the reef fish, Neopomacentrus azysron. Individuals exposed to current-day or elevated CO(2) were observed in a detour test where they made repeated decisions about turning left or right. No preference for right or left turns was observed at the population level. However, individual control fish turned either left or right with greater frequency than expected by chance. Exposure to elevated-CO(2) disrupted individual lateralization, with values that were not different from a random expectation. These results provide compelling evidence that elevated CO(2) directly affects brain function in larval fishes. Given that lateralization enhances performance in a number of cognitive tasks and anti-predator behaviours, it is possible that a loss of lateralization could increase the vulnerability of larval fishes to predation in a future high-CO(2) ocean.

  13. Understanding coral reefs in an impacted world: Physiological responses of coral reef organisms to coastal pollution and global warming

    OpenAIRE

    Kegler, Pia

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs are facing a multitude of anthropogenic disturbances at ever higher frequencies and magnitudes. As a consequence, these ecologically and economically important ecosystems are degrading worldwide. Reef managers lack knowledge on how fish, corals and coral larvae respond to the effects of local and global stressors. This thesis reveals the significance of chemical pollution from localized sources. Two common pollutants (diesel and a surfactant) caused metabolic changes in a fish and...

  14. Acoustical Measurement and Biot Model for Coral Reef Detection and Quantification

    OpenAIRE

    Manik, Henry M.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are coastal resources and very useful for marine ecosystems. Nowadays, the existence of coral reefs is seriously threatened due to the activities of blast fishing, coral mining, marine sedimentation, pollution, and global climate change. To determine the existence of coral reefs, it is necessary to study them comprehensively. One method to study a coral reef by using a propagation of sound waves is proposed. In this research, the measurement of reflection coefficient, transmission...

  15. Coral larvae move toward reef sounds.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark J A Vermeij

    Full Text Available Free-swimming larvae of tropical corals go through a critical life-phase when they return from the open ocean to select a suitable settlement substrate. During the planktonic phase of their life cycle, the behaviours of small coral larvae (<1 mm that influence settlement success are difficult to observe in situ and are therefore largely unknown. Here, we show that coral larvae respond to acoustic cues that may facilitate detection of habitat from large distances and from upcurrent of preferred settlement locations. Using in situ choice chambers, we found that settling coral larvae were attracted to reef sounds, produced mainly by fish and crustaceans, which we broadcast underwater using loudspeakers. Our discovery that coral larvae can detect and respond to sound is the first description of an auditory response in the invertebrate phylum Cnidaria, which includes jellyfish, anemones, and hydroids as well as corals. If, like settlement-stage reef fish and crustaceans, coral larvae use reef noise as a cue for orientation, the alleviation of noise pollution in the marine environment may gain further urgency.

  16. Mixed-species schooling behavior and protective mimicry involving coral reef fish from the genus Haemulon (Haemulidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pedro Henrique Cipresso Pereira

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available The present study analyzed heterotypic schooling behavior and protective mimicry relationships involving species of the genus Haemulon and other coral reef fishes on coastal reefs at Tamandaré, Pernambuco State, Northeastern Brazil. The work was performed during 35 hours of direct observation using the "focal animal" method. The observed events involved 14 species of reef fish in eight different families. The phenomenon of mixed schooling appeared to be related to the large number of individuals of the genus Haemulon present in reef environments and to the tendency of individuals with limited populations to try to aggregate in schools (e.g. genus Scarus.O presente estudo analisou o comportamento de formação de cardumes mistos e mimetismo de proteção envolvendo espécies do gênero Haemulon e demais peixes recifais nos recifes costeiros de Tamandaré, estado de Pernambuco, Nordeste do Brasil. O trabalho foi realizado utilizando observações subaquáticas e incluiu 35 horas de observação direta utilizando o método animal focal, durante as quais foram registradas associações com 14 espécies pertencentes a oito famílias diferentes. Os fenômenos registrados possivelmente estão relacionados à grande quantidade de indivíduos do gênero Haemulon presentes nos ecossistemas recifais e também à tendência de indivíduos com reduzidas populações a permanecerem em cardumes (e.g. gênero Scarus.

  17. Coral Transplantation and Restocking to Accelerate the Recovery of Coral Reef Habitats and Fisheries Resources Within No-Take Marine Protected Areas: Hands-On Approaches to Support Community-Based Coral Reef Management

    OpenAIRE

    Bowden-Kerby, A.

    2003-01-01

    Of the planet’s 600,000 km2 of coral reefs (Jameson et al., 1995), roughly 70-80% are located in developing countries. Many of these reefs are owned or controlled by indigenous fishing communities rather than national or state governments. These rural fishing communities are a primary force of destruction to coral reefs on a global scale (Wilkinson, 1998), therefore their involvement in the management and conservation of coral reefs will be an essential part of reversing coral ...

  18. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Angela Dikou

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Top-down controls of complex foodwebs maintain the balance among the critical groups of corals, algae, and herbivores, thus allowing the persistence of corals reefs as three-dimensional, biogenic structures with high biodiversity, heterogeneity, resistance, resilience and connectivity, and the delivery of essential goods and services to societies. On contemporary reefs world-wide, however, top-down controls have been weakened due to reduction in herbivory levels (overfishing or disease outbreak while bottom-up controls have increased due to water quality degradation (increase in sediment and nutrient load and climate forcing (seawater warming and acidification leading to algal-dominated alternate benthic states of coral reefs, which are indicative of a trajectory towards ecological extinction. Management to reverse common trajectories of degradation for coral reefs necessitates a shift from optimization in marine resource use and conservation towards building socio-economic resilience into coral reef systems while attending to the most manageable human impacts (fishing and water quality and the global-scale causes (climate change.

  19. Coral Reef Community Composition in the Context of Disturbance History on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Chong-Seng, Karen M.; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Nash, Kirsty L.

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed) and reef zone (slope, crest and flat) into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral communities to persist into

  20. Coral reef community composition in the context of disturbance history on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A J Graham

    Full Text Available Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed and reef zone (slope, crest and flat into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral

  1. Coral reef community composition in the context of disturbance history on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Chong-Seng, Karen M; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A; Nash, Kirsty L

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed) and reef zone (slope, crest and flat) into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral communities to persist into

  2. 40 CFR 230.44 - Coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Coral reefs. 230.44 Section 230.44... Aquatic Sites § 230.44 Coral reefs. (a) Coral reefs consist of the skeletal deposit, usually of calcareous... organisms present in growing portions of the reef. (b) Possible loss of values: The discharge of dredged or...

  3. 77 FR 25407 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-30

    ..., and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic States; Exempted Fishing Permit... conditions, various species of reef fish, crabs, and lobsters in Federal waters off South Carolina and North... zones, or artificial reefs without additional authorization. Additionally, NMFS prohibits the possession...

  4. Follow that fish: Uncovering the hidden blue economy in coral reef fisheries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teneva, Lida; Kittinger, John N.

    2017-01-01

    Despite their importance for human well-being, nearshore fisheries are often data poor, undervalued, and underappreciated in policy and development programs. We assess the value chain for nearshore Hawaiian coral reef fisheries, mapping post-catch distribution and disposition, and quantifying associated monetary, food security, and cultural values. We estimate that the total annual value of the nearshore fishery in Hawaiʻi is $10.3-$16.4 million, composed of non-commercial ($7.2-$12.9 million) and commercial ($2.97 million licensed + $148,500-$445,500 unlicensed) catch. Hawaii’s nearshore fisheries provide >7 million meals annually, with most (>5 million) from the non-commercial sector. Over a third (36%) of meals were planktivores, 26% piscivores, 21% primary consumers, and 18% secondary consumers. Only 62% of licensed commercial catch is accounted for in purchase reports, leaving 38% of landings unreported in sales. Value chains are complex, with major buyers for the commercial fishery including grocery stores (66%), retailers (19%), wholesalers (14%), and restaurants (<1%), who also trade and sell amongst themselves. The bulk of total nearshore catch (72–74%) follows a short value chain, with non-commercial fishers keeping catch for household consumption or community sharing. A small amount (~37,000kg) of reef fish—the equivalent of 1.8% of local catch—is imported annually into Hawaiʻi, 23,000kg of which arrives as passenger luggage on commercial flights from Micronesia. Evidence of exports to the US mainland exists, but is unquantifiable given existing data. Hawaiian nearshore fisheries support fundamental cultural values including subsistence, activity, traditional knowledge, and social cohesion. These small-scale coral reef fisheries provide large-scale benefits to the economy, food security, and cultural practices of Hawaiʻi, underscoring the need for sustainable management. This research highlights the value of information on the value chain for

  5. The relative influence of abundance and priority effects on colonization success in a coral-reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Geange, Shane W.; Poulos, Davina E.; Stier, Adrian C.; McCormick, Mark I.

    2017-03-01

    The sequence of species colonization is increasingly recognized as an important determinant of community structure, yet the significance of sequence of arrival relative to colonizer abundance is seldom assessed. We manipulated the magnitude and timing of coral-reef fish settlement to investigate whether the competitive dominance of early-arriving Ambon damselfish (i.e., a priority effect) decreased in strength with increasing abundance of late-arriving lemon damselfish. Sequence of arrival had a stronger effect on survival than the number of competing individuals. Relative to when both species arrived simultaneously, lemon damselfish were less aggressive, avoided competitive interactions more frequently and experienced depressed survival when they arrived later than Ambon damselfish, with these effects occurring independently of lemon damselfish abundance. These results suggest priority effects are more important than colonizer abundance and should motivate the integration of priority effects into future studies of density dependence to determine their relative importance.

  6. Spatial and temporal patterns of larval dispersal in a coral-reef fish metapopulation: evidence of variable reproductive success.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pusack, Timothy J; Christie, Mark R; Johnson, Darren W; Stallings, Christopher D; Hixon, Mark A

    2014-07-01

    Many marine organisms can be transported hundreds of kilometres during their pelagic larval stage, yet little is known about spatial and temporal patterns of larval dispersal. Although traditional population-genetic tools can be applied to infer movement of larvae on an evolutionary timescale, large effective population sizes and high rates of gene flow present serious challenges to documenting dispersal patterns over shorter, ecologically relevant, timescales. Here, we address these challenges by combining direct parentage analysis and indirect genetic analyses over a 4-year period to document spatial and temporal patterns of larval dispersal in a common coral-reef fish: the bicolour damselfish (Stegastes partitus). At four island locations surrounding Exuma Sound, Bahamas, including a long-established marine reserve, we collected 3278 individuals and genotyped them at 10 microsatellite loci. Using Bayesian parentage analysis, we identified eight parent-offspring pairs, thereby directly documenting dispersal distances ranging from 0 km (i.e., self-recruitment) to 129 km (i.e., larval connectivity). Despite documenting substantial dispersal and gene flow between islands, we observed more self-recruitment events than expected if the larvae were drawn from a common, well-mixed pool (i.e., a completely open population). Additionally, we detected both spatial and temporal variation in signatures of sweepstakes and Wahlund effects. The high variance in reproductive success (i.e., 'sweepstakes') we observed may be influenced by seasonal mesoscale gyres present in the Exuma Sound, which play a prominent role in shaping local oceanographic patterns. This study documents the complex nature of larval dispersal in a coral-reef fish, and highlights the importance of sampling multiple cohorts and coupling both direct and indirect genetic methods in order disentangle patterns of dispersal, gene flow and variable reproductive success. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. More than archetypal coral-reef fishes: Revision and relationships of the Acanthuroidei based on adult and larval morphology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeffrey Martin Leis

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Acanthuroid fishes are often considered archetyal coral-reef fishes. We use characters of both larvae and adults to redefine the Acanthuroidei to include the traditional acanthuroid families (Acanthuridae, Ephippidae, Luvaridae, Scatophagidae, Siganidae, Zanclidae and several taxa usually placed within the Percoidei (Antigonia, Chaetodontidae, Drepaneidae, Leiognathidae, Lobotidae, Pomacanthidae. These taxa share a specialised tooth ontogeny. Based on larval morphology (particularly head spination, sculpting on the skull, early development of posteriorly-placed pelvic fins, pigmentation, and body shape and adult morphology (dorsal gill-arches the Lobotidae is newly diagnosed to include the genera Lobotes, Datnioides and Hapalogenys. These three genera have traditionally been placed in the families Lobotidae, Datnioididae and Haemulidae, respectively, although Hapalogenys was sometimes placed in a separate Hapalogenyidae. Three-item analysis shows that Lobotidae is the sister group of the remaining acanthuroids. Antigonia and Leiognathidae are nested within a clade consisting of the traditional acanthuroids on the basis of a number of synapomorphies, including a single postcleithrum, five or fewer branchiostegal rays, absence of the interarcual cartilage and larval morphology. The sister group of the Acanthuroidei remains unclear. We compare this phylogeny of the revised Acanthuroidei with recent phylogenies based exclusively on genetic data. Although the different gene-based phylogenies agree on some aspects, they disagree on others. Similarly, the morphology-based phylogeny has areas of both agreement and disagreement with the gene-based phylogenies. Areas of agreement (where relevant taxa were included in the analysis include: removal of Hapalogenys from Haemulidae; inclusion of Lobotes, Datnioides and Hapalogenys in Lobotidae; Lobotidae, Caproidae and Leiognathidae related to at least some of the acanthuroid taxa as defined here; Luvaridae

  8. Resource-Fish surveys using timed-swims at 14 coral reef ecosystem sites of West Hawaii in 2005, (NODC Accession 0002627)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Effective management of coral reef ecosystems depends on adequate data on the status and trends of key ecosystem components. In spite of which, previous coral reef...

  9. Resource-Fish surveys using timed-swims at 14 coral reef ecosystem sites off West Hawaii and 39 sites off Maui in 2005 (NODC Accession 0002709)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Effective management of coral reef ecosystems depends on adequate data on the status and trends of key ecosystem components. In spite of which, previous coral reef...

  10. Resource-fish surveys using timed-swims at 14 coral reef ecosystem sites off West Hawaii and 39 sites off Maui in 2005 (NODC Accession 0002709)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Effective management of coral reef ecosystems depends on adequate data on the status and trends of key ecosystem components. In spite of which, previous coral reef...

  11. Resource-fish surveys using timed-swims at fourteen coral reef ecosystem sites of West Hawaii in 2005 (NODC Accession 0002627)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Effective management of coral reef ecosystems depends on adequate data on the status and trends of key ecosystem components. In spite of which, previous coral reef...

  12. Coral Reef Ecosystems Monitoring Feature Service

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring feature service hosted on ArcGIS Online provides access to data collected in the Mariana Archipelago by the Coral Reef Ecosystem...

  13. Reproductive periodicity and steroid hormone profiles in the sex-changing coral-reef fish, Plectropomus leopardus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frisch, A. J.; McCormick, M. I.; Pankhurst, N. W.

    2007-03-01

    The reproductive biology of coral trout, Plectropomus leopardus, from the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) was investigated by correlating gonadal condition with plasma levels of gonadal steroids. Female fish were found to be regressed from mid-summer to early spring, after which rapid and cyclical increases in gonado-somatic index ( I G), maximum oocyte diameter (MOD) and plasma concentrations of estradiol-17β and testosterone were detected. Male fish, in contrast, commenced recrudescence slightly earlier in winter and responded with less dramatic increases in both I G and plasma concentrations of testosterone and 11-ketotestosterone. The mode of oocyte development was multiple group-synchronous, and cyclical fluctuations in reproductive parameters ( I G, MOD and gonadal steroid concentrations) were synchronized with new-moon lunar phases. It is likely, therefore, that individual P. leopardus have the capacity to spawn on multiple occasions, with lunar periodicity. However, evidence suggests that early bouts of reproduction may be more important in terms of reproductive investment than subsequent bouts later in the same season. It is concluded that patterns of gametogenesis and steroidogenesis in P. leopardus are similar to the patterns displayed by other tropical groupers, suggesting that management regimes and propagation protocols developed for these fishes may also be appropriate for use with P. leopardus.

  14. Climate change and coral reef connectivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munday, P. L.; Leis, J. M.; Lough, J. M.; Paris, C. B.; Kingsford, M. J.; Berumen, M. L.; Lambrechts, J.

    2009-06-01

    This review assesses and predicts the impacts that rapid climate change will have on population connectivity in coral reef ecosystems, using fishes as a model group. Increased ocean temperatures are expected to accelerate larval development, potentially leading to reduced pelagic durations and earlier reef-seeking behaviour. Depending on the spatial arrangement of reefs, the expectation would be a reduction in dispersal distances and the spatial scale of connectivity. Small increase in temperature might enhance the number of larvae surviving the pelagic phase, but larger increases are likely to reduce reproductive output and increase larval mortality. Changes to ocean currents could alter the dynamics of larval supply and changes to planktonic productivity could affect how many larvae survive the pelagic stage and their condition at settlement; however, these patterns are likely to vary greatly from place-to-place and projections of how oceanographic features will change in the future lack sufficient certainty and resolution to make robust predictions. Connectivity could also be compromised by the increased fragmentation of reef habitat due to the effects of coral bleaching and ocean acidification. Changes to the spatial and temporal scales of connectivity have implications for the management of coral reef ecosystems, especially the design and placement of marine-protected areas. The size and spacing of protected areas may need to be strategically adjusted if reserve networks are to retain their efficacy in the future.

  15. The wicked problem of China's disappearing coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P; Huang, Hui; Young, Matthew A L

    2013-04-01

    We examined the development of coral reef science and the policies, institutions, and governance frameworks for management of coral reefs in China in order to highlight the wicked problem of preserving reefs while simultaneously promoting human development and nation building. China and other sovereign states in the region are experiencing unprecedented economic expansion, rapid population growth, mass migration, widespread coastal development, and loss of habitat. We analyzed a large, fragmented literature on the condition of coral reefs in China and the disputed territories of the South China Sea. We found that coral abundance has declined by at least 80% over the past 30 years on coastal fringing reefs along the Chinese mainland and adjoining Hainan Island. On offshore atolls and archipelagos claimed by 6 countries in the South China Sea, coral cover has declined from an average of >60% to around 20% within the past 10-15 years. Climate change has affected these reefs far less than coastal development, pollution, overfishing, and destructive fishing practices. Ironically, these widespread declines in the condition of reefs are unfolding as China's research and reef-management capacity are rapidly expanding. Before the loss of corals becomes irreversible, governance of China's coastal reefs could be improved by increasing public awareness of declining ecosystem services, by providing financial support for training of reef scientists and managers, by improving monitoring of coral reef dynamics and condition to better inform policy development, and by enforcing existing regulations that could protect coral reefs. In the South China Sea, changes in policy and legal frameworks, refinement of governance structures, and cooperation among neighboring countries are urgently needed to develop cooperative management of contested offshore reefs.

  16. The Assessment of Current Biogeographic Patterns of Coral Reef Fishes in the Red Sea by Incorporating Their Evolutionary and Ecological Background

    KAUST Repository

    Robitzch Sierra, Vanessa S. N.

    2017-03-01

    The exceptional environment of the Red Sea has lead to high rates of endemism and biodiversity. Located at the periphery of the world’s coral reefs distribution, its relatively young reefs offer an ideal opportunity to study biogeography and underlying evolutionary and ecological triggers. Here, I provide baseline information on putative seasonal recruitment patterns of reef fishes along a cross shelf gradient at an inshore, mid-shelf, and shelf-edge reef in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea. I propose a basic comparative model to resolve biogeographic patterns in endemic and cosmopolitan reef fishes. Therefore, I chose the genetically, biologically, and ecologically similar coral-dwelling damselfishes Dascyllus aruanus and D. marginatus as a model species-group. As a first step, basic information on the distribution, population structure, and genetic diversity is evaluated within and outside the Red Sea along most of their global distribution. Second, pelagic larval durations (PLDs) within the Red Sea environmental gradient are explored. For the aforementioned, PLDs of the only other Red Sea Dascyllus, D. trimaculatus, are included for a more comprehensive comparison. Third, to further assess ongoing pathways of connectivity and geneflow related to larval behavior and dispersal in Red Sea reef fishes, the genetic composition and kinship of a single recruitment cohort of D. aruanus arriving together at one single reef is quantified using single nuclear polymorphisms (SNPs). Genetic diversity and relatedness of the recruits are compared to that of the standing population at the settlement reef, providing insight into putative dispersal strategies and behavior of coral reef fish larvae. As a fourth component to study traits shaping biogeography, the ecology and adaptive potential of the cosmopolitan D. aruanus is described by studying morphometric-geometrics of the body structure in relation to the stomach content and prey type from specimen along the cross

  17. From transcriptome to biological function: environmental stress in an ectothermic vertebrate, the coral reef fish Pomacentrus moluccensis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ward Alister C

    2007-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Our understanding of the importance of transcriptional regulation for biological function is continuously improving. We still know, however, comparatively little about how environmentally induced stress affects gene expression in vertebrates, and the consistency of transcriptional stress responses to different types of environmental stress. In this study, we used a multi-stressor approach to identify components of a common stress response as well as components unique to different types of environmental stress. We exposed individuals of the coral reef fish Pomacentrus moluccensis to hypoxic, hyposmotic, cold and heat shock and measured the responses of approximately 16,000 genes in liver. We also compared winter and summer responses to heat shock to examine the capacity for such responses to vary with acclimation to different ambient temperatures. Results We identified a series of gene functions that were involved in all stress responses examined here, suggesting some common effects of stress on biological function. These common responses were achieved by the regulation of largely independent sets of genes; the responses of individual genes varied greatly across different stress types. In response to heat exposure over five days, a total of 324 gene loci were differentially expressed. Many heat-responsive genes had functions associated with protein turnover, metabolism, and the response to oxidative stress. We were also able to identify groups of co-regulated genes, the genes within which shared similar functions. Conclusion This is the first environmental genomic study to measure gene regulation in response to different environmental stressors in a natural population of a warm-adapted ectothermic vertebrate. We have shown that different types of environmental stress induce expression changes in genes with similar gene functions, but that the responses of individual genes vary between stress types. The functions of heat

  18. High macroalgal cover and low coral recruitment undermines the potential resilience of the world's southernmost coral reef assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew S Hoey

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic and climate-induced stressors. The ability of reefs to reassemble and regenerate after disturbances (i.e., resilience is largely dependent on the capacity of herbivores to prevent macroalgal expansion, and the replenishment of coral populations through larval recruitment. Currently there is a paucity of this information for higher latitude, subtropical reefs. To assess the potential resilience of the benthic reef assemblages of Lord Howe Island (31°32'S, 159°04'E, the worlds' southernmost coral reef, we quantified the benthic composition, densities of juvenile corals (as a proxy for coral recruitment, and herbivorous fish communities. Despite some variation among habitats and sites, benthic communities were dominated by live scleractinian corals (mean cover 37.4% and fleshy macroalgae (20.9%. Live coral cover was higher than in most other subtropical reefs and directly comparable to lower latitude tropical reefs. Juvenile coral densities (0.8 ind.m(-2, however, were 5-200 times lower than those reported for tropical reefs. Overall, macroalgal cover was negatively related to the cover of live coral and the density of juvenile corals, but displayed no relationship with herbivorous fish biomass. The biomass of herbivorous fishes was relatively low (204 kg.ha(-1, and in marked contrast to tropical reefs was dominated by macroalgal browsing species (84.1% with relatively few grazing species. Despite their extremely low biomass, grazing fishes were positively related to both the density of juvenile corals and the cover of bare substrata, suggesting that they may enhance the recruitment of corals through the provision of suitable settlement sites. Although Lord Howe Islands' reefs are currently coral-dominated, the high macroalgal cover, coupled with limited coral recruitment and low coral growth rates suggest these reefs may be extremely susceptible to future disturbances.

  19. High macroalgal cover and low coral recruitment undermines the potential resilience of the world's southernmost coral reef assemblages

    KAUST Repository

    Hoey, Andrew

    2011-10-03

    Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic and climate-induced stressors. The ability of reefs to reassemble and regenerate after disturbances (i.e., resilience) is largely dependent on the capacity of herbivores to prevent macroalgal expansion, and the replenishment of coral populations through larval recruitment. Currently there is a paucity of this information for higher latitude, subtropical reefs. To assess the potential resilience of the benthic reef assemblages of Lord Howe Island (31°32?S, 159°04?E), the worlds\\' southernmost coral reef, we quantified the benthic composition, densities of juvenile corals (as a proxy for coral recruitment), and herbivorous fish communities. Despite some variation among habitats and sites, benthic communities were dominated by live scleractinian corals (mean cover 37.4%) and fleshy macroalgae (20.9%). Live coral cover was higher than in most other subtropical reefs and directly comparable to lower latitude tropical reefs. Juvenile coral densities (0.8 ind.m -2), however, were 5-200 times lower than those reported for tropical reefs. Overall, macroalgal cover was negatively related to the cover of live coral and the density of juvenile corals, but displayed no relationship with herbivorous fish biomass. The biomass of herbivorous fishes was relatively low (204 kg.ha -1), and in marked contrast to tropical reefs was dominated by macroalgal browsing species (84.1%) with relatively few grazing species. Despite their extremely low biomass, grazing fishes were positively related to both the density of juvenile corals and the cover of bare substrata, suggesting that they may enhance the recruitment of corals through the provision of suitable settlement sites. Although Lord Howe Islands\\' reefs are currently coral-dominated, the high macroalgal cover, coupled with limited coral recruitment and low coral growth rates suggest these reefs may be extremely susceptible to future disturbances. © 2011 Hoey et al.

  20. Coral reef fish assemblages of coralline and granitic habitats of Curieuse Marine National Park

    OpenAIRE

    Pittman, S.J.

    1997-01-01

    Curieuse Marine National Park encompasses a diverse range of shallow water marine and brackish habitats including coralline fringing reefs, granitic boulder reefs, deep patch reefs, algal flats, seagrass meadows, intertidal rocky shore, sandy beach and mangrove habitat. Many of these shallow water habitats support an abundance of varied marine life, which in turn supports a burgeoning interest from tourist divers and snorkellers. Curieuse Marine National Park includes Curieuse Island and t...

  1. A Review on the Ecology, Exploitation and Conservation of Reef Fish Resources in Mozambique

    OpenAIRE

    2000-01-01

    Coral and rocky reefs are very important ecosystems in terms of their diversity, productivity, abundance and beauty. Mozambique possesses extensive reef areas, where fish fauna is the main exploited resource. Nevertheless, the ecology of these resources is little studied. A recent report listed 794 reef-associated fishes known to occur in Mozambican coral and rocky reefs. This is a first accountancy of the high fish diversity of Mozambican reefs, which must be assessed. Reef-assoc...

  2. Behaviourally mediated phenotypic selection in a disturbed coral reef environment.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

    Full Text Available Natural and anthropogenic disturbances are leading to changes in the nature of many habitats globally, and the magnitude and frequency of these perturbations are predicted to increase under climate change. Globally coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. Fishes often show relatively rapid declines in abundance when corals become stressed and die, but the processes responsible are largely unknown. This study explored the mechanism by which coral bleaching may influence the levels and selective nature of mortality on a juvenile damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, which associates with hard coral. Recently settled fish had a low propensity to migrate small distances (40 cm between habitat patches, even when densities were elevated to their natural maximum. Intraspecific interactions and space use differ among three habitats: live hard coral, bleached coral and dead algal-covered coral. Large fish pushed smaller fish further from the shelter of bleached and dead coral thereby exposing smaller fish to higher mortality than experienced on healthy coral. Small recruits suffered higher mortality than large recruits on bleached and dead coral. Mortality was not size selective on live coral. Survival was 3 times as high on live coral as on either bleached or dead coral. Subtle behavioural interactions between fish and their habitats influence the fundamental link between life history stages, the distribution of phenotypic traits in the local population and potentially the evolution of life history strategies.

  3. Variability in isotope discrimination factors in coral reef fishes: implications for diet and food web reconstruction.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alex S J Wyatt

    Full Text Available Interpretation of stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen (δ(13C and δ(15N is generally based on the assumption that with each trophic level there is a constant enrichment in the heavier isotope, leading to diet-tissue discrimination factors of 3.4‰ for (15N (ΔN and ∼0.5‰ for (13C (ΔC. Diet-tissue discrimination factors determined from paired tissue and gut samples taken from 152 individuals from 26 fish species at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia demonstrate a large amount of variability around constant values. While caution is necessary in using gut contents to represent diet due to the potential for high temporal variability, there were significant effects of trophic position and season that may also lead to variability in ΔN under natural conditions. Nitrogen enrichment increased significantly at higher trophic levels (higher tissue δ(15N, with significantly higher ΔN in carnivorous species. Changes in diet led to significant changes in ΔN, but not tissue δ(15N, between seasons for several species: Acanthurus triostegus, Chromis viridis, Parupeneus signatus and Pomacentrus moluccensis. These results confirm that the use of meta-analysis averages for ΔN is likely to be inappropriate for accurately determining diets and trophic relationships using tissue stable isotope ratios. Where feasible, discrimination factors should be directly quantified for each species and trophic link in question, acknowledging the potential for significant variation away from meta-analysis averages and, perhaps, controlled laboratory diets and conditions.

  4. Population genomics of local adaptation versus speciation in coral reef fishes (Hypoplectrus spp, Serranidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Picq, Sophie; McMillan, W Owen; Puebla, Oscar

    2016-04-01

    Are the population genomic patterns underlying local adaptation and the early stages of speciation similar? Addressing this question requires a system in which (i) local adaptation and the early stages of speciation can be clearly identified and distinguished, (ii) the amount of genetic divergence driven by the two processes is similar, and (iii) comparisons can be repeated both taxonomically (for local adaptation) and geographically (for speciation). Here, we report just such a situation in the hamlets (Hypoplectrus spp), brightly colored reef fishes from the wider Caribbean. Close to 100,000 SNPs genotyped in 126 individuals from three sympatric species sampled in three repeated populations provide genome-wide levels of divergence that are comparable among allopatric populations (F st estimate = 0.0042) and sympatric species (F st estimate = 0.0038). Population genetic, clustering, and phylogenetic analyses reveal very similar patterns for local adaptation and speciation, with a large fraction of the genome undifferentiated (F st estimate ≈ 0), a very small proportion of F st outlier loci (0.05-0.07%), and remarkably few repeated outliers (1-3). Nevertheless, different loci appear to be involved in the two processes in Hypoplectrus, with only 7% of the most differentiated SNPs and outliers shared between populations and species comparisons. In particular, a tropomyosin (Tpm4) and a previously identified hox (HoxCa) locus emerge as candidate loci (repeated outliers) for local adaptation and speciation, respectively. We conclude that marine populations may be locally adapted notwithstanding shallow levels of genetic divergence, and that from a population genomic perspective, this process does not appear to differ fundamentally from the early stages of speciation.

  5. New tool to manage coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is making available a new tool for coral reef managers to monitor the cumulative thermal stress of several coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, and reefs by the Galapagos Islands, the agency announced on 25 February.The agency's "Degree Heating Weeks" product uses satellite-derived information to allow continuous monitoring of the extent and acuteness of thermal stress, which are key predictors of coral bleaching, and which contribute to coral reef degradation.

  6. Coral communities of the remote atoll reefs in the Nansha Islands, southern South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, M X; Yu, K F; Shi, Q; Chen, T R; Zhang, H L; Chen, T G

    2013-09-01

    During the months of May and June in the year 2007, a survey was conducted regarding coral reef communities in the remote atolls (Zhubi Reef and Meiji Reef) of Nansha Islands, southern South China Sea. The goals of the survey were to: (1) for the first time, compile a scleractinian coral check-list; (2) estimate the total richness, coral cover, and growth forms of the community; and (3) describe preliminary patterns of community structure according to geomorphological units. Findings of this survey revealed a total of 120 species of scleractinia belonging to 40 genera, while the average coral cover was 21 %, ranging from less than 10 % to higher than 50 %. Branching and massive corals were also found to be the most important growth forms of the whole coral community, while Acropora, Montipora, and Porites were the three dominant genera in the overall region, with their contributions to total coral cover measuring 21, 22, and 23 %, respectively. Overall, coral communities of the Nansha Islands were in a relative healthy condition with high species diversity and coral cover. Spatial pattern of coral communities existed among various geomorphological units. Mean coral cover was highest in the patch reef within the lagoon, followed by the fore reef slope, reef flat, and lagoon slope. The greatest contributors to total coral cover were branching Acropora (45 %) in the lagoon slope, branching Montipora (44 %) in the reef flat, and massive Porites (51 %) in the patch reef. Coral cover in the fore reef revealed a greater range of genera than in other habitats. The leeward fore reef slope had higher coral cover (> 50 %) when compared with the windward slope (coral communities of the inner reef flat were characterized by higher coral cover (27 %) and dominant branching Montipora corals, while lower coral cover (4 %) was dominated by Psammocora with massive growth forms on the outer reef flat. Destructive fishing and coral bleaching were two major threats to coral communities

  7. Spatial dynamics of benthic competition on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandin, Stuart A; McNamara, Dylan E

    2012-04-01

    The community structure of sedentary organisms is largely controlled by the outcome of direct competition for space. Understanding factors defining competitive outcomes among neighbors is thus critical for predicting large-scale changes, such as transitions to alternate states within coral reefs. Using a spatially explicit model, we explored the importance of variation in two spatial properties in benthic dynamics on coral reefs: (1) patterns of herbivory are spatially distinct between fishes and sea urchins and (2) there is wide variation in the areal extent into which different coral species can expand. We reveal that the size-specific, competitive asymmetry of corals versus fleshy algae highlights the significance of spatial patterning of herbivory and of coral growth. Spatial dynamics that alter the demographic importance of coral recruitment and maturation have profound effects on the emergent structure of the reef benthic community. Spatially constrained herbivory (as by sea urchins) is more effective than spatially unconstrained herbivory (as by many fish) at opening space for the time needed for corals to settle and to recruit to the adult population. Further, spatially unconstrained coral growth (as by many branching coral species) reduces the number of recruitment events needed to fill a habitat with coral relative to more spatially constrained growth (as by many massive species). Our model predicts that widespread mortality of branching corals (e.g., Acropora spp) and herbivorous sea urchins (particularly Diadema antillarum) in the Caribbean has greatly reduced the potential for restoration across the region.

  8. Carrying capacity of coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    The sustainable yield of a commercially exploited fishery is assessed by the biological and environmental factors (including fishing effort). These parameters with a reef are vastly diverse-size, location, species diversity, productivity type...

  9. Challenges for Managing Fisheries on Diverse Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Douglas Fenner

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Widespread coral reef decline has included the decline of reef fish populations, and the subsistence and artisanal fisheries that depend on them. Overfishing and destructive fishing have been identified as the greatest local threats to coral reefs, but the greatest future threats are acidification and increases in mass coral bleaching caused by global warming. Some reefs have shifted from dominance by corals to macroalgae, in what are called “phase shifts”. Depletion of herbivores including fishes has been identified as a contributor to such phase shifts, though nutrients are also involved in complex interactions with herbivory and competition. The depletion of herbivorous fishes implies a reduction of the resilience of coral reefs to the looming threat of mass coral mortality from bleaching, since mass coral deaths are likely to be followed by mass macroalgal blooms on the newly exposed dead substrates. Conventional stock assessment of each fish species would be the preferred option for understanding the status of the reef fishes, but this is far too expensive to be practical because of the high diversity of the fishery and poverty where most reefs are located. In addition, stock assessment models and fisheries in general assume density dependent populations, but a key prediction that stocks recover from fishing is not always confirmed. Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE has far too many weaknesses to be a useful method. The ratio of catch to stock and the proportion of catch that is mature depend on fish catch data, and are heavily biased toward stocks that are in good condition and incapable of finding species that are in the worst condition. Near-pristine reefs give us a reality check about just how much we have lost. Common fisheries management tools that control effort or catch are often prohibitively difficult to enforce for most coral reefs except in developed countries. Ecosystem-based management requires management of impacts of fishing

  10. You are what you eat: diet-induced chemical crypsis in a coral-feeding reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooker, Rohan M; Munday, Philip L; Chivers, Douglas P; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2015-01-22

    The vast majority of research into the mechanisms of camouflage has focused on forms that confound visual perception. However, many organisms primarily interact with their surroundings using chemosensory systems and may have evolved mechanisms to 'blend in' with chemical components of their habitat. One potential mechanism is 'chemical crypsis' via the sequestration of dietary elements, causing a consumer's odour to chemically match that of its prey. Here, we test the potential for chemical crypsis in the coral-feeding filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, by examining olfactory discrimination in obligate coral-dwelling crabs and a predatory cod. The crabs, which inhabit the corals consumed by O. longirostris, were used as a bioassay to determine the effect of coral diet on fish odour. Crabs preferred the odour of filefish fed their preferred coral over the odour of filefish fed a non-preferred coral, suggesting coral-specific dietary elements that influence odour are sequestered. Crabs also exhibited a similar preference for the odour of filefish fed their preferred coral and odour directly from that coral, suggesting a close chemical match. In behavioural trials, predatory cod were less attracted to filefish odour when presented alongside the coral it had been fed on, suggesting diet can reduce detectability. This is, we believe, the first evidence of diet-induced chemical crypsis in a vertebrate.

  11. Tropical fishes dominate temperate reef fish communities within western Japan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nakamura, Yohei; Feary, David A; Kanda, Masaru; Yamaoka, Kosaku

    2013-01-01

    Climate change is resulting in rapid poleward shifts in the geographical distribution of tropical and subtropical fish species. We can expect that such range shifts are likely to be limited by species-specific resource requirements, with temperate rocky reefs potentially lacking a range of settlement substrates or specific dietary components important in structuring the settlement and success of tropical and subtropical fish species. We examined the importance of resource use in structuring the distribution patterns of range shifting tropical and subtropical fishes, comparing this with resident temperate fish species within western Japan (Tosa Bay); the abundance, diversity, size class, functional structure and latitudinal range of reef fishes utilizing both coral reef and adjacent rocky reef habitat were quantified over a 2 year period (2008-2010). This region has undergone rapid poleward expansion of reef-building corals in response to increasing coastal water temperatures, and forms one of the global hotspots for rapid coastal changes. Despite the temperate latitude surveyed (33°N, 133°E) the fish assemblage was both numerically, and in terms of richness, dominated by tropical fishes. Such tropical faunal dominance was apparent within both coral, and rocky reef habitats. The size structure of the assemblage suggested that a relatively large number of tropical species are overwintering within both coral and rocky habitats, with a subset of these species being potentially reproductively active. The relatively high abundance and richness of tropical species with obligate associations with live coral resources (i.e., obligate corallivores) shows that this region holds the most well developed temperate-located tropical fish fauna globally. We argue that future tropicalisation of the fish fauna in western Japan, associated with increasing coral habitat development and reported increasing shifts in coastal water temperatures, may have considerable positive economic

  12. Tropical fishes dominate temperate reef fish communities within western Japan.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yohei Nakamura

    Full Text Available Climate change is resulting in rapid poleward shifts in the geographical distribution of tropical and subtropical fish species. We can expect that such range shifts are likely to be limited by species-specific resource requirements, with temperate rocky reefs potentially lacking a range of settlement substrates or specific dietary components important in structuring the settlement and success of tropical and subtropical fish species. We examined the importance of resource use in structuring the distribution patterns of range shifting tropical and subtropical fishes, comparing this with resident temperate fish species within western Japan (Tosa Bay; the abundance, diversity, size class, functional structure and latitudinal range of reef fishes utilizing both coral reef and adjacent rocky reef habitat were quantified over a 2 year period (2008-2010. This region has undergone rapid poleward expansion of reef-building corals in response to increasing coastal water temperatures, and forms one of the global hotspots for rapid coastal changes. Despite the temperate latitude surveyed (33°N, 133°E the fish assemblage was both numerically, and in terms of richness, dominated by tropical fishes. Such tropical faunal dominance was apparent within both coral, and rocky reef habitats. The size structure of the assemblage suggested that a relatively large number of tropical species are overwintering within both coral and rocky habitats, with a subset of these species being potentially reproductively active. The relatively high abundance and richness of tropical species with obligate associations with live coral resources (i.e., obligate corallivores shows that this region holds the most well developed temperate-located tropical fish fauna globally. We argue that future tropicalisation of the fish fauna in western Japan, associated with increasing coral habitat development and reported increasing shifts in coastal water temperatures, may have considerable

  13. 75 FR 48934 - Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-12

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-ZC19 Coral Reef Conservation Program... Implementation Guidelines for the Coral Reef Conservation Program. SUMMARY: This document provides NOAA's revised Grant Program Implementation Guidelines (Guidelines) for the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP or...

  14. From crypsis to mimicry: changes in colour and the configuration of the visual system during ontogenetic habitat transitions in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cortesi, Fabio; Musilová, Zuzana; Stieb, Sara M; Hart, Nathan S; Siebeck, Ulrike E; Cheney, Karen L; Salzburger, Walter; Marshall, N Justin

    2016-08-15

    Animals often change their habitat throughout ontogeny; yet, the triggers for habitat transitions and how these correlate with developmental changes - e.g. physiological, morphological and behavioural - remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated how ontogenetic changes in body coloration and of the visual system relate to habitat transitions in a coral reef fish. Adult dusky dottybacks, Pseudochromis fuscus, are aggressive mimics that change colour to imitate various fishes in their surroundings; however, little is known about the early life stages of this fish. Using a developmental time series in combination with the examination of wild-caught specimens, we revealed that dottybacks change colour twice during development: (i) nearly translucent cryptic pelagic larvae change to a grey camouflage coloration when settling on coral reefs; and (ii) juveniles change to mimic yellow- or brown-coloured fishes when reaching a size capable of consuming juvenile fish prey. Moreover, microspectrophotometric (MSP) and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) experiments show developmental changes of the dottyback visual system, including the use of a novel adult-specific visual gene (RH2 opsin). This gene is likely to be co-expressed with other visual pigments to form broad spectral sensitivities that cover the medium-wavelength part of the visible spectrum. Surprisingly, the visual modifications precede changes in habitat and colour, possibly because dottybacks need to first acquire the appropriate visual performance before transitioning into novel life stages.

  15. Structure, food and shade attract juvenile coral reef fish to mangrove and seagrass habitats: a field experiment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Verweij, M.C.; Nagelkerken, I.; Graaff, de D.; Peeters, M.; Bakker, E.J.; Velde, van der G.

    2006-01-01

    Mangroves and seagrass beds are considered nurseries for juvenile fish, but little experimental evidence exists to elucidate which factors make them attractive habitats. A multifactorial field experiment on the use of these habitats by juvenile reef fish and their behaviour was performed during dayt

  16. Structure, food and shade attract juvenile coral reef fish to mangrove and seagrass habitats: a field experiment.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Verwey, M.C.; Nagelkerken, I.; Graaff, D. de; Peeters, M.; Bakker, E.J.; Velde, G. van der

    2006-01-01

    Mangroves and seagrass beds are considered nurseries for juvenile fish, but little experimental evidence exists to elucidate which factors make them attractive habitats. A multifactorial field experiment on the use of these habitats by juvenile reef fish and their behaviour was performed during dayt

  17. Continued post-bleaching decline and changed benthic community of a Kenyan coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lambo, A L; Ormond, R F G

    2006-12-01

    During the global coral bleaching event of 1997/1998 Kenyan reefs experienced between 50% and 90% coral mortality, with coral cover at Malindi being reduced from 35-45% (pre-bleaching) to 10-20%. Even before this event there was concern that these reefs were being impacted by increased sediment loads from the nearby Sabaki River. Here we report that since 1998 coral cover has declined yet further with, in 2004, means of 5.1% being recorded at North Reef (within the non-fished Malindi Marine National Park) and 2.3% on Leopard Reef (within the fished Marine Reserve). Prior to bleaching 55 coral genera were recorded from the area, currently we find only 23. Meanwhile algal cover, especially the calcareous green alga Halimeda, has increased, and on Leopard Reef is twice that on North Reef. Taken with the evidence of previous studies, these data suggest a combined impact of coral bleaching with sedimentation and fishing.

  18. Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gove, Jamison M; Williams, Gareth J; McManus, Margaret A; Heron, Scott F; Sandin, Stuart A; Vetter, Oliver J; Foley, David G

    2013-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic-biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km) from 85% of our study locations. These metrics will help

  19. Quantifying climatological ranges and anomalies for Pacific coral reef ecosystems.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamison M Gove

    Full Text Available Coral reef ecosystems are exposed to a range of environmental forcings that vary on daily to decadal time scales and across spatial scales spanning from reefs to archipelagos. Environmental variability is a major determinant of reef ecosystem structure and function, including coral reef extent and growth rates, and the abundance, diversity, and morphology of reef organisms. Proper characterization of environmental forcings on coral reef ecosystems is critical if we are to understand the dynamics and implications of abiotic-biotic interactions on reef ecosystems. This study combines high-resolution bathymetric information with remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and irradiance data, and modeled wave data to quantify environmental forcings on coral reefs. We present a methodological approach to develop spatially constrained, island- and atoll-scale metrics that quantify climatological range limits and anomalous environmental forcings across U.S. Pacific coral reef ecosystems. Our results indicate considerable spatial heterogeneity in climatological ranges and anomalies across 41 islands and atolls, with emergent spatial patterns specific to each environmental forcing. For example, wave energy was greatest at northern latitudes and generally decreased with latitude. In contrast, chlorophyll-a was greatest at reef ecosystems proximate to the equator and northern-most locations, showing little synchrony with latitude. In addition, we find that the reef ecosystems with the highest chlorophyll-a concentrations; Jarvis, Howland, Baker, Palmyra and Kingman are each uninhabited and are characterized by high hard coral cover and large numbers of predatory fishes. Finally, we find that scaling environmental data to the spatial footprint of individual islands and atolls is more likely to capture local environmental forcings, as chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased at relatively short distances (>7 km from 85% of our study locations

  20. Coral reef baselines: how much macroalgae is natural?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruno, John F; Precht, William F; Vroom, Peter S; Aronson, Richard B

    2014-03-15

    Identifying the baseline or natural state of an ecosystem is a critical step in effective conservation and restoration. Like most marine ecosystems, coral reefs are being degraded by human activities: corals and fish have declined in abundance and seaweeds, or macroalgae, have become more prevalent. The challenge for resource managers is to reverse these trends, but by how much? Based on surveys of Caribbean reefs in the 1970s, some reef scientists believe that the average cover of seaweed was very low in the natural state: perhaps less than 3%. On the other hand, evidence from remote Pacific reefs, ecological theory, and impacts of over-harvesting in other systems all suggest that, historically, macroalgal biomass may have been higher than assumed. Uncertainties about the natural state of coral reefs illustrate the difficulty of determining the baseline condition of even well studied systems.

  1. Low calcification in corals in the Great Barrier Reef

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhattacharya, Atreyee

    2012-10-01

    Reef-building coral communities in the Great Barrier Reef—the world's largest coral reef—may now be calcifying at only about half the rate that they did during the 1970s, even though live coral cover may not have changed over the past 40 years, a new study finds. In recent decades, coral reefs around the world, home to large numbers of fish and other marine species, have been threatened by such human activities as pollution, overfishing, global warming, and ocean acidification; the latter affects ambient water chemistry and availability of calcium ions, which are critical for coral communities to calcify, build, and maintain reefs. Comparing data from reef surveys during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s with present-day (2009) measurements of calcification rates in One Tree Island, a coral reef covering 13 square kilometers in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, Silverman et al. show that the total calcification rates (the rate of calcification minus the rate of dissolution) in these coral communities have decreased by 44% over the past 40 years; the decrease appears to stem from a threefold reduction in calcification rates during nighttime.

  2. Predicting climate-driven regime shifts versus rebound potential in coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Jennings, Simon; MacNeil, M Aaron; Mouillot, David; Wilson, Shaun K

    2015-02-05

    Climate-induced coral bleaching is among the greatest current threats to coral reefs, causing widespread loss of live coral cover. Conditions under which reefs bounce back from bleaching events or shift from coral to algal dominance are unknown, making it difficult to predict and plan for differing reef responses under climate change. Here we document and predict long-term reef responses to a major climate-induced coral bleaching event that caused unprecedented region-wide mortality of Indo-Pacific corals. Following loss of >90% live coral cover, 12 of 21 reefs recovered towards pre-disturbance live coral states, while nine reefs underwent regime shifts to fleshy macroalgae. Functional diversity of associated reef fish communities shifted substantially following bleaching, returning towards pre-disturbance structure on recovering reefs, while becoming progressively altered on regime shifting reefs. We identified threshold values for a range of factors that accurately predicted ecosystem response to the bleaching event. Recovery was favoured when reefs were structurally complex and in deeper water, when density of juvenile corals and herbivorous fishes was relatively high and when nutrient loads were low. Whether reefs were inside no-take marine reserves had no bearing on ecosystem trajectory. Although conditions governing regime shift or recovery dynamics were diverse, pre-disturbance quantification of simple factors such as structural complexity and water depth accurately predicted ecosystem trajectories. These findings foreshadow the likely divergent but predictable outcomes for reef ecosystems in response to climate change, thus guiding improved management and adaptation.

  3. Sewage impacts coral reefs at multiple levels of ecological organization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reopanichkul, Pasinee; Schlacher, Thomas A; Carter, R W; Worachananant, Suchai

    2009-09-01

    Against a backdrop of rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification which pose global threats to coral reefs, excess nutrients and turbidity continue to be significant stressors at regional and local scales. Because interventions usually require local data on pollution impacts, we measured ecological responses to sewage discharges in Surin Marine Park, Thailand. Wastewater disposal significantly increased inorganic nutrients and turbidity levels, and this degradation in water quality resulted in substantial ecological shifts in the form of (i) increased macroalgal density and species richness, (ii) lower cover of hard corals, and (iii) significant declines in fish abundance. Thus, the effects of nutrient pollution and turbidity can cascade across several levels of ecological organization to change key properties of the benthos and fish on coral reefs. Maintenance or restoration of ecological reef health requires improved wastewater management and run-off control for reefs to deliver their valuable ecosystems services.

  4. A unified model explains commonness and rarity on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Connolly, Sean R; Hughes, Terry P; Bellwood, David R

    2017-04-01

    Abundance patterns in ecological communities have important implications for biodiversity maintenance and ecosystem functioning. However, ecological theory has been largely unsuccessful at capturing multiple macroecological abundance patterns simultaneously. Here, we propose a parsimonious model that unifies widespread ecological relationships involving local aggregation, species-abundance distributions, and species associations, and we test this model against the metacommunity structure of reef-building corals and coral reef fishes across the western and central Pacific. For both corals and fishes, the unified model simultaneously captures extremely well local species-abundance distributions, interspecific variation in the strength of spatial aggregation, patterns of community similarity, species accumulation, and regional species richness, performing far better than alternative models also examined here and in previous work on coral reefs. Our approach contributes to the development of synthetic theory for large-scale patterns of community structure in nature, and to addressing ongoing challenges in biodiversity conservation at macroecological scales.

  5. Otolith growth of Springer's demoiselle, Chrysiptera springeri (Pomacentridae, Allen & Lubbock), on a protected and non-protected coral reef

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Retzel, A.; Hansen, A.D.; Grønkjær, P.

    2007-01-01

    The structural complexity of coral reefs is important for their function as shelter and feeding habitats for coral reef fishes, but physical disturbance by human activities often reduce complexity of the reefs by selectively destroying fragile and more complex coral species. The damselfish Springer......'s demoiselle Chrysiptera springeri primarily utilize complex coral heads for shelter and are hence vulnerable to human disturbance. In order to evaluate the potential effect of habitat degradation on juvenile fish growth, coral reef cover, fish age at settling and otolith growth, juvenile Springer's demoiselle...... was investigated on a protected and non-protected coral reef in Darvel Bay, Borneo. The protected reef had higher coverage of complex branching corals and exhibited a more complex 3-dimensional structure than the non-protected reef. Springer's demoiselle settled at the same age on non-protected and protected reefs...

  6. Coral Reef Watch, Hotspots, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch provides Coral Bleaching hotspot maps derived from NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). This data provides global area...

  7. Global warming and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    photosynthesis and survival of coral planulae, etc. Unfortunately, no such studies have been carried out on Indian corals so far, and a visualization of what will happen to Indian reefs if sea level rises rapidly will have to be constructed based on such dat... susceptible, as plankton living near the sea surface, and as hosts deriving nutri tional benefits from zooxanthtllar photosynthesis, which itself is susceptible to UV-B damage. Contrary to the misconception that UV is absorbed by the sea water, UV penetrates...

  8. Long-term exposure to elevated carbon dioxide does not alter activity levels of a coral reef fish in response to predator chemical cues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sundin, Josefin; Amcoff, Mirjam; Mateos-González, Fernando; Raby, Graham D; Jutfelt, Fredrik; Clark, Timothy D

    2017-01-01

    Levels of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) projected to occur in the world's oceans in the near future have been reported to increase swimming activity and impair predator recognition in coral reef fishes. These behavioral alterations would be expected to have dramatic effects on survival and community dynamics in marine ecosystems in the future. To investigate the universality and replicability of these observations, we used juvenile spiny chromis damselfish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) to examine the effects of long-term CO2 exposure on routine activity and the behavioral response to the chemical cues of a predator (Cephalopholis urodeta). Commencing at ~3-20 days post-hatch, juvenile damselfish were exposed to present-day CO2 levels (~420 μatm) or to levels forecasted for the year 2100 (~1000 μatm) for 3 months of their development. Thereafter, we assessed routine activity before and after injections of seawater (sham injection, control) or seawater-containing predator chemical cues. There was no effect of CO2 treatment on routine activity levels before or after the injections. All fish decreased their swimming activity following the predator cue injection but not following the sham injection, regardless of CO2 treatment. Our results corroborate findings from a growing number of studies reporting limited or no behavioral responses of fishes to elevated CO2. Alarmingly, it has been reported that levels of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) forecasted for the year 2100 cause coral reef fishes to be attracted to the chemical cues of predators. However, most studies have exposed the fish to CO2 for very short periods before behavioral testing. Using long-term acclimation to elevated CO2 and automated tracking software, we found that fish exposed to elevated CO2 showed the same behavioral patterns as control fish exposed to present-day CO2 levels. Specifically, activity levels were the same between groups, and fish acclimated to elevated CO2 decreased their swimming

  9. Cyanobacteria in Coral Reef Ecosystems: A Review

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Charpy

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Cyanobacteria have dominated marine environments and have been reef builders on Earth for more than three million years (myr. Cyanobacteria still play an essential role in modern coral reef ecosystems by forming a major component of epiphytic, epilithic, and endolithic communities as well as of microbial mats. Cyanobacteria are grazed by reef organisms and also provide nitrogen to the coral reef ecosystems through nitrogen fixation. Recently, new unicellular cyanobacteria that express nitrogenase were found in the open ocean and in coral reef lagoons. Furthermore, cyanobacteria are important in calcification and decalcification. All limestone surfaces have a layer of boring algae in which cyanobacteria often play a dominant role. Cyanobacterial symbioses are abundant in coral reefs; the most common hosts are sponges and ascidians. Cyanobacteria use tactics beyond space occupation to inhibit coral recruitment. Cyanobacteria can also form pathogenic microbial consortia in association with other microbes on living coral tissues, causing coral tissue lysis and death, and considerable declines in coral reefs. In deep lagoons, coccoid cyanobacteria are abundant and are grazed by ciliates, heteroflagellates, and the benthic coral reef community. Cyanobacteria produce metabolites that act as attractants for some species and deterrents for some grazers of the reef communities.

  10. Cyanobacteria in coral reef ecosystems : a review

    OpenAIRE

    Charpy, L.; Casareto, B.E.; Langlade, M. J.; Suzuki, Y.

    2012-01-01

    Cyanobacteria have dominated marine environments and have been reef builders on Earth for more than three million years (myr). Cyanobacteria still play an essential role in modern coral reef ecosystems by forming a major component of epiphytic, epilithic, and endolithic communities as well as of microbial mats. Cyanobacteria are grazed by reef organisms and also provide nitrogen to the coral reef ecosystems through nitrogen fixation. Recently, new unicellular cyanobacteria that express nitrog...

  11. Using underwater cameras to assess the effects of snorkeler and SCUBA diver presence on coral reef fish abundance, family richness, and species composition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dearden, P; Theberge, M; Yasué, M

    2010-04-01

    The results of underwater visual fish censuses (UVC) could be affected by fish changing their behavior in response to the snorkeler or diver conducting the survey. We used an underwater video camera to assess how fish abundance, family richness, and community composition were affected by the presence of snorkelers (n = 12) and self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) divers (n = 6) on a coral reef in Thailand. The total number of families, abundance of some fish families, and overall species composition showed significant differences before and during snorkeling disturbances. We did not detect significant and consistent changes to these parameters in the presence of a SCUBA diver; however, this could be a result of lower statistical power. We suggest that the use of a stationary video camera may help cross-check data that is collected through UVC to assess the true family composition and document the presence of rare and easily disturbed species.

  12. Isotopic signatures, foraging habitats and trophic relationships between fish and seasnakes on the coral reefs of New Caledonia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brischoux, F.; Bonnet, X.; Cherel, Y.; Shine, R.

    2011-03-01

    A predator's species, sex and body size can influence the types of prey that it consumes, but why? Do such dietary divergences result from differences in foraging habitats, or reflect differential ability to locate, capture or ingest different types of prey? That question is difficult to answer if foraging occurs in places that preclude direct observation. In New Caledonia, amphibious sea kraits ( Laticauda laticaudata and L. saintgironsi) mostly eat eels—but the species consumed differ between snake species and vary with snake body size and sex. Because the snakes capture eels within crevices on the sea floor, it is not possible to observe snake foraging on any quantitative basis. We used stable isotopes to investigate habitat-divergence and ontogenetic shifts in feeding habits of sympatric species of sea kraits. Similarities in δ15 N (~10.5‰) values suggest that the two snake species occupy similar trophic levels in the coral-reef foodweb. However, δ13C values differed among the eight eel species consumed by snakes, as well as between the two snake species, and were linked to habitat types. Specifically, δ13C differed between soft- vs. hard-substrate eel species, and consistently differed between the soft-bottom forager L. laticaudata (~ -14.7‰) and the hard-bottom forager L. saintgironsi (~ -12.5‰). Differences in isotopic signatures within and between the two sea krait species and their prey were consistent with the hypothesis of habitat-based dietary divergence. Isotopic composition varied with body size within each of the snake species and varied with body size within some eel species, reflecting ontogenetic shifts in feeding habits of both the sea kraits and their prey. Our results support the findings of previous studies based on snake stomach contents, indicating that further studies could usefully expand these isotopic analyses to a broader range of trophic levels, fish species and spatial scales.

  13. First record of Gnathia sp. an ectoparasitic isopod isolated from the coral reef fish, Heniochus acuminatus collected from the Gulf of Mannar region, southeast coast of India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jayanthi, G; Anand, M; Chelladurai, G; Kumaraguru, A K

    2017-03-01

    An ectoparasitic isopod, Gnathia sp. was found in the Gill chambers of Heniochus acuminatus collected from the Gulf of Mannar region, Southeast coast of India. The present study signifies the new record of Gnathia sp. an coral reef ectoparasitic isopod captured from the gill net during October 2014. Among the 36 specimens examined 5 specimens were infested with Pranzia larvae of Gnathia sp. The size of the isopods were ranged from 1.5 to 3.2 mm and the host fish length varied between 119 and 230 mm. They were specifically found attached to the gill chambers and no damage observed in the lamellar pattern.

  14. Host-dependent differences in resource use associated with Anilocra spp. parasitism in two coral reef fishes, as revealed by stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Welicky, Rachel; Demopoulos, Amanda W. J.; Sikkel, Paul C.

    2017-01-01

    The role of parasites in trophic ecology is poorly understood in marine ecosystems. Stable isotope analyses (SIA) have been widely used in studies of trophic ecology, but have rarely been applied to study the role of parasites. Considering that some parasites are associated with altered host foraging patterns, SIA can help elucidate whether parasitism influences host trophic interactions. French grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum), an abundant Caribbean coral reef fish, contributes greatly to trophic connectivity. They typically depart the reef at dusk, feed overnight in seagrass beds, and return to the reef at dawn. The large parasitic isopod Anilocra haemuli commonly infects French grunt, and infected fish are less likely to complete their diel migration, and are in poorer condition than uninfected conspecifics. Brown chromis (Chromis multilineata) are diurnally feeding planktivores and infection by Anilocra chromis does not influence host condition. To determine if Anilocra infection influences host diet and foraging locality, we conducted stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses on scale, muscle, heart and gill tissues of infected and uninfected French grunt and brown chromis. We determined that all French grunt had δ13C values representative of seagrass habitats, but infected French grunt were significantly enriched in 13C and 15N compared to uninfected conspecifics. This suggests that compared to uninfected conspecifics, infected French grunt forage in seagrass, but on isotopically enriched prey, and/or are in poorer condition, which can elevate δ13C and δ15N values. For brown chromis, infection did not significantly influence any δ13C and δ15N values; hence they all foraged in the same environment and on similar prey. This is the first study to use SIA to examine differences in resource use by Caribbean coral reef fishes associated with parasitism and to evaluate how closely related parasites might have host-dependent effects on host trophic ecology.

  15. Population connectivity and the effectiveness of marine protected areas to protect vulnerable, exploited and endemic coral reef fishes at an endemic hotspot

    KAUST Repository

    Van Der Meer, Martin H.

    2014-12-23

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) aim to mitigate anthropogenic impacts by conserving biodiversity and preventing overfishing. The effectiveness of MPAs depends on population connectivity patterns between protected and non-protected areas. Remote islands are endemism hotspots for coral reef fishes and provide rare examples of coral reefs with limited fishing pressure. This study explored population genetic connectivity across a network of protected and non-protected areas for the endemic wrasse, Coris bulbifrons, which is listed as “vulnerable” by the IUCN due to its small, decreasing geographic range and declining abundance. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and microsatellite DNA (msatDNA) markers were used to estimate historic and contemporary gene flow to determine the level of population self-replenishment and to measure genetic and genotypic diversity among all four locations in the species range (south-west Pacific Ocean)—Middleton Reef (MR), Elizabeth Reef (ER), Lord Howe Island (LHI) and Norfolk Island (NI). MPAs exist at MR and LHI and are limited or non-existent at ER and NI, respectively. There was no obvious differentiation in mtDNA among locations, however, msatDNA revealed differentiation between the most peripheral (NI) and all remaining locations (MR, ER and LHI). Despite high mtDNA connectivity (M = 259–1,144), msatDNA connectivity was limited (M = 3–9) with high self-replenishment (68–93 %) at all locations. NI is the least connected and heavily reliant on self-replenishment, and the absence of MPAs at NI needs to be rectified to ensure the persistence of endemic species at this location. Other endemic fishes exhibit similar patterns of high self-replenishment across the four locations, indicating that a single spatial management approach consisting of a MPA network protecting part of each location could provide reasonable protection for these species. Thus, the existing network of MPAs at this endemic hotspot appears adequate at some locations

  16. Population connectivity and the effectiveness of marine protected areas to protect vulnerable, exploited and endemic coral reef fishes at an endemic hotspot

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Meer, M. H.; Berumen, M. L.; Hobbs, J.-P. A.; van Herwerden, L.

    2015-06-01

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) aim to mitigate anthropogenic impacts by conserving biodiversity and preventing overfishing. The effectiveness of MPAs depends on population connectivity patterns between protected and non-protected areas. Remote islands are endemism hotspots for coral reef fishes and provide rare examples of coral reefs with limited fishing pressure. This study explored population genetic connectivity across a network of protected and non-protected areas for the endemic wrasse, Coris bulbifrons, which is listed as "vulnerable" by the IUCN due to its small, decreasing geographic range and declining abundance. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and microsatellite DNA (msatDNA) markers were used to estimate historic and contemporary gene flow to determine the level of population self-replenishment and to measure genetic and genotypic diversity among all four locations in the species range (south-west Pacific Ocean)—Middleton Reef (MR), Elizabeth Reef (ER), Lord Howe Island (LHI) and Norfolk Island (NI). MPAs exist at MR and LHI and are limited or non-existent at ER and NI, respectively. There was no obvious differentiation in mtDNA among locations, however, msatDNA revealed differentiation between the most peripheral (NI) and all remaining locations (MR, ER and LHI). Despite high mtDNA connectivity ( M = 259-1,144), msatDNA connectivity was limited ( M = 3-9) with high self-replenishment (68-93 %) at all locations. NI is the least connected and heavily reliant on self-replenishment, and the absence of MPAs at NI needs to be rectified to ensure the persistence of endemic species at this location. Other endemic fishes exhibit similar patterns of high self-replenishment across the four locations, indicating that a single spatial management approach consisting of a MPA network protecting part of each location could provide reasonable protection for these species. Thus, the existing network of MPAs at this endemic hotspot appears adequate at some locations, but not

  17. Sediments and herbivory as sensitive indicators of coral reef degradation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher H. R. Goatley

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Around the world, the decreasing health of coral reef ecosystems has highlighted the need to better understand the processes of reef degradation. The development of more sensitive tools, which complement traditional methods of monitoring coral reefs, may reveal earlier signs of degradation and provide an opportunity for pre-emptive responses. We identify new, sensitive metrics of ecosystem processes and benthic composition that allow us to quantify subtle, yet destabilizing, changes in the ecosystem state of an inshore coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef. Following severe climatic disturbances over the period 2011-2012, the herbivorous reef fish community of the reef did not change in terms of biomass or functional groups present. However, fish-based ecosystem processes showed marked changes, with grazing by herbivorous fishes declining by over 90%. On the benthos, algal turf lengths in the epilithic algal matrix increased more than 50% while benthic sediment loads increased 37-fold. The profound changes in processes, despite no visible change in ecosystem state, i.e., no shift to macroalgal dominance, suggest that although the reef has not undergone a visible regime-shift, the ecosystem is highly unstable, and may sit on an ecological knife-edge. Sensitive, process-based metrics of ecosystem state, such as grazing or browsing rates thus appear to be effective in detecting subtle signs of degradation and may be critical in identifying ecosystems at risk for the future.

  18. Working with, not against, coral-reef fisheries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Birkeland, Charles

    2017-03-01

    The fisheries policies of some Pacific island nations are more appropriate to the biology of their resources than are some of the fisheries policies of more industrialized countries. Exclusive local ownership of natural resources in Palau encourages adjustive management on biologically relevant scales of time and space and promotes responsibility by reducing the tragedy of the commons. The presence of large individuals in fish populations and adequate size of spawning aggregations are more efficient and meaningful cues for timely management than are surveys of abundance or biomass. Taking fish from populations more than halfway to their carrying capacity is working favorably with the fishery because removing fish potentially increases resource stability by negative feedback between stock size and population production. Taking the same amount of fish from a population below half its carrying capacity is working against the fishery, making the population unstable, because reducing the reproductive stock potentially accelerates reduction of the population production by positive feedback. Reef fish are consumed locally, while Palauan laws ban the export of reef resources. This is consistent with the high gross primary production with little excess net production from undisturbed coral-reef ecosystems. The relatively rapid growth rates, short life spans, reliable recruitment and wide-ranging movements of open-ocean fishes such as scombrids make them much more productive than coral-reef fishes. The greater fisheries yield per square kilometer in the open ocean multiplied by well over a thousand times the area of the exclusive economic zone than that of Palau's coral reefs should encourage Palauans to keep reef fishes for subsistence and to feed tourists open-ocean fishes. Fisheries having only artisanal means should be encouraged to increase the yield and sustainability by moving away from coral reefs to bulk harvesting of nearshore pelagics.

  19. Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program Fish Monitoring Brief: Pacific Remote Island Areas 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Two-page summary outlines reef fish and benthic habitat survey efforts conducted by the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) at Wake Atoll NWR in 2014

  20. Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program Fish Monitoring Brief: Pacific Remote Island Areas 2012

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Two-page summary outlines reef fish and benthic habitat survey efforts conducted by the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) at Howland Island, Baker Island,...

  1. Acoustical Measurement and Biot Model for Coral Reef Detection and Quantification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Henry M. Manik

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Coral reefs are coastal resources and very useful for marine ecosystems. Nowadays, the existence of coral reefs is seriously threatened due to the activities of blast fishing, coral mining, marine sedimentation, pollution, and global climate change. To determine the existence of coral reefs, it is necessary to study them comprehensively. One method to study a coral reef by using a propagation of sound waves is proposed. In this research, the measurement of reflection coefficient, transmission coefficient, acoustic backscattering, hardness, and roughness of coral reefs has been conducted using acoustic instruments and numerical modeling using Biot theory. The results showed that the quantification of the acoustic backscatter can classify the type of coral reef.

  2. Temperature influences selective mortality during the early life stages of a coral reef fish.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tauna L Rankin

    Full Text Available For organisms with complex life cycles, processes occurring at the interface between life stages can disproportionately impact survival and population dynamics. Temperature is an important factor influencing growth in poikilotherms, and growth-related processes are frequently correlated with survival. We examined the influence of water temperature on growth-related early life history traits (ELHTs and differential mortality during the transition from larval to early juvenile stage in sixteen monthly cohorts of bicolor damselfish Stegastes partitus, sampled on reefs of the upper Florida Keys, USA over 6 years. Otolith analysis of settlers and juveniles coupled with environmental data revealed that mean near-reef water temperature explained a significant proportion of variation in pelagic larval duration (PLD, early larval growth, size-at-settlement, and growth during early juvenile life. Among all cohorts, surviving juveniles were consistently larger at settlement, but grew more slowly during the first 6 d post-settlement. For the other ELHTs, selective mortality varied seasonally: during winter and spring months, survivors exhibited faster larval growth and shorter PLDs, whereas during warmer summer months, selection on PLD reversed and selection on larval growth became non-linear. Our results demonstrate that temperature not only shapes growth-related traits, but can also influence the direction and intensity of selective mortality.

  3. Forest conservation delivers highly variable coral reef conservation outcomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klein, Carissa J; Jupiter, Stacy D; Selig, Elizabeth R; Watts, Matthew E; Halpern, Benjamin S; Kamal, Muhammad; Roelfsema, Chris; Possingham, Hugh P

    2012-06-01

    Coral reefs are threatened by human activities on both the land (e.g., deforestation) and the sea (e.g., overfishing). Most conservation planning for coral reefs focuses on removing threats in the sea, neglecting management actions on the land. A more integrated approach to coral reef conservation, inclusive of land-sea connections, requires an understanding of how and where terrestrial conservation actions influence reefs. We address this by developing a land-sea planning approach to inform fine-scale spatial management decisions and test it in Fiji. Our aim is to determine where the protection of forest can deliver the greatest return on investment for coral reef ecosystems. To assess the benefits of conservation to coral reefs, we estimate their relative condition as influenced by watershed-based pollution and fishing. We calculate the cost-effectiveness of protecting forest and find that investments deliver rapidly diminishing returns for improvements to relative reef condition. For example, protecting 2% of forest in one area is almost 500 times more beneficial than protecting 2% in another area, making prioritization essential. For the scenarios evaluated, relative coral reef condition could be improved by 8-58% if all remnant forest in Fiji were protected rather than deforested. Finally, we determine the priority of each coral reef for implementing a marine protected area when all remnant forest is protected for conservation. The general results will support decisions made by the Fiji Protected Area Committee as they establish a national protected area network that aims to protect 20% of the land and 30% of the inshore waters by 2020. Although challenges remain, we can inform conservation decisions around the globe by tackling the complex issues relevant to integrated land-sea planning.

  4. Hawaii Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP): Fish Data from 2000 (NODC Accession 0000758)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset consists of CRAMP surveys taken in 2000 and includes quantitative estimates of fish species richness, abundance, and biomass. There are 32 survey sites,...

  5. Hawaii Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP): Fish Data from 2000 (NODC Accession 0000757)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This dataset consists of CRAMP surveys taken in 2000 and includes quantitative estimates of fish species richness, abundance, and biomass. There are 32 survey sites,...

  6. Variation in the composition of corals, fishes, sponges, echinoderms, ascidians, molluscs, foraminifera and macroalgae across a pronounced in-to-offshore environmental gradient in the Jakarta Bay-Thousand Islands coral reef complex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cleary, D F R; Polónia, A R M; Renema, W; Hoeksema, B W; Rachello-Dolmen, P G; Moolenbeek, R G; Budiyanto, A; Yahmantoro; Tuti, Y; Giyanto; Draisma, S G A; Prud'homme van Reine, W F; Hariyanto, R; Gittenberger, A; Rikoh, M S; de Voogd, N J

    2016-09-30

    Substrate cover, water quality parameters and assemblages of corals, fishes, sponges, echinoderms, ascidians, molluscs, benthic foraminifera and macroalgae were sampled across a pronounced environmental gradient in the Jakarta Bay-Thousand Islands reef complex. Inshore sites mainly consisted of sand, rubble and turf algae with elevated temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH and chlorophyll concentrations and depauperate assemblages of all taxa. Live coral cover was very low inshore and mainly consisted of sparse massive coral heads and a few encrusting species. Faunal assemblages were more speciose and compositionally distinct mid- and offshore compared to inshore. There were, however, small-scale differences among taxa. Certain midshore sites, for example, housed assemblages resembling those typical of the inshore environment but this differed depending on the taxon. Substrate, water quality and spatial variables together explained from 31% (molluscs) to 72% (foraminifera) of the variation in composition. In general, satellite-derived parameters outperformed locally measured parameters.

  7. Resilience potential of an Indian Ocean reef: an assessment through coral recruitment pattern and survivability of juvenile corals to recurrent stress events.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manikandan, Balakrishnan; Ravindran, Jeyaraman; Vidya, Pottekkatt Jayabalan; Shrinivasu, Selvaraju; Manimurali, Rajagopal; Paramasivam, Kaliyaperumal

    2017-05-01

    Coral reefs are degraded by the synergistic action of climate and anthropogenic stressors. Coral cover in the Palk Bay reef at the northern Indian Ocean largely declined in the past decade due to frequent bleaching events, tsunami and increased fishing activities. In this study, we carried out a comparative assessment to assess the differences in the recovery and resilience of three spatially distant reefs viz. Vedhalai, Mandapam and Pamban along Palk Bay affected by moderate, severe and low fishing pressure respectively. The assessment was based on the juvenile coral recruitment pattern and its survivability combined with availability of hard substratum, live coral cover and herbivore reef fish stock. The Vedhalai reef has the highest coral cover (14.6 ± 6.3%), and ≥90% of the live corals in Vedhalai and Mandapam were affected by turf algal overgrowth. The density of herbivore reef fish was low in Vedhalai and Mandapam reefs compared to the Pamban reef with relatively few grazing species. The juvenile coral diversity and density were high in the Pamban reef and low in Vedhalai and Mandapam reefs despite high hard substratum cover. In total, 22 species of juvenile corals of 10 genera were recorded in Palk Bay. Comparison of the species diversity of juvenile corals with adult ones suggested that the Pamban reef is connected with other distant reefs whereas Vedhalai and Mandapam reefs were self-seeded. There was no statistically significant difference in the survivability of juvenile corals between the study sites, and in total, ≥90% of the juvenile corals survived the high sedimentation stress triggered by the northeast monsoon and bleaching stress that occurred recurrently. Our results indicated that the human activities indirectly affected the juvenile coral recruitment by degrading the live coral cover and contributed to the spatial variation in the recovery and resilience of the Palk Bay reef. Low species diversity of the juvenile corals will increase the

  8. Lost opportunities: coral recruitment does not translate to reef recovery in the Florida Keys.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Woesik, Robert; Scott, William J; Aronson, Richard B

    2014-11-15

    We tested the hypothesis that the poor recovery of the coral populations on reefs in the Florida Keys is related to low coral recruitment. In the summer of 2011, we deployed 240 terracotta tiles at eight study sites in a balanced design: (i) among three depths; and (ii) between fished and unfished reefs. Corals recruited to ∼ 40% of the deployed tiles, with more corals settling on tiles on unfished reefs than on fished reefs. The apparent effect of protection was not a consequence of different densities of herbivorous fishes, but was more likely related to local hydrography and the tendency of the no-take reserves to act as larval sinks, particularly in the lower Florida Keys. There was a mismatch between the coral taxa that recruited and the adult coral assemblages, suggesting that recruits were arriving but not surviving to contribute to coral recovery.

  9. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.; Wafar, S.; David, J.J.

    cells cmP2 (Drew 1972), it is reasonable to expect that nitrification will have to compete with assimilatory re- moval of NH,+. The relative importance of NH4+ flux in these two pathways can be evaluated with the present data on NO,- production... about the means in the es- timates, this correspondence shows that bacterial nitrification effectively competes with autotrophic uptake of NH,+ in coral- zooxanthellae symbiosis. In fact, our nitrification rates would be underestimates since losses...

  10. Human activity selectively impacts the ecosystem roles of parrotfishes on coral reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bellwood, David R.

    2011-11-16

    Around the globe, coral reefs and other marine ecosystems are increasingly overfished. Conventionally, studies of fishing impacts have focused on the population size and dynamics of targeted stocks rather than the broader ecosystem-wide effects of harvesting. Using parrotfishes as an example, we show how coral reef fish populations respond to escalating fishing pressure across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Based on these fish abundance data, we infer the potential impact on four key functional roles performed by parrotfishes. Rates of bioerosion and coral predation are highly sensitive to human activity, whereas grazing and sediment removal are resilient to fishing. Our results offer new insights into the vulnerability and resilience of coral reefs to the ever-growing human footprint. The depletion of fishes causes differential decline of key ecosystem functions, radically changing the dynamics of coral reefs and setting the stage for future ecological surprises. © 2011 The Royal Society.

  11. Small cryptopredators contribute to high predation rates on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goatley, Christopher H. R.; González-Cabello, Alonso; Bellwood, David R.

    2017-03-01

    Small fishes suffer high mortality rates on coral reefs, primarily due to predation. Although studies have identified the predators of early post-settlement fishes, the predators of small cryptobenthic fishes remain largely unknown. We therefore used a series of mesocosm experiments with natural habitat and cryptobenthic fish communities to identify the impacts of a range of small potential predators, including several invertebrates, on prey fish populations. While there was high variability in predation rates, many members of the cryptobenthic fish community act as facultative cryptopredators, being prey when small and piscivores when larger. Surprisingly, we also found that smashing mantis shrimps may be important fish predators. Our results highlight the diversity of the predatory community on coral reefs and identify previously unknown trophic links in these complex ecosystems.

  12. 78 FR 67128 - Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-08

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting AGENCY: Coral Reef... of public comment. SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task... to do so. Established by Presidential Executive Order 13089 in 1998, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force...

  13. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef communities in Puerto Rico using the Coral Demographics method

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Coral Demographic method is one of two benthic surveys conducted in Puerto Rico as part of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP). The coral...

  14. ENERGETIC EXTREMES IN A HOSTILE HABITAT: FISH LOCOMOTION ON WAVE-SWEPT CORAL REEFS

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Steffensen, John Fleng

    2010-01-01

    Fulton, C.J., Johansen, J. L. and Steffensen, J.F. Abstract: Shallow wave-swept habitats are a major challenge for fish locomotion, where crashing waves produce water flows equivalent to cyclone-force winds. Here we document the exceptional locomotor energetics of Bluelined wrasse (Stethojulis...

  15. Assessing the effect of marine reserves on household food security in Kenyan coral reef fishing communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darling, Emily S

    2014-01-01

    Measuring the success or failure of natural resource management is a key challenge to evaluate the impact of conservation for ecological, economic and social outcomes. Marine reserves are a popular tool for managing coastal ecosystems and resources yet surprisingly few studies have quantified the social-economic impacts of marine reserves on food security despite the critical importance of this outcome for fisheries management in developing countries. Here, I conducted semi-structured household surveys with 113 women heads-of-households to investigate the influence of two old, well-enforced, no-take marine reserves on food security in four coastal fishing communities in Kenya, East Africa. Multi-model information-theoretic inference and matching methods found that marine reserves did not influence household food security, as measured by protein consumption, diet diversity and food coping strategies. Instead, food security was strongly influenced by fishing livelihoods and household wealth: fishing families and wealthier households were more food secure than non-fishing and poorer households. These findings highlight the importance of complex social and economic landscapes of livelihoods, urbanization, power and gender dynamics that can drive the outcomes of marine conservation and management.

  16. Assessing the effect of marine reserves on household food security in Kenyan coral reef fishing communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emily S Darling

    Full Text Available Measuring the success or failure of natural resource management is a key challenge to evaluate the impact of conservation for ecological, economic and social outcomes. Marine reserves are a popular tool for managing coastal ecosystems and resources yet surprisingly few studies have quantified the social-economic impacts of marine reserves on food security despite the critical importance of this outcome for fisheries management in developing countries. Here, I conducted semi-structured household surveys with 113 women heads-of-households to investigate the influence of two old, well-enforced, no-take marine reserves on food security in four coastal fishing communities in Kenya, East Africa. Multi-model information-theoretic inference and matching methods found that marine reserves did not influence household food security, as measured by protein consumption, diet diversity and food coping strategies. Instead, food security was strongly influenced by fishing livelihoods and household wealth: fishing families and wealthier households were more food secure than non-fishing and poorer households. These findings highlight the importance of complex social and economic landscapes of livelihoods, urbanization, power and gender dynamics that can drive the outcomes of marine conservation and management.

  17. High prevalence of dermal parasites among coral reef fishes of Curaçao

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    M.A. Bernal; S.R. Floeter; M.R. Gaither; G.O. Longo; R. Morais; C.E.L. Ferreira; M.J.A. Vermeij; L.A. Rocha

    2015-01-01

    During expeditions to Curaçao in August and October of 2013, a large number of fish infected with dermal parasites was observed. Infected individuals presented black spots and white blemishes on their skin and fins that were easily observed by divers, and which have been associated with infections b

  18. High prevalence of dermal parasites among coral reef fishes of Curaçao

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bernal, M.A.; Floeter, S.R.; Gaither, M.R.; Longo, G.O.; Morais, R.; Ferreira, C.E.L.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Rocha, L.A.

    2016-01-01

    During expeditions to Curaçao in August and October of 2013, a large number of fish infected with dermal parasites was observed. Infected individuals presented black spots and white blemishes on their skin and fins that were easily observed by divers, and which have been associated with infections b

  19. Assessing the Effect of Marine Reserves on Household Food Security in Kenyan Coral Reef Fishing Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darling, Emily S.

    2014-01-01

    Measuring the success or failure of natural resource management is a key challenge to evaluate the impact of conservation for ecological, economic and social outcomes. Marine reserves are a popular tool for managing coastal ecosystems and resources yet surprisingly few studies have quantified the social-economic impacts of marine reserves on food security despite the critical importance of this outcome for fisheries management in developing countries. Here, I conducted semi-structured household surveys with 113 women heads-of-households to investigate the influence of two old, well-enforced, no-take marine reserves on food security in four coastal fishing communities in Kenya, East Africa. Multi-model information-theoretic inference and matching methods found that marine reserves did not influence household food security, as measured by protein consumption, diet diversity and food coping strategies. Instead, food security was strongly influenced by fishing livelihoods and household wealth: fishing families and wealthier households were more food secure than non-fishing and poorer households. These findings highlight the importance of complex social and economic landscapes of livelihoods, urbanization, power and gender dynamics that can drive the outcomes of marine conservation and management. PMID:25422888

  20. Validation of microsatellite multiplexes for parentage analysis and species discrimination in two hybridizing species of coral reef fish (Plectropomus spp., Serranidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, Hugo B; Feldheim, Kevin A; Jones, Geoffrey P; Ma, Kayan; Mansour, Hicham; Perumal, Sadhasivam; Williamson, David H; Berumen, Michael L

    2014-06-01

    Microsatellites are often considered ideal markers to investigate ecological processes in animal populations. They are regularly used as genetic barcodes to identify species, individuals, and infer familial relationships. However, such applications are highly sensitive the number and diversity of microsatellite markers, which are also prone to error. Here, we propose a novel framework to assess the suitability of microsatellite datasets for parentage analysis and species discrimination in two closely related species of coral reef fish, Plectropomus leopardus and P. maculatus (Serranidae). Coral trout are important fisheries species throughout the Indo-Pacific region and have been shown to hybridize in parts of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. We first describe the development of 25 microsatellite loci and their integration to three multiplex PCRs that co-amplify in both species. Using simulations, we demonstrate that the complete suite of markers provides appropriate power to discriminate between species, detect hybrid individuals, and resolve parent-offspring relationships in natural populations, with over 99.6% accuracy in parent-offspring assignments. The markers were also tested on seven additional species within the Plectropomus genus with polymorphism in 28-96% of loci. The multiplex PCRs developed here provide a reliable and cost-effective strategy to investigate evolutionary and ecological dynamics and will be broadly applicable in studies of wild populations and aquaculture brood stocks for these closely related fish species.

  1. Validation of microsatellite multiplexes for parentage analysis and species discrimination in two hybridizing species of coral reef fish (Plectropomus spp., Serranidae)

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, H.B.

    2014-04-24

    Microsatellites are often considered ideal markers to investigate ecological processes in animal populations. They are regularly used as genetic barcodes to identify species, individuals, and infer familial relationships. However, such applications are highly sensitive the number and diversity of microsatellite markers, which are also prone to error. Here, we propose a novel framework to assess the suitability of microsatellite datasets for parentage analysis and species discrimination in two closely related species of coral reef fish, Plectropomus leopardus and P. maculatus (Serranidae). Coral trout are important fisheries species throughout the Indo-Pacific region and have been shown to hybridize in parts of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. We first describe the development of 25 microsatellite loci and their integration to three multiplex PCRs that co-amplify in both species. Using simulations, we demonstrate that the complete suite of markers provides appropriate power to discriminate between species, detect hybrid individuals, and resolve parent-offspring relationships in natural populations, with over 99.6% accuracy in parent-offspring assignments. The markers were also tested on seven additional species within the Plectropomus genus with polymorphism in 28-96% of loci. The multiplex PCRs developed here provide a reliable and cost-effective strategy to investigate evolutionary and ecological dynamics and will be broadly applicable in studies of wild populations and aquaculture brood stocks for these closely related fish species. 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. Fish survey data from Uva Island reef, Panama

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This project examines an eastern Pacific fish assemblage associated with a 2.5 hectare coral reef located within the boundaries of Coiba National Park, Panama. From...

  3. ENERGETIC EXTREMES IN REEF FISH OCCUPYING HARSH HABITATS

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Steffensen, John Fleng

    2009-01-01

    document how relatively small changes in fin morphology has afforded some coral reef fish taxa with exceptional locomotor performance and energetic efficiency, and how this key attribute may have played a key role in the evolution and ecology of several diverse Indo-Pacific reef fish families. Using......-finned counterparts. We discuss how such differences in locomotor efficiency are pivotal to the habitat-use of these fishes, and how eco-energetic models may be used to provide new insights into spatial variations in fish demography and ecology among coral reef habitat zones....

  4. Photography of Coral Reefs from ISS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Julie A.

    2009-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the uses of photography from the International Space Station (ISS) in studying Earth's coral reefs. The photographs include reefs in various oceans . The photographs have uses for science in assisting NASA mapping initiatives, distribution worldwide through ReefBase, and by biologist in the field.

  5. CORAL REEF BIOLOGICAL CRITERIA: USING THE CLEAN ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are declining at unprecedented rates worldwide due to multiple interactive stressors including climate change and land-based sources of pollution. The Clean Water Act (CWA) can be a powerful legal instrument for protecting water resources, including the biological inhabitants of coral reefs. The objective of the CWA is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of water resources. Coral reef protection and restoration under the Clean Water Act begins with water quality standards - provisions of state or Federal law that consist of a designated use(s) for the waters of the United States and water quality criteria sufficient to protect the uses. Aquatic life use is the designated use that is measured by biological criteria (biocriteria). Biocriteria are expectations set by a jurisdiction for the quality and quantity of living aquatic resources in a defined waterbody. Biocriteria are an important addition to existing management tools for coral reef ecosystems. The Technical Support Document “Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure” will provide a framework to aid States and Territories in their development, adoption, and implementation of coral reef biocriteria in their respective water quality standards. The Technical Support Document “Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure” will provide a framework for coral re

  6. Human Impacts on Coral Reefs in the Sultanate of Oman

    Science.gov (United States)

    Al-Jufaili, S.; Al-Jabri, M.; Al-Baluchi, A.; Baldwin, R. M.; Wilson, S. C.; West, F.; Matthews, A. D.

    1999-08-01

    A rapid assessment survey of the coral reefs of the Sultanate of Oman was conducted by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Environment during the first half of 1996. The survey revealed new information on the distribution pattern of corals in Oman and identified impacts, threats and potential threats to coral communities for the purpose of preparation of a National Coral Reef Management Plan (Phase One of the implementation of a National Coastal Zone Management Plan). Impacts on coral reefs in Oman were found to be attributable to both natural and human causes, resulting in significant and widespread degradation. Damage resulting from fisheries activities was the most commonly recorded human impact, with the most severe effects. Other human impacts resulted from coastal construction, recreational activities, oil pollution and eutrophication. Predation of corals by Acanthaster planci, damage caused by storms, coral diseases and temperature-related stress were the most commonly recorded natural impacts to coral reefs. Further minor natural impacts were attributable to siltation, rock falls and predation by a corallivorous gastropod (Drupella sp.). Significant differences between different areas of the country were found in terms of human impacts on coral reefs and these were related to coastal demography and human activity. Eighty per cent of sites studied were recorded to have been affected by human impacts to some degree. Impacts attributable to fisheries activities were found at 69% of the sites. Lost or abandoned gill nets were found to affect coral reefs at 49% of sites throughout Oman and accounted for 70% of all severe human impacts. Lost gill nets were also found to have a negative affect on fisheries resources and other marine wildlife. Observations of the behaviour of gill nets on coral reefs suggested a predictable pattern of damage over time and a significant increase in damage intensity during storms. Fishing nets were found to act selectively

  7. The functioning of coral reef communities along environmental gradients

    OpenAIRE

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah

    2015-01-01

    One of the primary challenges in ecology is to understand how environmental disturbance affects diversity and community structure, and what are the subsequent consequences on ecosystem functioning. Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet resulting in complex sets of interactions between benthic, habitat-forming constituents and mobile fish consumers. However, scleractinian corals, the primary habitat engineers, are dependent on high-light, low-nutrient water conditio...

  8. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of coral reef communities in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary using the Belt Transect fish census method

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Belt Transect method is used to conduct fish surveys at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the National...

  9. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, Mariska

    2015-01-01

    Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services, and the loss of functiona

  10. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, M.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services,

  11. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, Mariska

    2015-01-01

    Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services, and the loss of

  12. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, M.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services,

  13. An integrated ecosystem model for coral reef management where oceanography, ecology and socio-economics meet

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, Mariska

    2015-01-01

    Widespread coral reef decline, including decline in reef fish populations upon which many coastal human populations depend, have led to phase-shifts from the coral-dominated systems, found desirable by humans, to algal-dominated systems that provide less ecosystem services, and the loss of functiona

  14. Long-term panmixia in a cosmopolitan Indo-Pacific coral reef fish and a nebulous genetic boundary with its broadly sympatric sister species

    KAUST Repository

    Horne, J. B.

    2013-01-11

    Phylogeographical studies have shown that some shallow-water marine organisms, such as certain coral reef fishes, lack spatial population structure at oceanic scales, despite vast distances of pelagic habitat between reefs and other dispersal barriers. However, whether these dispersive widespread taxa constitute long-term panmictic populations across their species ranges remains unknown. Conventional phylogeographical inferences frequently fail to distinguish between long-term panmixia and metapopulations connected by gene flow. Moreover, marine organisms have notoriously large effective population sizes that confound population structure detection. Therefore, at what spatial scale marine populations experience independent evolutionary trajectories and ultimately species divergence is still unclear. Here, we present a phylogeographical study of a cosmopolitan Indo-Pacific coral reef fish Naso hexacanthus and its sister species Naso caesius, using two mtDNA and two nDNA markers. The purpose of this study was two-fold: first, to test for broad-scale panmixia in N. hexacanthus by fitting the data to various phylogeographical models within a Bayesian statistical framework, and second, to explore patterns of genetic divergence between the two broadly sympatric species. We report that N. hexacanthus shows little population structure across the Indo-Pacific and a range-wide, long-term panmictic population model best fit the data. Hence, this species presently comprises a single evolutionary unit across much of the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. Naso hexacanthus and N. caesius were not reciprocally monophyletic in the mtDNA markers but showed varying degrees of population level divergence in the two nuclear introns. Overall, patterns are consistent with secondary introgression following a period of isolation, which may be attributed to oceanographic conditions of the mid to late Pleistocene, when these two species appear to have diverged. © 2013 The Authors. Journal

  15. Self-recruitment and sweepstakes reproduction amid extensive gene flow in a coral-reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christie, Mark R; Johnson, Darren W; Stallings, Christopher D; Hixon, Mark A

    2010-03-01

    Identifying patterns of larval dispersal within marine metapopulations is vital for effective fisheries management, appropriate marine reserve design, and conservation efforts. We employed genetic markers (microsatellites) to determine dispersal patterns in bicolour damselfish (Pomacentridae: Stegastes partitus). Tissue samples of 751 fish were collected in 2004 and 2005 from 11 sites encompassing the Exuma Sound, Bahamas. Bayesian parentage analysis identified two parent-offspring pairs, which is remarkable given the large population sizes and 28 day pelagic larval duration of bicolour damselfish. The two parent-offspring pairs directly documented self-recruitment at the two northern-most sites, one of which is a long-established marine reserve. Principal coordinates analyses of pair-wise relatedness values further indicated that self-recruitment was common in all sampled populations. Nevertheless, measures of genetic differentiation (F(ST)) and results from assignment methods suggested high levels of gene flow among populations. Comparisons of heterozygosity and relatedness among samples of adults and recruits indicated spatially and temporally independent sweepstakes events, whereby only a subset of adults successfully contribute to subsequent generations. These results indicate that self-recruitment and sweepstakes reproduction are the predominant, ecologically-relevant processes that shape patterns of larval dispersal in this system.

  16. Parental environment mediates impacts of increased carbon dioxide on a coral reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Gabrielle M.; Watson, Sue-Ann; Donelson, Jennifer M.; McCormick, Mark I.; Munday, Philip L.

    2012-12-01

    Carbon dioxide concentrations in the surface ocean are increasing owing to rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Higher CO2 levels are predicted to affect essential physiological processes of many aquatic organisms, leading to widespread impacts on marine diversity and ecosystem function, especially when combined with the effects of global warming. Yet the ability for marine species to adjust to increasing CO2 levels over many generations is an unresolved issue. Here we show that ocean conditions projected for the end of the century (approximately 1,000μatm CO2 and a temperature rise of 1.5-3.0°C) cause an increase in metabolic rate and decreases in length, weight, condition and survival of juvenile fish. However, these effects are absent or reversed when parents also experience high CO2 concentrations. Our results show that non-genetic parental effects can dramatically alter the response of marine organisms to increasing CO2 and demonstrate that some species have more capacity to acclimate to ocean acidification than previously thought.

  17. Positive Feedbacks Enhance Macroalgal Resilience on Degraded Coral Reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claire L A Dell

    Full Text Available Many reefs have shifted from coral and fish dominated habitats to less productive macroalgal dominated habitats, and current research is investigating means of reversing this phase shift. In the tropical Pacific, overfished reefs with inadequate herbivory can become dominated by the brown alga Sargassum polycystum. This alga suppresses recruitment and survival of corals and fishes, thus limiting the potential for reef recovery. Here we investigate the mechanisms that reinforce S. polycystum dominance and show that in addition to negatively affecting other species, this species acts in a self-reinforcing manner, positively promoting survival and growth of conspecifics. We found that survival and growth of both recruit-sized and mature S. polycystum fronds were higher within Sargassum beds than outside the beds and these results were found in both protected and fished reefs. Much of this benefit resulted from reduced herbivory within the Sargassum beds, but adult fronds also grew ~50% more within the beds even when herbivory did not appear to be occurring, suggesting some physiological advantage despite the intraspecific crowding. Thus via positive feedbacks, S. polycystum enhances its own growth and resistance to herbivores, facilitating its dominance (perhaps also expansion and thus its resilience on degraded reefs. This may be a key feedback mechanism suppressing the recovery of coral communities in reefs dominated by macroalgal beds.

  18. Size-related mortality due to gnathiid isopod micropredation correlates with settlement size in coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grutter, A. S.; Blomberg, S. P.; Fargher, B.; Kuris, A. M.; McCormick, M. I.; Warner, R. R.

    2017-06-01

    The transition between the planktonic and the benthic habitat is a critical period for the larvae of many demersal marine organisms. Understanding the potential constraints on the timing of this habitat transition, called settlement, is important to understanding their biology. Size-specific mortality can set the limits on lifestyle and help explain ontogenetic habitat shifts. We examined whether size-based mortality risks after settlement may include micropredation by ectoparasites by testing whether survival of settlement-stage fish varies with fish size when exposed to a reef-associated micropredator. Fish (14 species) were exposed to one blood-sucking gnathiid isopod overnight, with appropriate controls; gnathiid feeding success and survival, and fish mortality were recorded relative to fish size. After adjusting for fish relatedness, we found the relationship between fish mortality and size differed with gnathiid exposure: for gnathiid-exposed fish, the mean mortality of the smallest fish was much higher (57%) than unexposed controls (10%), and decreased to 0% for fish >12 mm standard length (SL); mortality was almost nil in controls. Thus, a predicted optimal size to switch habitat and reduce mortality risk from micropredation should be >12 mm SL. We then asked what species might be at greater risk and if the steep increase in survival at 12 mm SL might coincide with settlement at larger sizes among fishes. Across 102 other species (32 families), 61% settled at ≥12 mm SL. After adjusting for relatedness, mean fish settlement size was 15.0 mm and this was not significantly different from 12 mm. Thus, settlement size clusters around the minimum fish size threshold our gnathiid experiment predicted would be large enough to survive a gnathiid encounter. These results suggest micropredators may contribute to size-selective mortality during settlement processes and are consistent with the hypothesis that the pelagic phase provides fish an escape from certain

  19. Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on Caribbean reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter J Mumby

    Full Text Available The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.

  20. Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on Caribbean reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mumby, Peter J; Harborne, Alastair R

    2010-01-11

    The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.

  1. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waheed, Zarinah; van Mil, Harald G J; Syed Hussein, Muhammad Ali; Jumin, Robecca; Golam Ahad, Bobita; Hoeksema, Bert W

    2015-01-01

    The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

  2. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zarinah Waheed

    Full Text Available The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39, Agariciidae (n = 30 and Euphylliidae (n = 15. The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51% and good (38%. Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

  3. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: 2016 projects to address coral reef conservation issues

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In 2016 the following projects will take place to address aspects of coral reef conservation: Enhancing Management of Pacific ESA-listed Corals with Improved Utility...

  4. Modelling coral reef futures to inform management: can reducing local-scale stressors conserve reefs under climate change?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gurney, Georgina G; Melbourne-Thomas, Jessica; Geronimo, Rollan C; Aliño, Perry M; Johnson, Craig R

    2013-01-01

    Climate change has emerged as a principal threat to coral reefs, and is expected to exacerbate coral reef degradation caused by more localised stressors. Management of local stressors is widely advocated to bolster coral reef resilience, but the extent to which management of local stressors might affect future trajectories of reef state remains unclear. This is in part because of limited understanding of the cumulative impact of multiple stressors. Models are ideal tools to aid understanding of future reef state under alternative management and climatic scenarios, but to date few have been sufficiently developed to be useful as decision support tools for local management of coral reefs subject to multiple stressors. We used a simulation model of coral reefs to investigate the extent to which the management of local stressors (namely poor water quality and fishing) might influence future reef state under varying climatic scenarios relating to coral bleaching. We parameterised the model for Bolinao, the Philippines, and explored how simulation modelling can be used to provide decision support for local management. We found that management of water quality, and to a lesser extent fishing, can have a significant impact on future reef state, including coral recovery following bleaching-induced mortality. The stressors we examined interacted antagonistically to affect reef state, highlighting the importance of considering the combined impact of multiple stressors rather than considering them individually. Further, by providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, such as which course of management action will most likely to be effective over what time scales and at which sites, we demonstrated the utility of simulation models for supporting management. Aside from providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, our study offers insights which could inform reef management more broadly, as well as general understanding of reef

  5. Modelling coral reef futures to inform management: can reducing local-scale stressors conserve reefs under climate change?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Georgina G Gurney

    Full Text Available Climate change has emerged as a principal threat to coral reefs, and is expected to exacerbate coral reef degradation caused by more localised stressors. Management of local stressors is widely advocated to bolster coral reef resilience, but the extent to which management of local stressors might affect future trajectories of reef state remains unclear. This is in part because of limited understanding of the cumulative impact of multiple stressors. Models are ideal tools to aid understanding of future reef state under alternative management and climatic scenarios, but to date few have been sufficiently developed to be useful as decision support tools for local management of coral reefs subject to multiple stressors. We used a simulation model of coral reefs to investigate the extent to which the management of local stressors (namely poor water quality and fishing might influence future reef state under varying climatic scenarios relating to coral bleaching. We parameterised the model for Bolinao, the Philippines, and explored how simulation modelling can be used to provide decision support for local management. We found that management of water quality, and to a lesser extent fishing, can have a significant impact on future reef state, including coral recovery following bleaching-induced mortality. The stressors we examined interacted antagonistically to affect reef state, highlighting the importance of considering the combined impact of multiple stressors rather than considering them individually. Further, by providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, such as which course of management action will most likely to be effective over what time scales and at which sites, we demonstrated the utility of simulation models for supporting management. Aside from providing explicit guidance for management of Bolinao's reef system, our study offers insights which could inform reef management more broadly, as well as general

  6. Hysteresis in coral reefs under macroalgal toxicity and overfishing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhattacharyya, Joydeb; Pal, Samares

    2015-03-01

    Macroalgae and corals compete for the available space in coral reef ecosystems.While herbivorous reef fish play a beneficial role in decreasing the growth of macroalgae, macroalgal toxicity and overfishing of herbivores leads to proliferation of macroalgae. The abundance of macroalgae changes the community structure towards a macroalgae-dominated reef ecosystem. We investigate coral-macroalgal phase shifts by means of a continuous time model in a food chain. Conditions for local asymptotic stability of steady states are derived. It is observed that in the presence of macroalgal toxicity and overfishing, the system exhibits hysteresis through saddle-node bifurcation and transcritical bifurcation. We examine the effects of time lags in the liberation of toxins by macroalgae and the recovery of algal turf in response to grazing of herbivores on macroalgae by performing equilibrium and stability analyses of delay-differential forms of the ODE model. Computer simulations have been carried out to illustrate the different analytical results.

  7. New perspectives on ecological mechanisms affecting coral recruitment on reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ritson-Williams, R.; Arnold, S.N.; Fogarty, N.D.; Steneck, R.S.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Paul, V.J.

    2009-01-01

    Coral mortality has increased in recent decades, making coral recruitment more important than ever in sustaining coral reef ecosystems and contributing to their resilience. This review summarizes existing information on ecological factors affecting scleractinian coral recruitment. Successful recruit

  8. New perspectives on ecological mechanisms affecting coral recruitment on reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ritson-Williams, R.; Arnold, S.N.; Fogarty, N.D.; Steneck, R.S.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Paul, V.J.

    2009-01-01

    Coral mortality has increased in recent decades, making coral recruitment more important than ever in sustaining coral reef ecosystems and contributing to their resilience. This review summarizes existing information on ecological factors affecting scleractinian coral recruitment. Successful

  9. The ups and downs of coral reef fishes: the genetic characteristics of a formerly severely overfished but currently recovering Nassau grouper fish spawning aggregation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernard, A. M.; Feldheim, K. A.; Nemeth, R.; Kadison, E.; Blondeau, J.; Semmens, B. X.; Shivji, M. S.

    2016-03-01

    The Nassau grouper ( Epinephelus striatus) has sustained large declines across its distribution, including extirpation of many of its fish spawning aggregations (FSAs). Within US Virgin Islands (USVI) waters, Nassau grouper FSAs were overfished until their disappearance in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early 2000s, however, Nassau grouper were found gathering at Grammanik Bank, USVI, a mesophotic coral reef adjacent to one of the extinct aggregation sites, and regulatory protective measures were implemented to protect this fledgling FSA. The population genetic dynamics of this rapid FSA deterioration followed by protection-facilitated, incipient recovery are unknown. We addressed two objectives: (1) we explored which factors (i.e., local vs. external recruitment) might be key in shaping the USVI FSA recovery; and (2) we examined the consequences of severe past overfishing on this FSA's current genetic status. We genotyped individuals (15 microsatellites) from the USVI FSA comprising three successive spawning years (2008-2010), as well as individuals from a much larger, presumably less impacted, Nassau grouper FSA in the Cayman Islands, to assess their comparative population dynamics. No population structure was detected between the USVI and Cayman FSAs ( F ST = -0.0004); however, a temporally waning, genetic bottleneck signal was detected in the USVI FSA. Parentage analysis failed to identify any parent-offspring matches between USVI FSA adults and nearby juveniles, and relatedness analysis showed low levels of genetic relatedness among USVI FSA individuals. Genetic diversity across USVI FSA temporal collections was relatively high, and no marked differences were found between the USVI and Cayman FSAs. These collective results suggest that external recruitment is an important driver of the USVI FSA recovery. Furthermore, despite an apparent genetic bottleneck, the genetic diversity of USVI Nassau grouper has not been severely compromised. Our findings also provide a

  10. The impact of individual and combined abiotic factors on daily otolith growth in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wenger, Amelia S; Whinney, James; Taylor, Brett; Kroon, Frederieke

    2016-06-28

    Coral reefs are increasingly subjected to both local and global stressors, however, there is limited information on how reef organisms respond to their combined effects under natural conditions. This field study examined the growth response of the damselfish Neopomacentrus bankieri to the individual and combined effects of multiple abiotic factors. Turbidity, temperature, tidal movement, and wave action were recorded every 10 minutes for four months, after which the daily otolith growth of N. bankieri was aligned with corresponding abiotic conditions. Temperature was the only significant driver of daily otolith increment width, with increasing temperatures resulting in decreasing width. Although tidal movement was not a significant driver of increment width by itself, the combined effect of tidal movement and temperature had a greater negative effect on growth than temperature alone. Our results indicate that temperature can drive changes in growth even at very fine scales, and demonstrate that the cumulative impact of abiotic factors can be substantially greater than individual effects. As abiotic factors continue to change in intensity and duration, the combined impacts of them will become increasingly important drivers of physiological and ecological change.

  11. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Water Quality Research Program (WQRP) supports development of coral reef biological criteria. Research is focused on developing methods and tools to support implementation of legally defensible biological standards for maintaining biological integrity, which is protected by ...

  12. MANGROVE-DERIVED NUTRIENTS AND CORAL REEFS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Understanding the consequences of the declining global cover of mangroves due to anthropogenic disturbance necessitates consideration of how mangrove-derived nutrients contribute to threatened coral reef systems. We sampled potential sources of organic matter and a suite of sessi...

  13. Coral Reef Watch, Nighttime Temperature, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch provides sea surface temperature (SST) products derived from NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). This data provides...

  14. EPA Field Manual for Coral Reef Assessments

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Water Quality Research Program (WQRP) supports development of coral reef biological criteria. Research is focused on developing methods and tools to support implementation of legally defensible biological standards for maintaining biological integrity, which is protected by ...

  15. Ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    1994-01-01

    The article highlights a workshop held in Key West, Florida in November 1993 attended by a group of 35 international scientists where topics of ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs were discussed.

  16. Coral Reef Watch, Temperature Anomaly, 50 km

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NOAA Coral Reef Watch distributes SST anomaly data using a combination of the POES AVHRR Global Area Coverage data, and data from a climatological database. AVHRR...

  17. Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wegley Kelly, L.; Barott, K.L.; Dinsdale, E.; Friedlander, A.M.; Nosrat, B.; Obura, D.; Sala, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Williams, G.J.; Willner, D.; Rohwer, F.

    2012-01-01

    The Line Islands are calcium carbonate coral reef platforms located in iron-poor regions of the central Pacific. Natural terrestrial run-off of iron is non-existent and aerial deposition is extremely low. However, a number of ship groundings have occurred on these atolls. The reefs surrounding the s

  18. Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wegley Kelly, L.; Barott, K.L.; Dinsdale, E.; Friedlander, A.M.; Nosrat, B.; Obura, D.; Sala, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Williams, G.J.; Willner, D.; Rohwer, F.

    2012-01-01

    The Line Islands are calcium carbonate coral reef platforms located in iron-poor regions of the central Pacific. Natural terrestrial run-off of iron is non-existent and aerial deposition is extremely low. However, a number of ship groundings have occurred on these atolls. The reefs surrounding the

  19. Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America

    KAUST Repository

    Wild, Christian

    2014-09-16

    Many coral reefs in the Caribbean experienced substantial changes in their benthic community composition during the last decades. This often resulted in phase shifts from scleractinian coral dominance to that by other benthic invertebrate or algae. However, knowledge about how the related role of coral-algae contacts may negatively affect corals is scarce. Therefore, benthic community composition, abundance of algae grazers, and the abundance and character of coral-algae contacts were assessed in situ at 13 Belizean reef sites distributed along a distance gradient to the Belizean mainland (12–70 km): Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (inshore), Turneffe Atoll (inner and outer midshore), and Lighthouse Reef (offshore). In situ surveys revealed significantly higher benthic cover by scleractinian corals at the remote Lighthouse Reef (26–29%) when compared to the other sites (4–19%). The abundance of herbivorous fish and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum significantly increased towards the offshore reef sites, while the occurrence of direct coral-algae contacts consequently increased significantly with decreasing distance to shore. About 60% of these algae contacts were harmful (exhibiting coral tissue damage, pigmentation change, or overgrowth) for corals (mainly genera Orbicella and Agaricia), particularly when filamentous turf algae were involved. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that (turf) algae-mediated coral damage occurs in Belizean coastal, near-shore coral reefs.

  20. Degradation and recovery of Caribbean coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Paredes, Gustavo Adolfo

    2009-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystems worldwide have been seriously impacted by human activities. The current deteriorated state of coral reef communities is the result of a long history of exploitation. The scientific community has recognized the extent of degradation, its consequences, and how little we have done to avoid further degradation only in the last two decades. Marine reserves are one of the main conservation actions that could help to reduce the impacts of human activities on the ecosystem, part...

  1. Ecological Processes and Contemporary Coral Reef Management

    OpenAIRE

    Angela Dikou

    2010-01-01

    Top-down controls of complex foodwebs maintain the balance among the critical groups of corals, algae, and herbivores, thus allowing the persistence of corals reefs as three-dimensional, biogenic structures with high biodiversity, heterogeneity, resistance, resilience and connectivity, and the delivery of essential goods and services to societies. On contemporary reefs world-wide, however, top-down controls have been weakened due to reduction in herbivory levels (overfishing or disease outbre...

  2. Indirect consequences of fishing: reduction of coralline algae suppresses juvenile coral abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Leary, J. K.; Potts, D. C.; Braga, J. C.; McClanahan, T. R.

    2012-06-01

    Removing predatory fishes has effects that cascade through ecosystems via interactions between species and functional groups. In Kenyan reef lagoons, fishing-induced trophic cascades produce sea urchin-dominated grazing communities that greatly reduce the overall cover of crustose coralline algae (CCA). Certain species of CCA enhance coral recruitment by chemically inducing coral settlement. If sea urchin grazing reduces cover of settlement-inducing CCA, coral recruitment and hence juvenile coral abundance may also decline on fished reefs. To determine whether fishing-induced changes in CCA influence coral recruitment and abundance, we compared (1) CCA taxonomic compositions and (2) taxon-specific associations between CCA and juvenile corals under three fisheries management systems: closed, gear-restricted, and open-access. On fished reefs (gear-restricted and open-access), abundances of two species of settlement-inducing CCA, Hydrolithon reinboldii and H. onkodes, were half those on closed reefs. On both closed and fished reefs, juveniles of four common coral families (Poritidae, Pocilloporidae, Agariciidae, and Faviidae) were more abundant on Hydrolithon than on any other settlement substrate. Coral densities were positively correlated with Hydrolithon spp. cover and were significantly lower on fished than on closed reefs, suggesting that fishing indirectly reduces coral recruitment or juvenile success over large spatial scales via reduction in settlement-inducing CCA. Therefore, managing reefs for higher cover of settlement-inducing CCA may enhance coral recruitment or juvenile survival and help to maintain the ecological and structural stability of reefs.

  3. A geological perspective on the degradation and conservation of western Atlantic coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B; Toth, Lauren T

    2016-08-01

    Continuing coral-reef degradation in the western Atlantic is resulting in loss of ecological and geologic functions of reefs. With the goal of assisting resource managers and stewards of reefs in setting and measuring progress toward realistic goals for coral-reef conservation and restoration, we examined reef degradation in this region from a geological perspective. The importance of ecosystem services provided by coral reefs-as breakwaters that dissipate wave energy and protect shorelines and as providers of habitat for innumerable species-cannot be overstated. However, the few coral species responsible for reef building in the western Atlantic during the last approximately 1.5 million years are not thriving in the 21st century. These species are highly sensitive to abrupt temperature extremes, prone to disease infection, and have low sexual reproductive potential. Their vulnerability and the low functional redundancy of branching corals have led to the low resilience of western Atlantic reef ecosystems. The decrease in live coral cover over the last 50 years highlights the need for study of relict (senescent) reefs, which, from the perspective of coastline protection and habitat structure, may be just as important to conserve as the living coral veneer. Research is needed to characterize the geological processes of bioerosion, reef cementation, and sediment transport as they relate to modern-day changes in reef elevation. For example, although parrotfish remove nuisance macroalgae, possibly promoting coral recruitment, they will not save Atlantic reefs from geological degradation. In fact, these fish are quickly nibbling away significant quantities of Holocene reef framework. The question of how different biota covering dead reefs affect framework resistance to biological and physical erosion needs to be addressed. Monitoring and managing reefs with respect to physical resilience, in addition to ecological resilience, could optimize the expenditure of resources

  4. Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Linda Wegley; Barott, Katie L; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Friedlander, Alan M; Nosrat, Bahador; Obura, David; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A; Smith, Jennifer E; Vermeij, Mark J A; Williams, Gareth J; Willner, Dana; Rohwer, Forest

    2012-03-01

    The Line Islands are calcium carbonate coral reef platforms located in iron-poor regions of the central Pacific. Natural terrestrial run-off of iron is non-existent and aerial deposition is extremely low. However, a number of ship groundings have occurred on these atolls. The reefs surrounding the shipwreck debris are characterized by high benthic cover of turf algae, macroalgae, cyanobacterial mats and corallimorphs, as well as particulate-laden, cloudy water. These sites also have very low coral and crustose coralline algal cover and are call black reefs because of the dark-colored benthic community and reduced clarity of the overlying water column. Here we use a combination of benthic surveys, chemistry, metagenomics and microcosms to investigate if and how shipwrecks initiate and maintain black reefs. Comparative surveys show that the live coral cover was reduced from 40 to 60% to reefs on Millennium, Tabuaeran and Kingman. These three sites are relatively large (>0.75 km(2)). The phase shift occurs rapidly; the Kingman black reef formed within 3 years of the ship grounding. Iron concentrations in algae tissue from the Millennium black reef site were six times higher than in algae collected from reference sites. Metagenomic sequencing of the Millennium Atoll black reef-associated microbial community was enriched in iron-associated virulence genes and known pathogens. Microcosm experiments showed that corals were killed by black reef rubble through microbial activity. Together these results demonstrate that shipwrecks and their associated iron pose significant threats to coral reefs in iron-limited regions.

  5. Linking habitat mosaics and connectivity in a coral reef seascape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McMahon, Kelton W; Berumen, Michael L; Thorrold, Simon R

    2012-09-18

    Tropical marine ecosystems are under mounting anthropogenic pressure from overfishing and habitat destruction, leading to declines in their structure and function on a global scale. Although maintaining connectivity among habitats within a seascape is necessary for preserving population resistance and resilience, quantifying movements of individuals within seascapes remains challenging. Traditional methods of identifying and valuing potential coral reef fish nursery habitats are indirect, often relying on visual surveys of abundance and correlations of size and biomass among habitats. We used compound-specific stable isotope analyses to determine movement patterns of commercially important fish populations within a coral reef seascape. This approach allowed us to quantify the relative contributions of individuals from inshore nurseries to reef populations and identify migration corridors among important habitats. Our results provided direct measurements of remarkable migrations by juvenile snapper of over 30 km, between nurseries and reefs. We also found significant plasticity in juvenile nursery residency. Although a majority of individuals on coastal reefs had used seagrass nurseries as juveniles, many adults on oceanic reefs had settled directly into reef habitats. Moreover, seascape configuration played a critical but heretofore unrecognized role in determining connectivity among habitats. Finally, our approach provides key quantitative data necessary to estimate the value of distinctive habitats to ecosystem services provided by seascapes.

  6. Linking habitat mosaics and connectivity in a coral reef seascape

    KAUST Repository

    McMahon, Kelton

    2012-09-04

    Tropical marine ecosystems are under mounting anthropogenic pressure from overfishing and habitat destruction, leading to declines in their structure and function on a global scale. Although maintaining connectivity among habitats within a seascape is necessary for preserving population resistance and resilience, quantifying movements of individuals within seascapes remains challenging. Traditional methods of identifying and valuing potential coral reef fish nursery habitats are indirect, often relying on visual surveys of abundance and correlations of size and biomass among habitats. We used compound-specific stable isotope analyses to determine movement patterns of commercially important fish populations within a coral reef seascape. This approach allowed us to quantify the relative contributions of individuals from inshore nurseries to reef populations and identify migration corridors among important habitats. Our results provided direct measurements of remarkable migrations by juvenile snapper of over 30 km, between nurseries and reefs. We also found significant plasticity in juvenile nursery residency. Although a majority of individuals on coastal reefs had used seagrass nurseries as juveniles, many adults on oceanic reefs had settled directly into reef habitats. Moreover, seascape con figuration played a critical but heretofore unrecognized role in determining connectivity among habitats. Finally, our approach provides key quantitative data necessary to estimate the value of distinctive habitats to ecosystem services provided by seascapes.

  7. Community change within a Caribbean coral reef Marine Protected Area following two decades of local management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mae M Noble

    Full Text Available Structural change in both the habitat and reef-associated fish assemblages within spatially managed coral reefs can provide key insights into the benefits and limitations of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs. While MPA zoning effects on particular target species are well reported, we are yet to fully resolve the various affects of spatial management on the structure of coral reef communities over decadal time scales. Here, we document mixed affects of MPA zoning on fish density, biomass and species richness over the 21 years since establishment of the Saba Marine Park (SMP. Although we found significantly greater biomass and species richness of reef-associated fishes within shallow habitats (5 meters depth closed to fishing, this did not hold for deeper (15 m habitats, and there was a widespread decline (38% decrease in live hard coral cover and a 68% loss of carnivorous reef fishes across all zones of the SMP from the 1990s to 2008. Given the importance of live coral for the maintenance and replenishment of reef fishes, and the likely role of chronic disturbance in driving coral decline across the region, we explore how local spatial management can help protect coral reef ecosystems within the context of large-scale environmental pressures and disturbances outside the purview of local MPA management.

  8. Community change within a Caribbean coral reef Marine Protected Area following two decades of local management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noble, Mae M; van Laake, Gregoor; Berumen, Michael L; Fulton, Christopher J

    2013-01-01

    Structural change in both the habitat and reef-associated fish assemblages within spatially managed coral reefs can provide key insights into the benefits and limitations of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). While MPA zoning effects on particular target species are well reported, we are yet to fully resolve the various affects of spatial management on the structure of coral reef communities over decadal time scales. Here, we document mixed affects of MPA zoning on fish density, biomass and species richness over the 21 years since establishment of the Saba Marine Park (SMP). Although we found significantly greater biomass and species richness of reef-associated fishes within shallow habitats (5 meters depth) closed to fishing, this did not hold for deeper (15 m) habitats, and there was a widespread decline (38% decrease) in live hard coral cover and a 68% loss of carnivorous reef fishes across all zones of the SMP from the 1990s to 2008. Given the importance of live coral for the maintenance and replenishment of reef fishes, and the likely role of chronic disturbance in driving coral decline across the region, we explore how local spatial management can help protect coral reef ecosystems within the context of large-scale environmental pressures and disturbances outside the purview of local MPA management.

  9. Community Change within a Caribbean Coral Reef Marine Protected Area following Two Decades of Local Management

    KAUST Repository

    Noble, Mae M.

    2013-01-14

    Structural change in both the habitat and reef-associated fish assemblages within spatially managed coral reefs can provide key insights into the benefits and limitations of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). While MPA zoning effects on particular target species are well reported, we are yet to fully resolve the various affects of spatial management on the structure of coral reef communities over decadal time scales. Here, we document mixed affects of MPA zoning on fish density, biomass and species richness over the 21 years since establishment of the Saba Marine Park (SMP). Although we found significantly greater biomass and species richness of reef-associated fishes within shallow habitats (5 meters depth) closed to fishing, this did not hold for deeper (15 m) habitats, and there was a widespread decline (38% decrease) in live hard coral cover and a 68% loss of carnivorous reef fishes across all zones of the SMP from the 1990s to 2008. Given the importance of live coral for the maintenance and replenishment of reef fishes, and the likely role of chronic disturbance in driving coral decline across the region, we explore how local spatial management can help protect coral reef ecosystems within the context of large-scale environmental pressures and disturbances outside the purview of local MPA management. © 2013 Noble et al.

  10. Indirect effects of overfishing on Caribbean reefs: sponges overgrow reef-building corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loh, Tse-Lynn; McMurray, Steven E; Henkel, Timothy P; Vicente, Jan; Pawlik, Joseph R

    2015-01-01

    Consumer-mediated indirect effects at the community level are difficult to demonstrate empirically. Here, we show an explicit indirect effect of overfishing on competition between sponges and reef-building corals from surveys of 69 sites across the Caribbean. Leveraging the large-scale, long-term removal of sponge predators, we selected overfished sites where intensive methods, primarily fish-trapping, have been employed for decades or more, and compared them to sites in remote or marine protected areas (MPAs) with variable levels of enforcement. Sponge-eating fishes (angelfishes and parrotfishes) were counted at each site, and the benthos surveyed, with coral colonies scored for interaction with sponges. Overfished sites had >3 fold more overgrowth of corals by sponges, and mean coral contact with sponges was 25.6%, compared with 12.0% at less-fished sites. Greater contact with corals by sponges at overfished sites was mostly by sponge species palatable to sponge predators. Palatable species have faster rates of growth or reproduction than defended sponge species, which instead make metabolically expensive chemical defenses. These results validate the top-down conceptual model of sponge community ecology for Caribbean reefs, as well as provide an unambiguous justification for MPAs to protect threatened reef-building corals. An unanticipated outcome of the benthic survey component of this study was that overfished sites had lower mean macroalgal cover (23.1% vs. 38.1% for less-fished sites), a result that is contrary to prevailing assumptions about seaweed control by herbivorous fishes. Because we did not quantify herbivores for this study, we interpret this result with caution, but suggest that additional large-scale studies comparing intensively overfished and MPA sites are warranted to examine the relative impacts of herbivorous fishes and urchins on Caribbean reefs.

  11. Indirect effects of overfishing on Caribbean reefs: sponges overgrow reef-building corals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tse-Lynn Loh

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Consumer-mediated indirect effects at the community level are difficult to demonstrate empirically. Here, we show an explicit indirect effect of overfishing on competition between sponges and reef-building corals from surveys of 69 sites across the Caribbean. Leveraging the large-scale, long-term removal of sponge predators, we selected overfished sites where intensive methods, primarily fish-trapping, have been employed for decades or more, and compared them to sites in remote or marine protected areas (MPAs with variable levels of enforcement. Sponge-eating fishes (angelfishes and parrotfishes were counted at each site, and the benthos surveyed, with coral colonies scored for interaction with sponges. Overfished sites had >3 fold more overgrowth of corals by sponges, and mean coral contact with sponges was 25.6%, compared with 12.0% at less-fished sites. Greater contact with corals by sponges at overfished sites was mostly by sponge species palatable to sponge predators. Palatable species have faster rates of growth or reproduction than defended sponge species, which instead make metabolically expensive chemical defenses. These results validate the top-down conceptual model of sponge community ecology for Caribbean reefs, as well as provide an unambiguous justification for MPAs to protect threatened reef-building corals.An unanticipated outcome of the benthic survey component of this study was that overfished sites had lower mean macroalgal cover (23.1% vs. 38.1% for less-fished sites, a result that is contrary to prevailing assumptions about seaweed control by herbivorous fishes. Because we did not quantify herbivores for this study, we interpret this result with caution, but suggest that additional large-scale studies comparing intensively overfished and MPA sites are warranted to examine the relative impacts of herbivorous fishes and urchins on Caribbean reefs.

  12. Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems

    OpenAIRE

    Graham, N. A. J.; Mcclanahan, T.R.; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Wilson, Shaun K.; Polunin, Nicholas; Jennings, Simon; Chabanet, Pascale; Clark, Susan; Spalding, Mark; Letourneur, Yves; Bigot, Lionel; Galzin, René; Öhman, Marcus C; Garpe, Kajsa C.; Edwards, Alasdair J.

    2008-01-01

    Coral reefs have emerged as one of the ecosystems most vulnerable to climate variation and change. While the contribution\\ud of a warming climate to the loss of live coral cover has been well documented across large spatial and temporal scales, the\\ud associated effects on fish have not. Here, we respond to recent and repeated calls to assess the importance of local\\ud management in conserving coral reefs in the context of global climate change. Such information is important, as coral reef\\ud...

  13. The dynamics of architectural complexity on coral reefs under climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bozec, Yves-Marie; Alvarez-Filip, Lorenzo; Mumby, Peter J

    2015-01-01

    One striking feature of coral reef ecosystems is the complex benthic architecture which supports diverse and abundant fauna, particularly of reef fish. Reef-building corals are in decline worldwide, with a corresponding loss of live coral cover resulting in a loss of architectural complexity. Understanding the dynamics of the reef architecture is therefore important to envision the ability of corals to maintain functional habitats in an era of climate change. Here, we develop a mechanistic model of reef topographical complexity for contemporary Caribbean reefs. The model describes the dynamics of corals and other benthic taxa under climate-driven disturbances (hurricanes and coral bleaching). Corals have a simplified shape with explicit diameter and height, allowing species-specific calculation of their colony surface and volume. Growth and the mechanical (hurricanes) and biological erosion (parrotfish) of carbonate skeletons are important in driving the pace of extension/reduction in the upper reef surface, the net outcome being quantified by a simple surface roughness index (reef rugosity). The model accurately simulated the decadal changes of coral cover observed in Cozumel (Mexico) between 1984 and 2008, and provided a realistic hindcast of coral colony-scale (1-10 m) changing rugosity over the same period. We then projected future changes of Caribbean reef rugosity in response to global warming. Under severe and frequent thermal stress, the model predicted a dramatic loss of rugosity over the next two or three decades. Critically, reefs with managed parrotfish populations were able to delay the general loss of architectural complexity, as the benefits of grazing in maintaining living coral outweighed the bioerosion of dead coral skeletons. Overall, this model provides the first explicit projections of reef rugosity in a warming climate, and highlights the need of combining local (protecting and restoring high grazing) to global (mitigation of greenhouse gas

  14. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Navas-Camacho, Raúl; Gil-Agudelo, Diego Luis; Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Reyes-Nivia, María Catalina; Garzón-Ferreira, Jaime

    2010-05-01

    Since 1998 the National Monitoring System for the Coral Reefs of Colombia (SIMAC) has monitored the occurrence of coral bleaching and diseases in some Colombian coral reefs (permanent stations at San Andres Island, Rosario Islands, Tayrona, San Bernardo Islands and Urabá). The main purpose is to evaluate their health status and to understand the factors that have been contributing to their decline. To estimate these occurrences, annual surveys in 126 permanent belt transects (10 x 2m) with different depth intervals (3-6 meters, 9-12 meters and 15-18 meters) are performed at all reef sites. Data from the 1998-2004 period, revealed that San Andrés Island had many colonies with diseases (38.9 colonies/m2), and Urabá had high numbers with bleaching (54.4 colonies/m2). Of the seven reported coral diseases studied, Dark Spots Disease (DSD), and White Plague Disease (WPD) were noteworthy because they occurred in all Caribbean monitored sites, and because of their high interannual infection incidence. Thirty five species of scleractinian corals were affected by at least one disease and a high incidence of coral diseases on the main reef builders is documented. Bleaching was present in 34 species. During the whole monitoring period, Agaricia agaricites and Siderastrea siderea were the species most severely affected by DSD and bleaching, respectively. Diseases on species such as Agaricia fragilis, A. grahamae, A. humilis, Diploria clivosa, Eusmilia fastigiata, Millepora complanata, and Mycetophyllia aliciae are recorded for first time in Colombia. We present bleaching and disease incidences, kinds of diseases, coral species affected, reef localities studied, depth intervals of surveys, and temporal (years) variation for each geographic area. This variation makes difficult to clearly determine defined patterns or general trends for monitored reefs. This is the first long-term study of coral diseases and bleaching in the Southwestern Caribbean, and one of the few long

  15. Factors Affecting Detection Probability of Acoustic Tags in Coral Reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bermudez, Edgar F.

    2012-05-01

    Acoustic telemetry is an important tool for studying the movement patterns, behaviour, and site fidelity of marine organisms; however, its application is challenged in coral reef environments where complex topography and intense environmental noise interferes with acoustic signals, and there has been less study. Therefore, it is particularly critical in coral reef telemetry studies to first conduct a long-term range test, a tool that provides informa- tion on the variability and periodicity of the transmitter detection range and the detection probability. A one-month range test of a coded telemetric system was conducted prior to a large-scale tagging project investigating the movement of approximately 400 fishes from 30 species on offshore coral reefs in the central Red Sea. During this range test we determined the effect of the following factors on transmitter detection efficiency: distance from receiver, time of day, depth, wind, current, moon-phase and temperature. The experiment showed that biological noise is likely to be responsible for a diel pattern of -on average- twice as many detections during the day as during the night. Biological noise appears to be the most important noise source in coral reefs overwhelming the effect of wind-driven noise, which is important in other studies. Detection probability is also heavily influenced by the location of the acoustic sensor within the reef structure. Understanding the effect of environmental factors on transmitter detection probability allowed us to design a more effective receiver array for the large-scale tagging study.

  16. The reality, use and potential for cryopreservation of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagedorn, Mary; Spindler, Rebecca

    2014-01-01

    Throughout the world coral reefs are being degraded at unprecedented rates. Locally, reefs are damaged by pollution, nutrient overload and sedimentation from out-dated land-use, fishing and mining practices. Globally, increased greenhouse gases are warming and acidifying oceans, making corals more susceptible to stress, bleaching and newly emerging diseases. The coupling of climate change impacts and local anthropogenic stressors has caused a widespread and well-recognized reef crisis. Although in situ conservation practices, such as the establishment and enforcement of marine protected areas, reduce these stressors and may help slow the loss of genetic diversity on reefs, the global effects of climate change will continue to cause population declines. Gamete cryopreservation has already acted as an effective insurance policy to maintain the genetic diversity of many wildlife species, but has only just begun to be explored for coral. Already we have had a great deal of success with cryopreserving sperm and larval cells from a variety of coral species. Building on this success, we have now begun to establish genetic banks using frozen samples, to help offset these threats to the Great Barrier Reef and other areas.

  17. Coral Reef Investigations at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge, Ritidian Unit

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — The goals of the project included the following: 1. Conduct an initial assessment of coral reefs within and adjacent to the Guam National Wildlife Refuge, Ritidian...

  18. A geological perspective on the degradation and conservation of western Atlantic coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Toth, Lauren T.

    2016-01-01

    Continuing coral-reef degradation in the western Atlantic is resulting in loss of ecological and geologic functions of reefs. With the goal of assisting resource managers and stewards of reefs in setting and measuring progress toward realistic goals for coral-reef conservation and restoration, we examined reef degradation in this region from a geological perspective. The importance of ecosystem services provided by coral reefs—as breakwaters that dissipate wave energy and protect shorelines and as providers of habitat for innumerable species—cannot be overstated. However, the few coral species responsible for reef building in the western Atlantic during the last approximately 1.5 million years are not thriving in the 21st century. These species are highly sensitive to abrupt temperature extremes, prone to disease infection, and have low sexual reproductive potential. Their vulnerability and the low functional redundancy of branching corals have led to the low resilience of western Atlantic reef ecosystems. The decrease in live coral cover over the last 50 years highlights the need for study of relict (senescent) reefs, which, from the perspective of coastline protection and habitat structure, may be just as important to conserve as the living coral veneer. Research is needed to characterize the geological processes of bioerosion, reef cementation, and sediment transport as they relate to modern-day changes in reef elevation. For example, although parrotfish remove nuisance macroalgae, possibly promoting coral recruitment, they will not save Atlantic reefs from geological degradation. In fact, these fish are quickly nibbling away significant quantities of Holocene reef framework. The question of how different biota covering dead reefs affect framework resistance to biological and physical erosion needs to be addressed. Monitoring and managing reefs with respect to physical resilience, in addition to ecological resilience, could optimize the expenditure of

  19. Cross-continent comparisons reveal differing environmental drivers of growth of the coral reef fish, Lutjanus bohar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ong, Joyce J. L.; Rountrey, Adam N.; Marriott, Ross J.; Newman, Stephen J.; Meeuwig, Jessica J.; Meekan, Mark G.

    2017-03-01

    Biochronologies provide important insights into the growth responses of fishes to past variability in physical and biological environments and, in so doing, allow modelling of likely responses to climate change in the future. We examined spatial variability in the key drivers of inter-annual growth patterns of a widespread, tropical snapper, Lutjanus bohar, at similar tropical latitudes on the north-western and north-eastern coasts of the continent of Australia. For this study, we developed biochronologies from otoliths that provided proxies of somatic growth and these were analysed using mixed-effects models to examine the historical drivers of growth. Our analyses demonstrated that growth patterns of fish were driven by different climatic and biological factors in each region, including Pacific Ocean climate indices, regional sea level and the size structure of the fish community. Our results showed that the local oceanographic and biological context of reef systems strongly influenced the growth of L. bohar and that a single age-related growth trend cannot be assumed for separate populations of this species that are likely to experience different environmental conditions. Generalised predictions about the growth response of fishes to climate change will thus require adequate characterisation of the spatial variability in growth determinants likely to be found throughout the range of species that have cosmopolitan distributions.

  20. Can we measure beauty? Computational evaluation of coral reef aesthetics

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haas, A.F.; Guibert, M.; Foerschner, A.; Co, T.; Calhoun, S.; George, E.; Hatay, M.; Dinsdale, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Felts, B.; Dustan, P.; Salamon, P.; Rohwer, F.

    2015-01-01

    The natural beauty of coral reefs attracts millions of tourists worldwide resulting in substantial revenues for the adjoining economies. Although their visual appearance is a pivotal factor attracting humans to coral reefs current monitoring protocols exclusively target biogeochemical parameters,

  1. Calibration of Community-based Coral Reef Monitoring Protocols ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Keywords: coral reef monitoring, community-based, calibration. Abstract—Coral reef monitoring (CRM) has been recognised as an important management tool and has ..... Pollution Bulletin 40: 537-550. Wilkinson, C., Green, A., Almany, J. &.

  2. Can we measure beauty? Computational evaluation of coral reef aesthetics

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haas, A.F.; Guibert, M.; Foerschner, A.; Co, T.; Calhoun, S.; George, E.; Hatay, M.; Dinsdale, E.; Sandin, S.A.; Smith, J.E.; Vermeij, M.J.A.; Felts, B.; Dustan, P.; Salamon, P.; Rohwer, F.

    2015-01-01

    The natural beauty of coral reefs attracts millions of tourists worldwide resulting in substantial revenues for the adjoining economies. Although their visual appearance is a pivotal factor attracting humans to coral reefs current monitoring protocols exclusively target biogeochemical parameters, ne

  3. Zonation of uplifted pleistocene coral reefs on barbados, west indies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mesolella, K J

    1967-05-05

    The coral species composition of uplifted Pleistocene reefs on Barbados is very similar to Recent West Indian reefs. Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis, and Montastrea annularis are qtuantitatively the most important of the coral species.

  4. A species pair of Bivesicula Yamaguti, 1934 (Trematoda: Bivesiculidae) in unrelated Great Barrier Reef fishes: implications for the basis of speciation in coral reef fish trematodes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trieu, Nancy; Cutmore, Scott C; Miller, Terrence L; Cribb, Thomas H

    2015-07-01

    Combined morphological and molecular analysis shows that a species of Bivesicula Yamaguti, 1934 from four species of Apogonidae Günther [Nectamia fusca (Quoy & Gaimard), Ostorhinchus angustatus (Smith & Radcliffe), O. cookii (Macleay) and Taeniamia fucata (Cantor)] on the Great Barrier Reef is morphologically similar to, but clearly distinct from B. unexpecta Cribb, Bray & Barker, 1994 which infects a sympatric pomacentrid, Acanthochromis polyacanthus (Bleeker). Bivesicula neglecta n. sp. is proposed for the form from apogonids. Novel ITS2 rDNA sequences generated for the two species differ at just one consistent base position, implying that the two species are closely related. The combination of their close relationship, high but distinct specificity and co-occurrence suggests that speciation was driven by a recent host switching event enabled by similar dietary ecomorphology.

  5. Impact of Global Warming on Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sirilak CHUMKIEW

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, we review coral reef responses to climate variability and discuss the possible mechanisms by which climate impacts the coral reef ecosystem. Effects of oceanographic variables such as sea temperature, turbulence, salinity, and nutrients on the coral reef are discussed in terms of their influence on coral growth, reproduction, mortality, acclimation and adaptation. Organisms tend to be limited to specific thermal ranges with experimental findings showing that sufficient oxygen supply by ventilation and circulation only occurs within these ranges. Indirect effects of climate change on the food web are also discussed. Further integrative studies are required to improve our knowledge of the processes linking coral reef responses to future climate change scenarios.Graphical abstract► Incidence of coral reef bleaching on a worldwide scale: location of bleaching reports during 1979 - 2010. Maps are from ReefBase, www.reefbase.org: 1, Arabian Gulf (United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran; 2, Red Sea; 3, east Africa; 4, southern Africa (Mozambique, South Africa; 5, Madagascar; 6, Mauritius, Reunion; 7, Seychelles; 8, Chagos; 9, Maldives; 10, Sri Lanka/southern India; 11, Andaman Sea (Andamans, Thailand, Malaysia; 12, South China Sea (Vietnam, Paracel Islands; 13, Philippines; 14, Indonesia; 15, western Australia; 16, Great Barrier Reef; 17, Ryukyu Islands; 18, Mariana Islands; 19, Palau; 20, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu; 21, Fiji; 22, Samoa; 23, French Polynesia (including Moorea; 24, Hawaiian Islands; 25, Easter Island; 26, Galapagos Islands; 27, equatorial eastern Pacific (Costa Rica, Cocos Island, Panama´, Colombia, Ecuador; 28, subtropical eastern Pacific (Mexico; 29, Mesoamerican reef system (Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua; 30, Greater Antilles (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands; 31, Bahamas, Florida; 32, Bermuda; 33, Lesser Antilles; 34, Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Los Roques; 35, Brazil.

  6. Population genetic structure and connectivity in the widespread coral-reef fish Abudefduf saxatilis: the role of historic and contemporary factors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piñeros, Victor Julio; Gutiérrez-Rodríguez, Carla

    2017-09-01

    We assessed geographic patterns of genetic variation and connectivity in the widely distributed coral-reef fish Abudefduf saxatilis at different temporal scales. We sequenced two mitochondrial regions (cytochrome b and control region) and genotyped 12 microsatellite loci in a total of 296 individuals collected from 14 reefs in two biogeographic provinces in the tropical western Atlantic Ocean and from three provinces within the Caribbean Sea. We used phylogeography, population genetics and coalescent methods to assess the potential effects of climatic oscillations in the Pleistocene and contemporary oceanographic barriers on the population genetic structure and connectivity of the species. Sequence analyses indicated high genetic diversity and a lack of genetic differentiation throughout the Caribbean and between the two biogeographic provinces. Different lines of evidence depicted demographic expansions of A. saxatilis populations dated to the Pleistocene. The microsatellites exhibited high genetic diversity, and no genetic differentiation was detected within the Caribbean; however, these markers identified a genetic discontinuity between the two western Atlantic biogeographic provinces. Migration estimates revealed gene flow across the Amazon-Orinoco Plume, suggesting that genetic divergence may be promoted by differential environmental conditions on either side of the barrier. The climatic oscillations of the Pleistocene, together with oceanographic barriers and the dispersal potential of the species, constitute important factors determining the geographic patterns of genetic variation in A. saxatilis.

  7. 76 FR 78245 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Fishery...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-16

    ... for the Gulf Council's Red Drum, Reef Fish, Shrimp, and Coral and Coral Reefs FMPs (Generic ACL..., and South Atlantic; Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Fishery; South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Fishery AGENCY... (Secretary) under section 304(f) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act...

  8. Palmyra Atoll coral reef habitat mapping completion report

    OpenAIRE

    2010-01-01

    The United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order 13089 to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. Current, accurate, and consistent maps greatly enhance efforts to preserve and manage coral reef ecosystems. With comprehensive maps and habitat assessments, coral reef managers can be more effective in designing and implementing a variety of conservation measures, including: • Long-term monitoring programs with ...

  9. Herbivory, connectivity, and ecosystem resilience: response of a coral reef to a large-scale perturbation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas C Adam

    Full Text Available Coral reefs world-wide are threatened by escalating local and global impacts, and some impacted reefs have shifted from coral dominance to a state dominated by macroalgae. Therefore, there is a growing need to understand the processes that affect the capacity of these ecosystems to return to coral dominance following disturbances, including those that prevent the establishment of persistent stands of macroalgae. Unlike many reefs in the Caribbean, over the last several decades, reefs around the Indo-Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia have consistently returned to coral dominance following major perturbations without shifting to a macroalgae-dominated state. Here, we present evidence of a rapid increase in populations of herbivorous fishes following the most recent perturbation, and show that grazing by these herbivores has prevented the establishment of macroalgae following near complete loss of coral on offshore reefs. Importantly, we found the positive response of herbivorous fishes to increased benthic primary productivity associated with coral loss was driven largely by parrotfishes that initially recruit to stable nursery habitat within the lagoons before moving to offshore reefs later in life. These results underscore the importance of connectivity between the lagoon and offshore reefs for preventing the establishment of macroalgae following disturbances, and indicate that protecting nearshore nursery habitat of herbivorous fishes is critical for maintaining reef resilience.

  10. Herbivory, connectivity, and ecosystem resilience: response of a coral reef to a large-scale perturbation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adam, Thomas C; Schmitt, Russell J; Holbrook, Sally J; Brooks, Andrew J; Edmunds, Peter J; Carpenter, Robert C; Bernardi, Giacomo

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs world-wide are threatened by escalating local and global impacts, and some impacted reefs have shifted from coral dominance to a state dominated by macroalgae. Therefore, there is a growing need to understand the processes that affect the capacity of these ecosystems to return to coral dominance following disturbances, including those that prevent the establishment of persistent stands of macroalgae. Unlike many reefs in the Caribbean, over the last several decades, reefs around the Indo-Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia have consistently returned to coral dominance following major perturbations without shifting to a macroalgae-dominated state. Here, we present evidence of a rapid increase in populations of herbivorous fishes following the most recent perturbation, and show that grazing by these herbivores has prevented the establishment of macroalgae following near complete loss of coral on offshore reefs. Importantly, we found the positive response of herbivorous fishes to increased benthic primary productivity associated with coral loss was driven largely by parrotfishes that initially recruit to stable nursery habitat within the lagoons before moving to offshore reefs later in life. These results underscore the importance of connectivity between the lagoon and offshore reefs for preventing the establishment of macroalgae following disturbances, and indicate that protecting nearshore nursery habitat of herbivorous fishes is critical for maintaining reef resilience.

  11. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are often found near coastal waters where multiple anthropogenic stressors co-occur at areas of human disturbance. Developing coral reef biocriteria under the U.S. Clean Water Act requires relationships between anthropogenic stressors and coral reef condition to be es...

  12. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs are often found near coastal waters where multiple anthropogenic stressors co-occur at areas of human disturbance. Developing coral reef biocriteria under the U.S. Clean Water Act requires relationships between anthropogenic stressors and coral reef condition to be es...

  13. Influence of landscape structure on reef fish assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grober-Dunsmore, R.; Frazer, T.K.; Beets, J.P.; Lindberg, W.J.; Zwick, P.; Funicelli, N.A.

    2008-01-01

    Management of tropical marine environments calls for interdisciplinary studies and innovative methodologies that consider processes occurring over broad spatial scales. We investigated relationships between landscape structure and reef fish assemblage structure in the US Virgin Islands. Measures of landscape structure were transformed into a reduced set of composite indices using principal component analyses (PCA) to synthesize data on the spatial patterning of the landscape structure of the study reefs. However, composite indices (e.g., habitat diversity) were not particularly informative for predicting reef fish assemblage structure. Rather, relationships were interpreted more easily when functional groups of fishes were related to individual habitat features. In particular, multiple reef fish parameters were strongly associated with reef context. Fishes responded to benthic habitat structure at multiple spatial scales, with various groups of fishes each correlated to a unique suite of variables. Accordingly, future experiments should be designed to test functional relationships based on the ecology of the organisms of interest. Our study demonstrates that landscape-scale habitat features influence reef fish communities, illustrating promise in applying a landscape ecology approach to better understand factors that structure coral reef ecosystems. Furthermore, our findings may prove useful in design of spatially-based conservation approaches such as marine protected areas (MPAs), because landscape-scale metrics may serve as proxies for areas with high species diversity and abundance within the coral reef landscape. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  14. Coral reef evolution on rapidly subsiding margins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, J.M.; Braga, J.C.; Clague, D.A.; Gallup, C.; Hein, J.R.; Potts, D.C.; Renema, W.; Riding, R.; Riker-Coleman, K.; Silver, E.; Wallace, L.M.

    2009-01-01

    A series of well-developed submerged coral reefs are preserved in the Huon Gulf (Papua New Guinea) and around Hawaii. Despite different tectonics settings, both regions have experienced rapid subsidence (2-6??m/ka) over the last 500??ka. Rapid subsidence, combined with eustatic sea-level changes, is responsible for repeated drowning and backstepping of coral reefs over this period. Because we can place quantitative constraints on these systems (i.e., reef drowning age, eustatic sea-level changes, subsidence rates, accretion rates, basement substrates, and paleobathymetry), these areas represent unique natural laboratories for exploring the roles of tectonics, reef accretion, and eustatic sea-level changes in controlling the evolution of individual reefs, as well as backstepping of the entire system. A review of new and existing bathymetric, radiometric, sedimentary facies and numerical modeling data indicate that these reefs have had long, complex growth histories and that they are highly sensitive, recording drowning not only during major deglaciations, but also during high-frequency, small-amplitude interstadial and deglacial meltwater pulse events. Analysis of five generalized sedimentary facies shows that reef drowning is characterized by a distinct biological and sedimentary sequence. Observational and numerical modeling data indicate that on precessional (20??ka) and sub-orbital timescales, the rate and amplitude of eustatic sea-level changes are critical in controlling initiation, growth, drowning or sub-aerial exposure, subsequent re-initiation, and final drowning. However, over longer timescales (> 100-500??ka) continued tectonic subsidence and basement substrate morphology influence broad scale reef morphology and backstepping geometries. Drilling of these reefs will yield greatly expanded stratigraphic sections compared with similar reefs on slowly subsiding, stable and uplifting margins, and thus they represent a unique archive of sea-level and climate

  15. Reef Fish Inventory of Juan De Nova's Natural Park (Western Indian ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    This paper constitutes the first study on reef fish communities at Juan de Nova, one of ... military base, represent sites which experience minimal direct human influence. ... the resilience of coral reef communities to environmental disturbances.. Keywords: reef fishes, diversity, Eparses Islands, natural reserve, western Indian ...

  16. Chemically cued suppression of coral reef resilience: Where is the tipping point?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooker, Rohan M.; Hay, Mark E.; Dixson, Danielle L.

    2016-12-01

    Coral reefs worldwide are shifting from high-diversity, coral-dominated communities to low-diversity systems dominated by seaweeds. This shift can impact essential recovery processes such as larval recruitment and ecosystem resilience. Recent evidence suggests that chemical cues from certain corals attract, and from certain seaweeds suppress, recruitment of juvenile fishes, with loss of coral cover and increases in seaweed cover creating negative feedbacks that prevent reef recovery and sustain seaweed dominance. Unfortunately, the level of seaweed increase and coral decline that creates this chemically cued tipping point remains unknown, depriving managers of data-based targets to prevent damaging feedbacks. We conducted flume and field assays that suggest juvenile fishes sense and respond to cues produced by low levels of seaweed cover. However, the herbivore species we tested was more tolerant of degraded reef cues than non-herbivores, possibly providing some degree of resilience if these fishes recruit, consume macroalgae, and diminish negative cues.

  17. Contaminants assessment in the coral reefs of Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bargar, Timothy A.; Garrison, Virginia H.; Alvarez, David A.; Echols, Kathy

    2013-01-01

    Coral, fish, plankton, and detritus samples were collected from coral reefs in Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICR) to assess existing contamination levels. Passive water sampling using polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) and semi-permeable membrane devices found a few emerging pollutants of concern (DEET and galaxolide) and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. Very little persistent organic chemical contamination was detected in the tissue or detritus samples. Detected contaminants were at concentrations below those reported to be harmful to aquatic organisms. Extracts from the POCIS were subjected to the yeast estrogen screen (YES) to assess potential estrogenicity of the contaminant mixture. Results of the YES (estrogen equivalency of 0.17–0.31 ng/L 17-β-estradiol) indicated a low estrogenicity likelihood for contaminants extracted from water. Findings point to low levels of polar and non-polar organic contaminants in the bays sampled within VICR and VIIS.

  18. Contaminants assessment in the coral reefs of Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bargar, Timothy A; Garrison, Virginia H; Alvarez, David A; Echols, Kathy R

    2013-05-15

    Coral, fish, plankton, and detritus samples were collected from coral reefs in Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICR) to assess existing contamination levels. Passive water sampling using polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) and semi-permeable membrane devices found a few emerging pollutants of concern (DEET and galaxolide) and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. Very little persistent organic chemical contamination was detected in the tissue or detritus samples. Detected contaminants were at concentrations below those reported to be harmful to aquatic organisms. Extracts from the POCIS were subjected to the yeast estrogen screen (YES) to assess potential estrogenicity of the contaminant mixture. Results of the YES (estrogen equivalency of 0.17-0.31 ng/L 17-β-estradiol) indicated a low estrogenicity likelihood for contaminants extracted from water. Findings point to low levels of polar and non-polar organic contaminants in the bays sampled within VICR and VIIS. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  19. Status and trends of Caribbean coral reefs: 1970-2012

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, Jeremy; Donovan, Mary; Cramer, Katie; Lam, Vivian

    2014-01-01

    This it the 9th status report since the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) was founded in 1995 was the data arm of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to document the ecological condition or corral reefs, strengthen monitoring efforts, and link existing organizations and people working on reefs worldwide. The US Government provided the initial funding to help set up a global network of coral reef workers and has continued to provide core support. Since then, the series of reports have aimed to present the current status of coral reefs of the world or particular regions, the major threats to reefs and their consequences, and any initiative undertaken under the auspices of ICRI or other bodies to arrest or reverse the decline of coral reefs. IUCN assumed responsibility for hosting the global coordination of the GCRMN in 2010 under the scientific direction of Jeremy Jackson with the following objectives: 1. Document quantitatively the global status and trends for corals, macroalgae, sea urchins, and fishes based on available data from individual scientists as well as the peer reviewed scientific literature, monitoring programs, and report. 2. Bring together regional experts in a series of workshops to involve them in data compilation, analysis, and synthesis. 3. Integrate coral reef status and trends with independent environmental, management, and socioeconomic data to better understand the primary factors responsible for coral reef decline, the possible synergies among factors that may further magnify their impacts, and how these stresses may be more effectively alleviated. Work with GCRMN partners to establish simple and practical standardized protocols for future monitoring and assessment. Disseminate information and results to help guide member state policy and actions. The overarching objective is to understand why some reefs are much healthier than others, to identify what kinds of actions have been particularly beneficial or harmful, and to

  20. Homogeneity of coral reef communities across 8 degrees of latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberts, May B; Jones, Geoffrey P; McCormick, Mark I; Munday, Philip L; Neale, Stephen; Thorrold, Simon; Robitzch, Vanessa S N; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-04-30

    Coral reef communities between 26.8 °N and 18.6 °N latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea were surveyed to provide baseline data and an assessment of fine-scale biogeography of communities in this region. Forty reefs along 1100 km of coastline were surveyed using depth-stratified visual transects of fish and benthic communities. Fish abundance and benthic cover data were analyzed using multivariate approaches to investigate whether coral reef communities differed with latitude. A total of 215 fish species and 90 benthic categories were recorded on the surveys. There were no significant differences among locations in fish abundance, species richness, or among several diversity indices. Despite known environmental gradients within the Red Sea, the communities remained surprisingly similar. The communities do, however, exhibit subtle changes across this span of reefs that likely reflect the constrained distributions of several species of reef fish and benthic fauna.

  1. Homogeneity of coral reef communities across 8 degrees of latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roberts, May B.

    2015-11-20

    Coral reef communities between 26.8°N and 18.6°N latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea were surveyed to provide baseline data and an assessment of fine-scale biogeography of communities in this region. Forty reefs along 1100 km of coastline were surveyed using depth-stratified visual transects of fish and benthic communities. Fish abundance and benthic cover data were analyzed using multivariate approaches to investigate whether coral reef communities differed with latitude. A total of 215 fish species and 90 benthic categories were recorded on the surveys. There were no significant differences among locations in fish abundance, species richness, or among several diversity indices. Despite known environmental gradients within the Red Sea, the communities remained surprisingly similar. The communities do, however, exhibit subtle changes across this span of reefs that likely reflect the constrained distributions of several species of reef fish and benthic fauna.

  2. Three decades of recurrent declines and recoveries in corals belie ongoing change in fish assemblages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamy, T.; Galzin, R.; Kulbicki, M.; Lison de Loma, T.; Claudet, J.

    2016-03-01

    Coral reefs are increasingly being altered by a myriad of anthropogenic activities and natural disturbances. Long-term studies offer unique opportunities to understand how multiple and recurrent disturbances can influence coral reef resilience and long-term dynamics. While the long-term dynamics of coral assemblages have been extensively documented, the long-term dynamics of coral reef fish assemblages have received less attention. Here, we describe the changes in fish assemblages on Tiahura reef, Moorea, from 1979 to 2011. During this 33-yr period, Tiahura was exposed to multiple disturbances (crown-of-thorns seastar outbreaks and cyclones) that caused recurrent declines and recoveries of coral cover and changes in the dominant coral genera. These shifts in coral composition were associated with long-term cascading effects on fish assemblages. The composition and trophic structure of fish assemblages continuously shifted without returning to their initial composition, whereas fish species richness remained stable, albeit with a small increase over time. We detected nonlinear responses of fish density when corals were most degraded. When coral cover dropped below 10 % following a severe crown-of-thorns sea star outbreak, the density of most fish trophic groups sharply decreased. Our study shows that historical contingency may potentially be an important but largely underestimated factor explaining the contemporary structure of reef fish assemblages and suggests that temporal stability in their structure and function should not necessarily be the target of management strategies that aim at increasing or maintaining coral reef resilience.

  3. Reassessing the trophic role of reef sharks as apex predators on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frisch, Ashley J.; Ireland, Matthew; Rizzari, Justin R.; Lönnstedt, Oona M.; Magnenat, Katalin A.; Mirbach, Christopher E.; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.

    2016-06-01

    Apex predators often have strong top-down effects on ecosystem components and are therefore a priority for conservation and management. Due to their large size and conspicuous predatory behaviour, reef sharks are typically assumed to be apex predators, but their functional role is yet to be confirmed. In this study, we used stomach contents and stable isotopes to estimate diet, trophic position and carbon sources for three common species of reef shark ( Triaenodon obesus, Carcharhinus melanopterus and C. amblyrhynchos) from the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) and evaluated their assumed functional role as apex predators by qualitative and quantitative comparisons with other sharks and large predatory fishes. We found that reef sharks do not occupy the apex of coral reef food chains, but instead have functional roles similar to those of large predatory fishes such as snappers, emperors and groupers, which are typically regarded as high-level mesopredators. We hypothesise that a degree of functional redundancy exists within this guild of predators, potentially explaining why shark-induced trophic cascades are rare or subtle in coral reef ecosystems. We also found that reef sharks participate in multiple food webs (pelagic and benthic) and are sustained by multiple sources of primary production. We conclude that large conspicuous predators, be they elasmobranchs or any other taxon, should not axiomatically be regarded as apex predators without thorough analysis of their diet. In the case of reef sharks, our dietary analyses suggest they should be reassigned to an alternative trophic group such as high-level mesopredators. This change will facilitate improved understanding of how reef communities function and how removal of predators (e.g., via fishing) might affect ecosystem properties.

  4. Status of Coral Reef Communities on Two Carbonate Platforms (Tun Sakaran Marine Park, East Sabah, Malaysia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. Montagne

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available This study concerns three sites, located on carbonate platforms, east Sabah: Gaya West, Gaya East, and Mantabuan. At each site, the dominant coral shapes and their health were recorded (lagoons and outer slopes. Densities of echinoderms, Tridacna, and nudibranchs were recorded while fish density was estimated. Generally, the coral vitality is low (≤50% living corals. Massive corals dominate all sites, except the Gaya West-outer slope where coral coverage and diversity are the highest. On the Mantabuan-mesh reef, a diverse Acropora assemblage dominates the landscape. On the reef flat of Gaya East, monospecific circa 10 meter coral patches occur. Primary producers are scarce on all sites. Sea urchins, dominated by Diadema, are abundant on the Gaya East-reef flat and the Gaya West-mesh reef. Sea stars and holothurids are the most prevalent in Gaya West-outer slope, although they remain scarce. Crinoids are only abundant in Mantabuan. Stegastes damselfish highly characterizes the sites of Gaya East (reef flat and inner slope and the Mantabuan-mesh reef. On the Mantabuan-outer slope, parrotfish and other fishes are plentiful. No sign of eutrophication has been detected and natural hypersedimentation and/or eventual ancient bleaching events appear to be the direct principal causes of coral death or coral degradation.

  5. Multiple Stressors and the Functioning of Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harborne, Alastair R.; Rogers, Alice; Bozec, Yves-Marie; Mumby, Peter J.

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs provide critical services to coastal communities, and these services rely on ecosystem functions threatened by stressors. By summarizing the threats to the functioning of reefs from fishing, climate change, and decreasing water quality, we highlight that these stressors have multiple, conflicting effects on functionally similar groups of species and their interactions, and that the overall effects are often uncertain because of a lack of data or variability among taxa. The direct effects of stressors on links among functional groups, such as predator-prey interactions, are particularly uncertain. Using qualitative modeling, we demonstrate that this uncertainty of stressor impacts on functional groups (whether they are positive, negative, or neutral) can have significant effects on models of ecosystem stability, and reducing uncertainty is vital for understanding changes to reef functioning. This review also provides guidance for future models of reef functioning, which should include interactions among functional groups and the cumulative effect of stressors.

  6. Monitoring of coral reef ecosystems on the Island of Hawaii from 22 May 1999 to 25 May 1999 through the Quantitative Underwater Ecological Surveying Techniques (QUEST) project (NODC Accession 0000264)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In an effort to detect spatial and temporal changes in the structure of the coral reef community, coral coverage and reef fish density and diversity were documented...

  7. The threat to coral reefs from more intense cyclones under climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheal, Alistair J; MacNeil, M Aaron; Emslie, Michael J; Sweatman, Hugh

    2017-04-01

    Ocean warming under climate change threatens coral reefs directly, through fatal heat stress to corals and indirectly, by boosting the energy of cyclones that cause coral destruction and loss of associated organisms. Although cyclone frequency is unlikely to rise, cyclone intensity is predicted to increase globally, causing more frequent occurrences of the most destructive cyclones with potentially severe consequences for coral reef ecosystems. While increasing heat stress is considered a pervasive risk to coral reefs, quantitative estimates of threats from cyclone intensification are lacking due to limited data on cyclone impacts to inform projections. Here, using extensive data from Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), we show that increases in cyclone intensity predicted for this century are sufficient to greatly accelerate coral reef degradation. Coral losses on the outer GBR were small, localized and offset by gains on undisturbed reefs for more than a decade, despite numerous cyclones and periods of record heat stress, until three unusually intense cyclones over 5 years drove coral cover to record lows over >1500 km. Ecological damage was particularly severe in the central-southern region where 68% of coral cover was destroyed over >1000 km, forcing record declines in the species richness and abundance of associated fish communities, with many local extirpations. Four years later, recovery of average coral cover was relatively slow and there were further declines in fish species richness and abundance. Slow recovery of community diversity appears likely from such a degraded starting point. Highly unusual characteristics of two of the cyclones, aside from high intensity, inflated the extent of severe ecological damage that would more typically have occurred over 100s of km. Modelling published predictions of future cyclone activity, the likelihood of more intense cyclones within time frames of coral recovery by mid-century poses a global threat to coral

  8. Coupled dynamics of territorial damselfishes and juvenile corals on the reef crest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casey, J. M.; Choat, J. H.; Connolly, S. R.

    2015-03-01

    Territories of grazing fishes in the family Pomacentridae have been documented to cover a substantial proportion of shallow, exposed coral reef fronts, and these fishes can have profound effects on benthic community composition, including the recruitment and post-settlement survival of scleractinian corals. However, current studies of territorial grazer effects on corals have focused on back-reef habitats. Territorial damselfishes occur in distinct behavioural guilds ranging from indeterminate territorial grazers with thin algal turfs and low rates of territorial aggression to intensive territorial grazers with thick turfs and high rates of aggression. To determine the impact of territorial grazers on the establishment of juvenile corals, we surveyed the reef crest habitat of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, using fixed transects to assess the effects of indeterminate and intensive territorial grazers on juvenile coral abundance and taxonomic composition. In addition, the turnover of territorial pomacentrids was monitored as well as the effects of turnover on juvenile coral assemblages. Intensive territorial grazers were associated with a significantly lower juvenile coral abundance (34 % decrease), but neither intensive nor indeterminate grazer territories impacted juvenile coral taxonomic composition. Over the course of 1 yr, there was a high rate of territorial turnover (39.7 %). Turnover from control plots to intensive damselfish territories was accompanied by a 44 % decrease in juvenile corals; conversely, turnover from intensive damselfish territories to control plots coincided with a 48 % increase in juvenile corals. These findings reveal two main conclusions. Firstly, the association between damselfish territories and the abundance and spatial turnover of juvenile corals strongly implies that territorial grazers have a negative effect on juvenile coral populations. Secondly, the unexpectedly high temporal turnover of damselfish territories indicates that

  9. Mapping Coral Reef Resilience Indicators Using Field and Remotely Sensed Data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stuart Phinn

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available In the face of increasing climate-related impacts on coral reefs, the integration of ecosystem resilience into marine conservation planning has become a priority. One strategy, including resilient areas in marine protected area (MPA networks, relies on information on the spatial distribution of resilience. We assess the ability to model and map six indicators of coral reef resilience—stress-tolerant coral taxa, coral generic diversity, fish herbivore biomass, fish herbivore functional group richness, density of juvenile corals and the cover of live coral and crustose coralline algae. We use high spatial resolution satellite data to derive environmental predictors and use these in random forest models, with field observations, to predict resilience indicator values at unsampled locations. Predictions are compared with those obtained from universal kriging and from a baseline model. Prediction errors are estimated using cross-validation, and the ability to map each resilience indicator is quantified as the percentage reduction in prediction error compared to the baseline model. Results are most promising (percentage reduction = 18.3% for mapping the cover of live coral and crustose coralline algae and least promising (percentage reduction = 0% for coral diversity. Our study has demonstrated one approach to map indicators of coral reef resilience. In the context of MPA network planning, the potential to consider reef resilience in addition to habitat and feature representation in decision-support software now exists, allowing planners to integrate aspects of reef resilience in MPA network development.

  10. Predation risk, resource quality, and reef structural complexity shape territoriality in a coral reef herbivore.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura B Catano

    Full Text Available For many species securing territories is important for feeding and reproduction. Factors such as competition, habitat availability, and male characteristics can influence an individual's ability to establish and maintain a territory. The risk of predation can have an important influence on feeding and reproduction; however, few have studied its effect on territoriality. We investigated territoriality in a haremic, polygynous species of coral reef herbivore, Sparisoma aurofrenatum (redband parrotfish, across eight reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that were either protected or unprotected from fishing of piscivorous fishes. We examined how territory size and quality varied with reef protection status, competition, predation risk, and male size. We then determined how territory size and quality influenced harem size and female size to understand the effect of territoriality on reproductive potential. We found that protected reefs trended towards having more large predatory fishes and that territories there were smaller but had greater algal nutritional quality relative to unprotected reefs. Our data suggest that even though males in protected sites have smaller territories, which support fewer females, they may improve their reproductive potential by choosing nutritionally rich areas, which support larger females. Thus, reef protection appears to shape the trade-off that herbivorous fishes make between territory size and quality. Furthermore, we provide evidence that males in unprotected sites, which are generally less complex than protected sites, choose territories with higher structural complexity, suggesting the importance of this type of habitat for feeding and reproduction in S. aurofrenatum. Our work argues that the loss of corals and the resulting decline in structural complexity, as well as management efforts to protect reefs, could alter the territory dynamics and reproductive potential of important herbivorous fish

  11. Predation risk, resource quality, and reef structural complexity shape territoriality in a coral reef herbivore.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Catano, Laura B; Gunn, Bridgette K; Kelley, Megan C; Burkepile, Deron E

    2015-01-01

    For many species securing territories is important for feeding and reproduction. Factors such as competition, habitat availability, and male characteristics can influence an individual's ability to establish and maintain a territory. The risk of predation can have an important influence on feeding and reproduction; however, few have studied its effect on territoriality. We investigated territoriality in a haremic, polygynous species of coral reef herbivore, Sparisoma aurofrenatum (redband parrotfish), across eight reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that were either protected or unprotected from fishing of piscivorous fishes. We examined how territory size and quality varied with reef protection status, competition, predation risk, and male size. We then determined how territory size and quality influenced harem size and female size to understand the effect of territoriality on reproductive potential. We found that protected reefs trended towards having more large predatory fishes and that territories there were smaller but had greater algal nutritional quality relative to unprotected reefs. Our data suggest that even though males in protected sites have smaller territories, which support fewer females, they may improve their reproductive potential by choosing nutritionally rich areas, which support larger females. Thus, reef protection appears to shape the trade-off that herbivorous fishes make between territory size and quality. Furthermore, we provide evidence that males in unprotected sites, which are generally less complex than protected sites, choose territories with higher structural complexity, suggesting the importance of this type of habitat for feeding and reproduction in S. aurofrenatum. Our work argues that the loss of corals and the resulting decline in structural complexity, as well as management efforts to protect reefs, could alter the territory dynamics and reproductive potential of important herbivorous fish species.

  12. Coral reef surveys in India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    with those practiced elsewhere. With these objectives, diversification of observations to include various reef responses both at community level and at organism level have just begun and may eventually be continued to integrate with global reef monitoring...

  13. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: Coral Reef Habitat Mapping Projects in 2016

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Maps are a critical cornerstone of coral reef management, research and planning, with direct links to management needs in a number of forms. To accurately...

  14. External tagging does not affect the feeding behavior of a coral reef fish, Chaetodon vagabundus (Pisces: Chaetodontidae)

    KAUST Repository

    Berumen, Michael L.

    2009-11-10

    Increasingly, the ability to recognize individual fishes is important for studies of population dynamics, ecology, and behavior. Although a variety of methods exist, external tags remain one of the most widely applied because they are both effective and cost efficient. However, a key assumption is that neither the tagging procedure nor the presence of a tag negatively affects the individual. While this has been demonstrated for relatively coarse metrics such as growth and survival, few studies have examined the impact of tags and tagging on more subtle aspects of behavior. We tagged adult vagabond butterflyfish (Chaetodon vagabundus) occupying a 30-ha insular reef in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, using a commonly-utilized t-bar anchor tag. We quantified and compared feeding behavior (bite rate), which is sensitive to stress, of tagged and untagged individuals over four separate sampling periods spanning 4 months post-tagging. Bite rates did not differ between tagged and untagged individuals at each sampling period and, combined with additional anecdotal observations of normal pairing behavior and successful reproduction, suggest that tagging did not adversely affect individuals. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.

  15. [Reef fishes community structure of Playa Mero, Parque Nacional Morrocoy, Venezuela].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez, J; Villamizar, E

    2000-12-01

    The coral reef fish community was studied in Playa Mero, Morrocoy National Park, after the mass mortality of January, 1996 with a systematic sampling design. Transects and quadrates were used for corals, and a visual census for fishes. The coral community is highly disturbed with extensive areas of dead coral covered by algae, and low coverage and richness of coral species, gorgonians, sponges and briozooans. These factors have generated a relatively homogeneous environment with respect to the fish community, which was dominated by Scaridae and Pomacentridae that represented 75% of fish. Dominant fishes were mainly herbivorous (75.4% of all fish) apparently because of the disturbance that caused the settling of algae.

  16. Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Sharon H.; Newton, R. Amanda; Ortiz, Alida

    This activity book on coral reefs for middle school students is divided into 10 sections. Section 1 contains the introduction. Section 2 describes what coral reefs are while section 3 describes how coral reefs reproduce and grow. Section 4 discusses where coral reefs are found and section 5 describes life on a coral reef. Section 6 discusses the…

  17. Optimising Land-Sea Management for Inshore Coral Reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilby, Ben L.; Olds, Andrew D.; Connolly, Rod M.; Stevens, Tim; Henderson, Christopher J.; Maxwell, Paul S.; Tibbetts, Ian R.; Schoeman, David S.; Rissik, David; Schlacher, Thomas A.

    2016-01-01

    Management authorities seldom have the capacity to comprehensively address the full suite of anthropogenic stressors, particularly in the coastal zone where numerous threats can act simultaneously to impact reefs and other ecosystems. This situation requires tools to prioritise management interventions that result in optimum ecological outcomes under a set of constraints. Here we develop one such tool, introducing a Bayesian Belief Network to model the ecological condition of inshore coral reefs in Moreton Bay (Australia) under a range of management actions. Empirical field data was used to model a suite of possible ecological responses of coral reef assemblages to five key management actions both in the sea (e.g. expansion of reserves, mangrove & seagrass restoration, fishing restrictions) and on land (e.g. lower inputs of sediment and sewage from treatment plants). Models show that expanding marine reserves (a ‘marine action’) and reducing sediment inputs from the catchments (a ‘land action’) were the most effective investments to achieve a better status of