WorldWideScience

Sample records for coral reef fishes

  1. Extinction vulnerability of coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Chabanet, Pascale; Evans, Richard D; Jennings, Simon; Letourneur, Yves; Aaron Macneil, M; McClanahan, Tim R; Ohman, Marcus C; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Wilson, Shaun K

    2011-04-01

    With rapidly increasing rates of contemporary extinction, predicting extinction vulnerability and identifying how multiple stressors drive non-random species loss have become key challenges in ecology. These assessments are crucial for avoiding the loss of key functional groups that sustain ecosystem processes and services. We developed a novel predictive framework of species extinction vulnerability and applied it to coral reef fishes. Although relatively few coral reef fishes are at risk of global extinction from climate disturbances, a negative convex relationship between fish species locally vulnerable to climate change vs. fisheries exploitation indicates that the entire community is vulnerable on the many reefs where both stressors co-occur. Fishes involved in maintaining key ecosystem functions are more at risk from fishing than climate disturbances. This finding is encouraging as local and regional commitment to fisheries management action can maintain reef ecosystem functions pending progress towards the more complex global problem of stabilizing the climate. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    effects of fishing intensity, reef geomorphology and benthic cover. Distance from the .... on herbivorous fish communities relevant to the proposed ... fragments, nearshore coastal fringing reefs ..... Over-fishing and coral bleaching pose the most ...

  3. Interoceanic differences in the reproduction of coral-reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thresher, R E

    1982-10-01

    Eggs of demersal spawning coral-reef fishes of the tropical western Atlantic are smaller than those of related species in the western Pacific. Decreased egg volume may result in increased fecundity per unit body weight of Atlantic species, a factor that may underlie apparent differences in the stability of the respective coral-reef fish communities.

  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. Ocular media transmission of coral reef fish--can coral reef fish see ultraviolet light?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siebeck, U E; Marshall, N J

    2001-01-15

    Many coral reef fish are beautifully coloured and the reflectance spectra of their colour patterns may include UVa wavelengths (315-400 nm) that are largely invisible to the human eye (Losey, G. S., Cronin, T. W., Goldsmith, T. H., David, H., Marshall, N. J., & McFarland, W.N. (1999). The uv visual world of fishes: a review. Journal of Fish Biology, 54, 921-943; Marshall, N. J. & Oberwinkler, J. (1999). The colourful world of the mantis shrimp. Nature, 401, 873-874). Before the possible functional significance of UV patterns can be investigated, it is of course essential to establish whether coral reef fishes can see ultraviolet light. As a means of tackling this question, in this study the transmittance of the ocular media of 211 coral reef fish species was measured. It was found that the ocular media of 50.2% of the examined species strongly absorb light of wavelengths below 400 nm, which makes the perception of UV in these fish very unlikely. The remaining 49.8% of the species studied possess ocular media that do transmit UV light, making the perception of UV possible.

  6. Functionally diverse reef-fish communities ameliorate coral disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raymundo, Laurie J; Halford, Andrew R; Maypa, Aileen P; Kerr, Alexander M

    2009-10-06

    Coral reefs, the most diverse of marine ecosystems, currently experience unprecedented levels of degradation. Diseases are now recognized as a major cause of mortality in reef-forming corals and are complicit in phase shifts of reef ecosystems to algal-dominated states worldwide. Even so, factors contributing to disease occurrence, spread, and impact remain poorly understood. Ecosystem resilience has been linked to the conservation of functional diversity, whereas overfishing reduces functional diversity through cascading, top-down effects. Hence, we tested the hypothesis that reefs with trophically diverse reef fish communities have less coral disease than overfished reefs. We surveyed reefs across the central Philippines, including well-managed marine protected areas (MPAs), and found that disease prevalence was significantly negatively correlated with fish taxonomic diversity. Further, MPAs had significantly higher fish diversity and less disease than unprotected areas. We subsequently investigated potential links between coral disease and the trophic components of fish diversity, finding that only the density of coral-feeding chaetodontid butterflyfishes, seldom targeted by fishers, was positively associated with disease prevalence. These previously uncharacterized results are supported by a second large-scale dataset from the Great Barrier Reef. We hypothesize that members of the charismatic reef-fish family Chaetodontidae are major vectors of coral disease by virtue of their trophic specialization on hard corals and their ecological release in overfished areas, particularly outside MPAs.

  7. 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.

  8. 78 FR 66683 - Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-06

    ... the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries... special coral reef ecosystem fishing permit. SUMMARY: NMFS issued a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that authorizes Kampachi Farms, LLC, to culture and harvest a coral reef ecosystem management unit...

  9. 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.

  10. The importance of spatial fishing behavior for coral reef resilience

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rassweiler, A.; Lauer, M.; Holbrook, S. J.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs are dynamic systems in which disturbances periodically reduce coral cover but are normally followed by recovery of the coral community. However, human activity may have reduced this resilience to disturbance in many coral reef systems, as an increasing number of reefs have undergone persistent transitions from coral-dominated to macroalgal-dominated community states. Fishing on herbivores may be one cause of reduced reef resilience, as lower herbivory can make it easier for macroalgae to become established after a disturbance. Despite the acknowledged importance of fishing, relatively little attention has been paid to the potential for feedbacks between ecosystem state and fisher behavior. Here we couple methods from environmental anthropology and ecology to explore these feedbacks between small-scale fisheries and coral reefs in Moorea, French Polynesia. We document how aspects of ecological state such as the abundance of macroalgae affect people's preference for fishing in particular lagoon habitats. We then incorporate biases towards fishing in certain ecological states into a spatially explicit bio-economic model of ecological dynamics and fishing in Moorea's lagoons. We find that feedbacks between spatial fishing behavior and ecological state can have critical effects on coral reefs. Presence of these spatial behaviors consistently leads to more coherence across the reef-scape. However, whether this coherence manifests as increased resilience or increased fragility depends on the spatial scales of fisher movement and the magnitudes of disturbance. These results emphasize the potential importance of spatially-explicit fishing behavior for reef resilience, but also the complexity of the feedbacks involved.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Tyler, Elizabeth; Manica, Andrea; Jiddawi, Narriman S.; Speight, Martin R.

    2011-01-01

    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

  12. 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.

  13. Length-weight relationships of coral reef fishes from the Alacran Reef, Yucatan, Mexico

    OpenAIRE

    Gonzalez-Gandara, C.; Perez-Diaz, E.; Santos-Rodriguez, L.; Arias-Gonzalez, J.E.

    2003-01-01

    Length-weight relationships were computed for 42 species of coral reef fishes from 14 families from the Alacran Reef (Yucatan, Mexico). A total of 1 892 individuals was used for this purpose. The fish species were caught by different fishing techniques such as fishhooks, harpoons, gill and trawl nets. The sampling period was from March 1998 to January 2000.

  14. 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

  15. Fishing down the largest coral reef fish species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fenner, Douglas

    2014-07-15

    Studies on remote, uninhabited, near-pristine reefs have revealed surprisingly large populations of large reef fish. Locations such as the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, northern Marianas Islands, Line Islands, U.S. remote Pacific Islands, Cocos-Keeling Atoll and Chagos archipelago have much higher reef fish biomass than islands and reefs near people. Much of the high biomass of most remote reef fish communities lies in the largest species, such as sharks, bumphead parrots, giant trevally, and humphead wrasse. Some, such as sharks and giant trevally, are apex predators, but others such as bumphead parrots and humphead wrasse, are not. At many locations, decreases in large reef fish species have been attributed to fishing. Fishing is well known to remove the largest fish first, and a quantitative measure of vulnerability to fishing indicates that large reef fish species are much more vulnerable to fishing than small fish. The removal of large reef fish by fishing parallels the extinction of terrestrial megafauna by early humans. However large reef fish have great value for various ecological roles and for reef tourism. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. 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

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

    KAUST Repository

    Pratchett, M.S.; Hoey, A.S.; Wilson, S.K.; Messmer, V.; Graham, N.A.J.

    2011-01-01

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. 78 FR 49258 - Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-08-13

    ... the Western Pacific; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries... Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that would authorize Kampachi Farms, LLC, to culture and harvest a coral reef ecosystem management unit fish species in a floating pen moored about 5.5 nm off the west coast of...

  20. Reef fish and coral assemblages at Maptaput, Rayong Province

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Voravit Cheevaporn

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available This study describes the structure of coral and fish assemblages of a group of small islands and pinnacles in the vicinity of Maptaput deep sea port, Rayong Province, Thailand during 2002. The coral and fish assemblages at Saket Island and nearby pinnacle, Hin-Yai, which are located less than 1 km from the deep sea port, had changed. Living coral cover in 2002 was 8% at Hin-Yai and 4% at Saket Island which decreased from 33% and 64%, respectively in the previous report in 1992. Numbers of coral species at Saket Island decreased from 41 species to 13 species. Acropora spp. that previously dominated the area had nearly disappeared. For fishes, a total of 40 species were found in 2002 the numbers decreased to only 6 species at Saket Island and 36 species at Hin-Yai. Fishes that dominated the area are small pomacentrids. After 1997, the conditions of coral and fish assemblages at Saket Island and Hin-Yai had markedly changed, whereas, the conditions found in the nearby area are much better. Sediment load from port construction was the primary cause of the degradation. This should indicate the adverse effect of sedimentation on coral and reef fish assemblages at Maptaput. Coral communities developed on rock pinnacles west of Maptaput deep-sea port are reported and described herein for the first time.

  1. DIVERSITY OF REEF FISH FUNGSIONAL GROUPS IN TERMS OF CORAL REEF RESILIENCES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Isa Nagib edrus

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Infrastructure development in the particular sites of  Seribu Islands as well as those in main land of Jakarta City increased with coastal population this phenomenon is likely to increase the effects to the adjacent coral waters of Seribu Islands.  Chemical pollutants, sedimentation, and domestic wastes are the common impact and threatening, the survival of coral reef ecosystem. Coral reef resiliences naturaly remained on their processes under many influences of supporting factors. One of the major factor is the role of reef fish functional groups on controling algae growth to recolonize coral juveniles. The  aim of this study to obtain data of a herbivory and other fish functional groups of reef fishes in the Pari Islands that are resilience indicators, or that may indicate the effectiveness of management actions. A conventional scientific approach on fish diversity and abundance data gathering was conducted by the underwater visual cencus. Diversity values of the reef fish functional groups, such as the abundance of individual fish including species, were collected and tabulated by classes and weighted as a baseline to understand the resilience of coral reed based on Obura and Grimsditch (2009 techniques. The results succesfully identified several fish functional groups such as harbivores (21 species, carnivores (13 species and fish indicator (5 species occurred in the area. Regarding the aspects of fish density and its diversity, especially herbivorous fish functional group, were presumably in the state of rarely available to support the coral reef resiliences. Resilience indices ranged from 1 (low level to 3 (moderate level and averages of the quality levels ranged from 227 to 674. These levels were inadequate to support coral reef recolonization.

  2. Mass coral bleaching causes biotic homogenization of reef fish assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, Laura E; Graham, Nicholas A J; Pratchett, Morgan S; Eurich, Jacob G; Hoey, Andrew S

    2018-04-06

    Global climate change is altering community composition across many ecosystems due to nonrandom species turnover, typically characterized by the loss of specialist species and increasing similarity of biological communities across spatial scales. As anthropogenic disturbances continue to alter species composition globally, there is a growing need to identify how species responses influence the establishment of distinct assemblages, such that management actions may be appropriately assigned. Here, we use trait-based analyses to compare temporal changes in five complementary indices of reef fish assemblage structure among six taxonomically distinct coral reef habitats exposed to a system-wide thermal stress event. Our results revealed increased taxonomic and functional similarity of previously distinct reef fish assemblages following mass coral bleaching, with changes characterized by subtle, but significant, shifts toward predominance of small-bodied, algal-farming habitat generalists. Furthermore, while the taxonomic or functional richness of fish assemblages did not change across all habitats, an increase in functional originality indicated an overall loss of functional redundancy. We also found that prebleaching coral composition better predicted changes in fish assemblage structure than the magnitude of coral loss. These results emphasize how measures of alpha diversity can mask important changes in the structure and functioning of ecosystems as assemblages reorganize. Our findings also highlight the role of coral species composition in structuring communities and influencing the diversity of responses of reef fishes to disturbance. As new coral species configurations emerge, their desirability will hinge upon the composition of associated species and their capacity to maintain key ecological processes in spite of ongoing disturbances. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Coral Reef Fish collected in Fl Keys Reef Tract (2014)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Divers conducted reef visual census (RVC) fish surveys and habitat assessments at 433 sites in the Florida Keys, 436 sites in the Dry Tortugas and 320 sites in the...

  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. Invasive Lionfish Drive Atlantic Coral Reef Fish Declines

    OpenAIRE

    Green, Stephanie; Akins, John; Maljković, Aleksandra; Cote, Isabelle

    2012-01-01

    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 Isl...

  6. Social interactions among grazing reef fish drive material flux in a coral reef ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gil, Michael A; Hein, Andrew M

    2017-05-02

    In human financial and social systems, exchanges of information among individuals cause speculative bubbles, behavioral cascades, and other correlated actions that profoundly influence system-level function. Exchanges of information are also widespread in ecological systems, but their effects on ecosystem-level processes are largely unknown. Herbivory is a critical ecological process in coral reefs, where diverse assemblages of fish maintain reef health by controlling the abundance of algae. Here, we show that social interactions have a major effect on fish grazing rates in a reef ecosystem. We combined a system for observing and manipulating large foraging areas in a coral reef with a class of dynamical decision-making models to reveal that reef fish use information about the density and actions of nearby fish to decide when to feed on algae and when to flee foraging areas. This "behavioral coupling" causes bursts of feeding activity that account for up to 68% of the fish community's consumption of algae. Moreover, correlations in fish behavior induce a feedback, whereby each fish spends less time feeding when fewer fish are present, suggesting that reducing fish stocks may not only reduce total algal consumption but could decrease the amount of algae each remaining fish consumes. Our results demonstrate that social interactions among consumers can have a dominant effect on the flux of energy and materials through ecosystems, and our methodology paves the way for rigorous in situ measurements of the behavioral rules that underlie ecological rates in other natural systems.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Wilson, S. K.; Adjeroud, M.; Bellwood, D. R.; Berumen, Michael L.; Booth, D.; Bozec, Y.-M.; 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.

    2010-01-01

    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

  8. Habitat degradation and fishing effects on the size structure of coral reef fish communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, S K; Fisher, R; Pratchett, M S; Graham, N A J; Dulvy, N K; Turner, R A; Cakacaka, A; Polunin, N V C

    2010-03-01

    Overfishing and habitat degradation through climate change pose the greatest threats to sustainability of marine resources on coral reefs. We examined how changes in fishing pressure and benthic habitat composition influenced the size spectra of island-scale reef fish communities in Lau, Fiji. Between 2000 and 2006 fishing pressure declined in the Lau Islands due to declining human populations and reduced demand for fresh fish. At the same time, coral cover declined and fine-scale architectural complexity eroded due to coral bleaching and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci. We examined the size distribution of reef fish communities using size spectra analysis, the linearized relationship between abundance and body size class. Spatial variation in fishing pressure accounted for 31% of the variation in the slope of the size spectra in 2000, higher fishing pressure being associated with a steeper slope, which is indicative of fewer large-bodied fish and/or more small-bodied fish. Conversely, in 2006 spatial variation in habitat explained 53% of the variation in the size spectra slopes, and the relationship with fishing pressure was much weaker (approximately 12% of variation) than in 2000. Reduced cover of corals and lower structural complexity was associated with less steep size spectra slopes, primarily due to reduced abundance of fish < 20 cm. Habitat degradation will compound effects of fishing on coral reefs as increased fishing reduces large-bodied target species, while habitat loss results in fewer small-bodied juveniles and prey that replenish stocks and provide dietary resources for predatory target species. Effective management of reef resources therefore depends on both reducing fishing pressure and maintaining processes that encourage rapid recovery of coral habitat.

  9. Structure of Caribbean coral reef communities across a large gradient of fish biomass.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newman, Marah J H; Paredes, Gustavo A; Sala, Enric; Jackson, Jeremy B C

    2006-11-01

    The collapse of Caribbean coral reefs has been attributed in part to historic overfishing, but whether fish assemblages can recover and how such recovery might affect the benthic reef community has not been tested across appropriate scales. We surveyed the biomass of reef communities across a range in fish abundance from 14 to 593 g m(-2), a gradient exceeding that of any previously reported for coral reefs. Increased fish biomass was correlated with an increased proportion of apex predators, which were abundant only inside large marine reserves. Increased herbivorous fish biomass was correlated with a decrease in fleshy algal biomass but corals have not yet recovered.

  10. ENERGETIC EXTREMES IN A HOSTILE HABITAT: FISH LOCOMOTION ON WAVE-SWEPT CORAL REEFS

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Steffensen, John Fleng

    2010-01-01

    , and wing-like fins that generate lift-based thrust at high speed. Literally flying underwater, Stethojulis and other winged-fin species are the most abundant fish in wave-swept coral reef habitats. We discuss the extreme swimming performance of these reef fishes within the context of other non......-scombrid and scombrid fishes, and illustrate how such performance has contributed to their domination of shallow coral reef habitats worldwide....

  11. 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

    2010-12-01

    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

  12. The influence of coral reef benthic condition on associated fish assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen M Chong-Seng

    Full Text Available Accumulative disturbances can erode a coral reef's resilience, often leading to replacement of scleractinian corals by macroalgae or other non-coral organisms. These degraded reef systems have been mostly described based on changes in the composition of the reef benthos, and there is little understanding of how such changes are influenced by, and in turn influence, other components of the reef ecosystem. This study investigated the spatial variation in benthic communities on fringing reefs around the inner Seychelles islands. Specifically, relationships between benthic composition and the underlying substrata, as well as the associated fish assemblages were assessed. High variability in benthic composition was found among reefs, with a gradient from high coral cover (up to 58% and high structural complexity to high macroalgae cover (up to 95% and low structural complexity at the extremes. This gradient was associated with declining species richness of fishes, reduced diversity of fish functional groups, and lower abundance of corallivorous fishes. There were no reciprocal increases in herbivorous fish abundances, and relationships with other fish functional groups and total fish abundance were weak. Reefs grouping at the extremes of complex coral habitats or low-complexity macroalgal habitats displayed markedly different fish communities, with only two species of benthic invertebrate feeding fishes in greater abundance in the macroalgal habitat. These results have negative implications for the continuation of many coral reef ecosystem processes and services if more reefs shift to extreme degraded conditions dominated by macroalgae.

  13. 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.

  14. Comparison of coral reef ecosystems along a fishing pressure gradient.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariska Weijerman

    Full Text Available 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 three models, enhancing comparability. Model outputs-such as net system production, size structure of the community, total throughput, production, consumption, production-to-respiration ratio, and Finn's cycling index and mean path length-indicate that the systems around the unpopulated French Frigate Shoals and along the relatively lightly populated Kona Coast of Hawai'i Island are mature, stable systems with a high efficiency in recycling of biomass. In contrast, model results show that the reef system around the most populated island in the State of Hawai'i, O'ahu, is in a transitional state with reduced ecosystem resilience and appears to be shifting to an algal-dominated system. Evaluation of the candidate indicators for fishing pressure showed that indicators at the community level (e.g., total biomass, community size structure, trophic level of the community were most robust (i.e., showed the clearest trend and that multiple indicators are necessary to identify fishing perturbations. These indicators could be used as performance indicators when compared to a baseline for management purposes. This study shows that ecosystem models can be valuable tools in identification of the system state in terms of complexity, stability, and resilience and, therefore, can complement biological metrics currently used by monitoring programs as indicators for coral reef status. Moreover, ecosystem models can improve our understanding of a system's internal structure that can be used to support management in identification of approaches to reverse unfavorable states.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Bellwood, David R.; Baird, Andrew Hamilton; Depczynski, Martial R.; Gonzá lez-Cabello, Alonso; Hoey, Andrew; Lefé vre, Carine D.; Tanner, Jennifer K.

    2012-01-01

    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. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

  16. 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.

  17. Length-weight relationship of fishes from coral reefs and lagoons of New Caledonia: an update

    OpenAIRE

    Letourneur, Y.; Kulbicki, M.; Labrosse, P.

    1998-01-01

    Length-weight relationships of 316 reef and lagoon fish from New Caledonia (SW Pacific Ocean) belonging to 68 families are computed. A total of 43,750 individuals was used for this purpose. Fish were sampled by different techniques such as rotenone poisoning, handline and bottom longline fishing, gill and trammel nets, and trawling in various isotopes (coral reefs, lagoon bottoms and mangroves).

  18. Coral reef fish biomass and benthic cover data from Timor-Leste in June 2013

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coral reef fish and benthos were surveyed at 150 shallow-water coral reef sites across the north coast of Timor-Leste and around Atauro Island in June 2013 during a...

  19. 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

  20. 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:...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruttenberg, B.I.; Hamilton, S.L.; Walsh, S.M.; Donovan, M.K.; Friedlander, A.; DeMartini, E.; Sala, E.; Sandin, S.A.

    2011-01-01

    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. ?? 2011 Ruttenberg et al.

  2. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Campbell, Stuart J.; Cinner, Joshua E.; Ardiwijaya, Rizya L.; Pardede, Shinta T.; Kartawijaya, Tasrif; Mukmunin, Ahmad; Herdiana, Yudi; Hoey, Andrew; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Baird, Andrew Hamilton

    2012-01-01

    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

  4. Behavioral Ecology of Coral Reef Fishes at Spawning Aggregation Sites

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Sancho, Gorka

    1998-01-01

    This thesis is an extensive investigation of the behavioral and ecological relationships between spawning reef fishes, their predators, and various environmental parameters at spawning aggregation sites...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Invasive lionfish drive Atlantic coral reef fish declines.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Stephanie J; Akins, John L; Maljković, Aleksandra; Côté, Isabelle M

    2012-01-01

    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.

  8. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Acosta-González, Gilberto; Rodríguez-Zaragoza, Fabián A; Hernández-Landa, Roberto C; Arias-González, Jesús E

    2013-01-01

    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.

  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. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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 (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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Ontogenetic dietary changes of coral reef fishes in the mangrove-seagress-reef continuum: stable isotope and gut-content analysis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cocheret de la Morinière, E.; Pollux, B.J.A.; Nagelkerken, I.; Hemminga, M.A.; Huiskes, A.H.L.; Van der Velde, G.

    2003-01-01

    Juveniles of a number of reef fish species develop in shallow-water 'nursery' habitats such as mangroves and seagrass beds, and then migrate to the coral reef. This implies that some reef fish species are distributed over the mangrove-seagrass-reef continuum in subpopulations with different size

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Effects of human population density and proximity to markets on coral reef fishes vulnerable to extinction by fishing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brewer, T D; Cinner, J E; Green, A; Pressey, R L

    2013-06-01

    Coral reef fisheries are crucial to the livelihoods of tens of millions of people; yet, widespread habitat degradation and unsustainable fishing are causing severe depletion of stocks of reef fish. Understanding how social and economic factors, such as human population density, access to external markets, and modernization interact with fishing and habitat degradation to affect fish stocks is vital to sustainable management of coral reef fisheries. We used fish survey data, national social and economic data, and path analyses to assess whether these factors explain variation in biomass of coral reef fishes among 25 sites in Solomon Islands. We categorized fishes into 3 groups on the basis of life-history characteristics associated with vulnerability to extinction by fishing (high, medium, and low vulnerability). The biomass of fish with low vulnerability was positively related to habitat condition. The biomass of fishes with high vulnerability was negatively related to fishing conducted with efficient gear. Use of efficient gear, in turn, was strongly and positively related to both population density and market proximity. This result suggests local population pressure and external markets have additive negative effects on vulnerable reef fish. Biomass of the fish of medium vulnerability was not explained by fishing intensity or habitat condition, which suggests these species may be relatively resilient to both habitat degradation and fishing. © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology.

  1. 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.

  2. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Colour vision and response bias in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheney, Karen L; Newport, Cait; McClure, Eva C; Marshall, N Justin

    2013-08-01

    Animals use coloured signals for a variety of communication purposes, including to attract potential mates, recognize individuals, defend territories and warn predators of secondary defences (aposematism). To understand the mechanisms that drive the evolution and design of such visual signals, it is important to understand the visual systems and potential response biases of signal receivers. Here, we provide raw data on the spectral capabilities of a coral reef fish, the Picasso triggerfish Rhinecanthus aculeatus, which is potentially trichromatic with three cone sensitivities of 413 nm (single cone), 480 nm (double cone, medium sensitivity) and 528 nm (double cone, long sensitivity), and a rod sensitivity of 498 nm. The ocular media have a 50% transmission cut off at 405 nm. Behavioural experiments confirmed colour vision over their spectral range; triggerfish were significantly more likely to choose coloured stimuli over grey distractors, irrespective of luminance. We then examined whether response biases existed towards coloured and patterned stimuli to provide insight into how visual signals - in particular, aposematic colouration - may evolve. Triggerfish showed a preferential foraging response bias to red and green stimuli, in contrast to blue and yellow, irrespective of pattern. There was no response bias to patterned over monochromatic non-patterned stimuli. A foraging response bias towards red in fish differs from that of avian predators, who often avoid red food items. Red is frequently associated with warning colouration in terrestrial environments (ladybirds, snakes, frogs), whilst blue is used in aquatic environments (blue-ringed octopus, nudibranchs); whether the design of warning (aposematic) displays is a cause or consequence of response biases is unclear.

  6. Indices for assessing coral reef fish biodiversity: the need for a change in habits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loiseau, Nicolas; Gaertner, Jean-Claude

    2015-09-01

    We present the first representative and quantified overview of the indices used worldwide for assessing the biodiversity of coral reef fishes. On this basis, we discuss the suitability and drawbacks of the indices most widely used in the assessment of coral fish biodiversity. An extensive and systematic survey of the literature focused on coral reef fish biodiversity was conducted from 1990 up to the present. We found that the multicomponent aspect of biodiversity, which is considered as a key feature of biodiversity for numerous terrestrial and marine ecosystems, has been poorly taken into account in coral reef fish studies. Species richness is still strongly dominant while other diversity components, such as functional diversity, are underestimated even when functional information is available. We also demonstrate that the reason for choosing particular indices is often unclear, mainly based on empirical rationales and/or the reproduction of widespread habits, but generally with no clear relevance with regard to the aims of the studies. As a result, the most widely used indices (species richness, Shannon, etc.) would appear to be poorly suited to meeting the main challenges facing the monitoring of coral reef fish biodiversity in the future. Our results clearly show that coral reef scientists should rather take advantage of the multicomponent aspect of biodiversity. To facilitate this approach, we propose general guidelines to serve as a basis for the selection of indices that provide complementary and relevant information for monitoring the response of coral reef fish biodiversity in the face of structuring factors (natural or anthropic). The aim of these guidelines was to achieve a better match between the properties of the selected indices and the context of each study (e.g. expected effect of the main structuring factors, nature of data available).

  7. Challenges of transferring models of fish abundance between coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sequeira, Ana M M; Mellin, Camille; Lozano-Montes, Hector M; Meeuwig, Jessica J; Vanderklift, Mathew A; Haywood, Michael D E; Babcock, Russell C; Caley, M Julian

    2018-01-01

    Reliable abundance estimates for species are fundamental in ecology, fisheries, and conservation. Consequently, predictive models able to provide reliable estimates for un- or poorly-surveyed locations would prove a valuable tool for management. Based on commonly used environmental and physical predictors, we developed predictive models of total fish abundance and of abundance by fish family for ten representative taxonomic families for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) using multiple temporal scenarios. We then tested if models developed for the GBR (reference system) could predict fish abundances at Ningaloo Reef (NR; target system), i.e., if these GBR models could be successfully transferred to NR. Models of abundance by fish family resulted in improved performance (e.g., 44.1% fish abundance (9% fish species richness from the GBR to NR, transferability for these fish abundance models was poor. When compared with observations of fish abundance collected in NR, our transferability results had low validation scores ( R 2   0.05). High spatio-temporal variability of patterns in fish abundance at the family and population levels in both reef systems likely affected the transferability of these models. Inclusion of additional predictors with potential direct effects on abundance, such as local fishing effort or topographic complexity, may improve transferability of fish abundance models. However, observations of these local-scale predictors are often not available, and might thereby hinder studies on model transferability and its usefulness for conservation planning and management.

  8. Depth Refuge and the Impacts of SCUBA Spearfishing on Coral Reef Fishes

    OpenAIRE

    Lindfield, Steven J.; McIlwain, Jennifer L.; Harvey, Euan S.

    2014-01-01

    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; Gu...

  9. 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.

  10. Consistent nutrient storage and supply mediated by diverse fish communities in coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allgeier, Jacob E; Layman, Craig A; Mumby, Peter J; Rosemond, Amy D

    2014-08-01

    Corals thrive in low nutrient environments and the conservation of these globally imperiled ecosystems is largely dependent on mitigating the effects of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. However, to better understand the implications of anthropogenic nutrients requires a heightened understanding of baseline nutrient dynamics within these ecosystems. Here, we provide a novel perspective on coral reef nutrient dynamics by examining the role of fish communities in the supply and storage of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). We quantified fish-mediated nutrient storage and supply for 144 species and modeled these data onto 172 fish communities (71 729 individual fish), in four types of coral reefs, as well as seagrass and mangrove ecosystems, throughout the Northern Antilles. Fish communities supplied and stored large quantities of nutrients, with rates varying among ecosystem types. The size structure and diversity of the fish communities best predicted N and P supply and storage and N : P supply, suggesting that alterations to fish communities (e.g., overfishing) will have important implications for nutrient dynamics in these systems. The stoichiometric ratio (N : P) for storage in fish mass (~8 : 1) and supply (~20 : 1) was notably consistent across the four coral reef types (but not seagrass or mangrove ecosystems). Published nutrient enrichment studies on corals show that deviations from this N : P supply ratio may be associated with poor coral fitness, providing qualitative support for the hypothesis that corals and their symbionts may be adapted to specific ratios of nutrient supply. Consumer nutrient stoichiometry provides a baseline from which to better understand nutrient dynamics in coral reef and other coastal ecosystems, information that is greatly needed if we are to implement more effective measures to ensure the future health of the world's oceans. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. The evolution of fishes and corals on reefs: form, function and interdependence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellwood, David R; Goatley, Christopher H R; Bellwood, Orpha

    2017-05-01

    Coral reefs are renowned for their spectacular biodiversity and the close links between fishes and corals. Despite extensive fossil records and common biogeographic histories, the evolution of these two key groups has rarely been considered together. We therefore examine recent advances in molecular phylogenetics and palaeoecology, and place the evolution of fishes and corals in a functional context. In critically reviewing the available fossil and phylogenetic evidence, we reveal a marked congruence in the evolution of the two groups. Despite one group consisting of swimming vertebrates and the other colonial symbiotic invertebrates, fishes and corals have remarkably similar evolutionary histories. In the Paleocene and Eocene [66-34 million years ago (Ma)] most modern fish and coral families were present, and both were represented by a wide range of functional morphotypes. However, there is little evidence of diversification at this time. By contrast, in the Oligocene and Miocene (34-5.3 Ma), both groups exhibited rapid lineage diversification. There is also evidence of increasing reef area, occupation of new habitats, increasing coral cover, and potentially, increasing fish abundance. Functionally, the Oligocene-Miocene is marked by the appearance of new fish and coral taxa associated with high-turnover fast-growth ecosystems and the colonization of reef flats. It is in this period that the functional characteristics of modern coral reefs were established. Most species, however, only arose in the last 5.3 million years (Myr; Plio-Pleistocene), with the average age of fish species being 5.3 Myr, and corals just 1.9 Myr. While these species are genetically distinct, phenotypic differences are often limited to variation in colour or minor morphological features. This suggests that the rapid increase in biodiversity during the last 5.3 Myr was not matched by changes in ecosystem function. For reef fishes, colour appears to be central to recent

  12. Coral reef fish predator maintains olfactory acuity in degraded coral habitats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Natt

    Full Text Available Coral reefs around the world are rapidly degrading due to a range of environmental stressors. Habitat degradation modifies the sensory landscape within which predator-prey interactions occur, with implications for olfactory-mediated behaviours. Predator naïve settlement-stage damselfish rely on conspecific damage-released odours (i.e., alarm odours to inform risk assessments. Yet, species such as the Ambon damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, become unable to respond appropriately to these cues when living in dead-degraded coral habitats, leading to increased mortality through loss of vigilance. Reef fish predators also rely on odours from damaged prey to locate, assess prey quality and engage in prey-stealing, but it is unknown whether their responses are also modified by the change to dead-degraded coral habitats. Implications for prey clearly depend on how their predatory counterparts are affected, therefore the present study tested whether olfactory-mediated foraging responses in the dusky dottyback, Pseudochromis fuscus, a common predator of P. amboinensis, were similarly affected by coral degradation. A y-maze was used to measure the ability of Ps. fuscus to detect and move towards odours, against different background water sources. Ps. fuscus were exposed to damage-released odours from juvenile P. amboinensis, or a control cue of seawater, against a background of seawater treated with either healthy or dead-degraded hard coral. Predators exhibited an increased time allocation to the chambers of y-mazes injected with damage-released odours, with comparable levels of response in both healthy and dead-degraded coral treated waters. In control treatments, where damage-released odours were replaced with a control seawater cue, fish showed no increased preference for either chamber of the y-maze. Our results suggest that olfactory-mediated foraging behaviours may persist in Ps. fuscus within dead-degraded coral habitats. Ps. fuscus may

  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.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khalil, Maha T; Bouwmeester, Jessica; Berumen, Michael L

    2017-01-01

    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. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha T.; Bouwmeester, Jessica; Berumen, Michael L.

    2017-01-01

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. Parasite infestation increases on coral reefs without cleaner fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grutter, A. S.; De Brauwer, M.; Bshary, R.; Cheney, K. L.; Cribb, T. H.; Madin, E. M. P.; McClure, E. C.; Meekan, M. G.; Sun, D.; Warner, R. R.; Werminghausen, J.; Sikkel, P. C.

    2018-03-01

    Mutualisms are pivotal in shaping ecological communities. Iconic images of cleaner fish entering the mouths of predatory fish clients to remove ectoparasites epitomize their mutual benefit. Experimental manipulations of cleaner wrasse reveal declines in fish size and growth, and population abundance and diversity of client fishes in the absence of cleaner wrasse. Fishes grow more slowly and are less abundant and diverse on reefs without cleaner wrasse, both for larger species that are regularly cleaned and have high ectoparasite loads ("attractive species"), and for those smaller species that are rarely cleaned and are rarely infested with parasites ("unattractive species"). We therefore considered whether these previously observed declines in individual and population parameters on reefs without cleaners were related to increased ectoparasite infestation using an attractive species ( Hemigymnus melapterus, Labridae) and an unattractive species ( Pomacentrus amboinensis, Pomacentridae). Traps with these fish as a form of bait were deployed to sample blood-sucking gnathiid ectoparasites (Gnathiidae: Isopoda) on reefs from which cleaners ( Labroides dimidiatus, Labridae) have been removed for 13 yr. Cleaner fish could not enter traps to access the clients/hosts, but gnathiids could enter the traps to infest hosts; thus, this method sampled the indirect effect of cleaners on gnathiid infestation of fish. Infestation was higher on reefs without cleaners than on those with them. The effect was only detected during the daytime when cleaners are active and only on the attractive species ( H. melapterus). Thus, cleaner presence indirectly reduced fish exposure to parasites in a species that is highly susceptible to parasites, but not in one that is rarely infested with parasites. This suggests that cleaner presence indirectly reduces exposure of a common fish species to harmful parasites, which may explain some observed benefits in fishes at this location.

  19. Non-Random Variability in Functional Composition of Coral Reef Fish Communities along an Environmental Gradient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah G; Taylor, Marc H; Husain, Aidah A A; Teichberg, Mirta C; Ferse, Sebastian C A

    2016-01-01

    Changes in the coral reef complex can affect predator-prey relationships, resource availability and niche utilisation in the associated fish community, which may be reflected in decreased stability of the functional traits present in a community. This is because particular traits may be favoured by a changing environment, or by habitat degradation. Furthermore, other traits can be selected against because degradation can relax the association between fishes and benthic habitat. We characterised six important ecological traits for fish species occurring at seven sites across a disturbed coral reef archipelago in Indonesia, where reefs have been exposed to eutrophication and destructive fishing practices for decades. Functional diversity was assessed using two complementary indices (FRic and RaoQ) and correlated to important environmental factors (live coral cover and rugosity, representing local reef health, and distance from shore, representing a cross-shelf environmental gradient). Indices were examined for both a change in their mean, as well as temporal (short-term; hours) and spatial (cross-shelf) variability, to assess whether fish-habitat association became relaxed along with habitat degradation. Furthermore, variability in individual traits was examined to identify the traits that are most affected by habitat change. Increases in the general reef health indicators, live coral cover and rugosity (correlated with distance from the mainland), were associated with decreases in the variability of functional diversity and with community-level changes in the abundance of several traits (notably home range size, maximum length, microalgae, detritus and small invertebrate feeding and reproductive turnover). A decrease in coral cover increased variability of RaoQ while rugosity and distance both inversely affected variability of FRic; however, averages for these indices did not reveal patterns associated with the environment. These results suggest that increased

  20. Widespread hybridization and bidirectional introgression in sympatric species of coral reef fish

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.

    2017-10-28

    Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems, where numerous closely related species often coexist. How new species arise and are maintained in these high geneflow environments have been long-standing conundrums. Hybridization and patterns of introgression between sympatric species provide a unique insight into the mechanisms of speciation and the maintenance of species boundaries. In this study, we investigate the extent of hybridization between two closely related species of coral reef fish: the common coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) and the bar-cheek coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus). Using a complementary set of 25 microsatellite loci, we distinguish pure genotype classes from first- and later-generation hybrids, identifying 124 interspecific hybrids from a collection of 2,991 coral trout sampled in inshore and mid-shelf reefs of the southern Great Barrier Reef. Hybrids were ubiquitous among reefs, fertile and spanned multiple generations suggesting both ecological and evolutionary processes are acting to maintain species barriers. We elaborate on these finding to investigate the extent of genomic introgression and admixture from 2,271 SNP loci recovered from a ddRAD library of pure and hybrid individuals. An analysis of genomic clines on recovered loci indicates that 261 SNP loci deviate from a model of neutral introgression, of which 132 indicate a pattern of introgression consistent with selection favouring both hybrid and parental genotypes. Our findings indicate genome-wide, bidirectional introgression between two sympatric species of coral reef fishes and provide further support to a growing body of evidence for the role of hybridization in the evolution of coral reef fishes.

  1. The hidden half: ecology and evolution of cryptobenthic fishes on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Goatley, Christopher H R; Bellwood, David R; Tornabene, Luke

    2018-05-07

    Teleost fishes are the most diverse group of vertebrates on Earth. On tropical coral reefs, their species richness exceeds 6000 species; one tenth of total vertebrate biodiversity. A large proportion of this diversity is composed of cryptobenthic reef fishes (CRFs): bottom-dwelling, morphologically or behaviourally cryptic species typically less than 50 mm in length. Yet, despite their diversity and abundance, these fishes are both poorly defined and understood. Herein we provide a new quantitative definition and synthesise current knowledge on the diversity, distribution and life history of CRFs. First, we use size distributions within families to define 17 core CRF families as characterised by the high prevalence (>10%) of small-bodied species (fishes, in which virtually no small-bodied species have evolved. We posit that small body size has allowed CRFs to diversify at extremely high rates, primarily by allowing for fine partitioning of microhabitats and facilitation of allopatric reproductive isolation; yet, we are far from understanding and documenting the biodiversity of CRFs. Using rates of description since 1758, we predict that approximately 30 new species of cryptobenthic species will be described per year until 2050 (approximately twice the annual rate compared to large fishes). Furthermore, we predict that by the year 2031, more than half of the described coral reef fish biodiversity will consist of CRFs. These fishes are the 'hidden half' of vertebrate biodiversity on coral reefs. Notably, global geographic coverage and spatial resolution of quantitative data on CRF communities is uniformly poor, which further emphasises the remarkable reservoir of biodiversity that is yet to be discovered. Although small body size may have enabled extensive diversification within CRF families, small size also comes with a suite of ecological challenges that affect fishes' capacities to feed, survive and reproduce; we identify a range of life-history adaptations that

  2. 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...

  3. Guam Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program Reef Fish Surveys FY2014

    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 University of Guam Marine Lab, involves the collection of data for a suite of...

  4. Coral reef fish populations can persist without immigration

    KAUST Repository

    Salles, Océ ane 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

    2015-01-01

    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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. The differentiation of common species in a coral-reef fish assemblage for recreational scuba diving

    OpenAIRE

    Chen, Tsen-Chien; Ho, Cheng-Tze; Jan, Rong-Quen

    2016-01-01

    Background Recreational scuba diving is a popular activity of the coral reef tourism industry. In practice, local diving centers recommend interesting sites to help visiting divers make their plans. Fish are among the major attractions, but they need to be listed with care because the temporal occurrence of a fish species is difficult to predict. To address this issue, we propose methods to categorize each fish species based on its long-term occurrence and likelihood of being seen. Methods We...

  8. Coral reef fish biomass and benthic cover data from Timor-Leste in June 2013 (NCEI Accession 0165354)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Coral reef fish and benthos were surveyed at 150 shallow-water coral reef sites across the north coast of Timor-Leste and around Atauro Island in June 2013 during a...

  9. The importance of sponges and mangroves in supporting fish communities on degraded coral reefs in Caribbean Panama.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seemann, Janina; Yingst, Alexandra; Stuart-Smith, Rick D; Edgar, Graham J; Altieri, Andrew H

    2018-01-01

    Fish communities associated with coral reefs worldwide are threatened by habitat degradation and overexploitation. We assessed coral reefs, mangrove fringes, and seagrass meadows on the Caribbean coast of Panama to explore the influences of their proximity to one another, habitat cover, and environmental characteristics in sustaining biomass, species richness and trophic structure of fish communities in a degraded tropical ecosystem. We found 94% of all fish across all habitat types were of small body size (≤10 cm), with communities dominated by fishes that usually live in habitats of low complexity, such as Pomacentridae (damselfishes) and Gobiidae (gobies). Total fish biomass was very low, with the trend of small fishes from low trophic levels over-represented, and top predators under-represented, relative to coral reefs elsewhere in the Caribbean. For example, herbivorous fishes comprised 27% of total fish biomass in Panama relative to 10% in the wider Caribbean, and the small parrotfish Scarus iseri comprised 72% of the parrotfish biomass. We found evidence that non-coral biogenic habitats support reef-associated fish communities. In particular, the abundance of sponges on a given reef and proximity of mangroves were found to be important positive correlates of reef fish species richness, biomass, abundance and trophic structure. Our study indicates that a diverse fish community can persist on degraded coral reefs, and that the availability and arrangement within the seascape of other habitat-forming organisms, including sponges and mangroves, is critical to the maintenance of functional processes in such ecosystems.

  10. 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...

  11. Importance of Mangroves, Seagrass Beds and the Shallow Coral Reef as a Nursery for Important Coral Reef Fishes, Using a Visual Census Technique

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagelkerken, I.; van der Velde, G.; Gorissen, M. W.; Meijer, G. J.; Van't Hof, T.; den Hartog, C.

    2000-07-01

    The nursery function of various biotopes for coral reef fishes was investigated on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. Length and abundance of 16 commercially important reef fish species were determined by means of visual censuses during the day in six different biotopes: mangrove prop-roots ( Rhizophora mangle) and seagrass beds ( Thalassia testudinum) in Lac Bay, and four depth zones on the coral reef (0 to 3 m, 3 to 5 m, 10 to 15 m and 15 to 20 m). The mangroves, seagrass beds and shallow coral reef (0 to 3 m) appeared to be the main nursery biotopes for the juveniles of the selected species. Mutual comparison between biotopes showed that the seagrass beds were the most important nursery biotope for juvenile Haemulon flavolineatum, H. sciurus, Ocyurus chrysurus, Acanthurus chirurgus and Sparisoma viride, the mangroves for juvenile Lutjanus apodus, L. griseus, Sphyraena barracuda and Chaetodon capistratus, and the shallow coral reef for juvenile H. chrysargyreum, L. mahogoni , A. bahianus and Abudefduf saxatilis. Juvenile Acanthurus coeruleus utilized all six biotopes, while juvenile H. carbonarium and Anisotremus surinamensis were not observed in any of the six biotopes. Although fishes showed a clear preference for a specific nursery biotope, most fish species utilized multiple nursery biotopes simultaneously. The almost complete absence of juveniles on the deeper reef zones indicates the high dependence of juveniles on the shallow water biotopes as a nursery. For most fish species an (partial) ontogenetic shift was observed at a particular life stage from their (shallow) nursery biotopes to the (deeper) coral reef. Cluster analyses showed that closely related species within the families Haemulidae, Lutjanidae and Acanthuridae, and the different size classes within species in most cases had a spatial separation in biotope utilization.

  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; 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James

    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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James; Nowicki, J. P.; Graham, N. A. J.

    2017-01-01

    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. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hehre, E James; Meeuwig, J J

    2015-01-01

    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. 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.

  19. 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,...

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindfield, Steven J; McIlwain, Jennifer L; Harvey, Euan S

    2014-01-01

    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.

  3. [Changes in fish communities of coral reefs at Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, Cuba].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Claro, Rodolfo; Cantelar, Karel; Amargós, Fabián Pina; García-Arteaga, Juan P

    2007-06-01

    A comparison of fish community structure in the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago (1988-1989 and 2000) using visual census surveys (eight belt transects 2x50 m in each site) suggests a notable decrease on species richness, and a two thirds reduction in fish density and biomass on coral reefs. This decrease in fish populations may be related to the alarming decrease of scleractinian coral cover, and an enormous proliferation of algae, which currently covers 70-80% of the hard substrate, impeding the recovery of corals and other benthic organisms. High coral mortalities occurred between the study periods, which correlate with the high temperatures caused by the ENSO events of 1995, 1997 and 1998. These events caused massive bleaching of corals and subsequent algae overgrowth. Evidence of nutrient enrichment from the inner lagoons and overfishing are also present. Collectively, these effects have provoked a marked degradation of reef habitats. These changes appear to have affected the availability of refuges and food for fishes, and may be constraining individual growth potential and population size.

  4. Human activities threaten coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tveitdal, Svein; Bjoerke, Aake

    2002-01-01

    Research indicates that 58 per cent of the coral reefs of the world are threatened by human activities. Pollution and global heating represent some of the threats. Coral reefs just beneath the surface of the sea are very sensitive to temperature changes. Since 1979, mass death of coral reefs has been reported increasingly often. More than 1000 marine species live in the coral reefs, among these are one fourth of all marine species of fish. It is imperative that the coral reefs be preserved, as coastal communities all over the world depend on them as sources of food and as they are the raw materials for important medicines. The article discusses the threats to the coral reefs in general and does not single out any particular energy-related activity as the principal threat. For instance, the El-Nino phenomenon of the Pacific Ocean is probably involved in mass death of coral reefs and in the North Sea large parts of deep-water reefs have been crushed by heavy beam trawlers fishing for bottom fish

  5. 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

  6. Habitat degradation negatively affects auditory settlement behavior of coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, Timothy A C; Harding, Harry R; Wong, Kathryn E; Merchant, Nathan D; Meekan, Mark G; McCormick, Mark I; Radford, Andrew N; Simpson, Stephen D

    2018-05-15

    Coral reefs are increasingly degraded by climate-induced bleaching and storm damage. Reef recovery relies on recruitment of young fishes for the replenishment of functionally important taxa. Acoustic cues guide the orientation, habitat selection, and settlement of many fishes, but these processes may be impaired if degradation alters reef soundscapes. Here, we report spatiotemporally matched evidence of soundscapes altered by degradation from recordings taken before and after recent severe damage on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Postdegradation soundscapes were an average of 15 dB re 1 µPa quieter and had significantly reduced acoustic complexity, richness, and rates of invertebrate snaps compared with their predegradation equivalents. We then used these matched recordings in complementary light-trap and patch-reef experiments to assess responses of wild fish larvae under natural conditions. We show that postdegradation soundscapes were 8% less attractive to presettlement larvae and resulted in 40% less settlement of juvenile fishes than predegradation soundscapes; postdegradation soundscapes were no more attractive than open-ocean sound. However, our experimental design does not allow an estimate of how much attraction and settlement to isolated postdegradation soundscapes might change compared with isolated predegradation soundscapes. Reductions in attraction and settlement were qualitatively similar across and within all trophic guilds and taxonomic groups analyzed. These patterns may lead to declines in fish populations, exacerbating degradation. Acoustic changes might therefore trigger a feedback loop that could impair reef resilience. To understand fully the recovery potential of coral reefs, we must learn to listen. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.

  7. Individual-based analyses reveal limited functional overlap in a coral reef fish community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Bellwood, David R

    2014-05-01

    Detailed knowledge of a species' functional niche is crucial for the study of ecological communities and processes. The extent of niche overlap, functional redundancy and functional complementarity is of particular importance if we are to understand ecosystem processes and their vulnerability to disturbances. Coral reefs are among the most threatened marine systems, and anthropogenic activity is changing the functional composition of reefs. The loss of herbivorous fishes is particularly concerning as the removal of algae is crucial for the growth and survival of corals. Yet, the foraging patterns of the various herbivorous fish species are poorly understood. Using a multidimensional framework, we present novel individual-based analyses of species' realized functional niches, which we apply to a herbivorous coral reef fish community. In calculating niche volumes for 21 species, based on their microhabitat utilization patterns during foraging, and computing functional overlaps, we provide a measurement of functional redundancy or complementarity. Complementarity is the inverse of redundancy and is defined as less than 50% overlap in niche volumes. The analyses reveal extensive complementarity with an average functional overlap of just 15.2%. Furthermore, the analyses divide herbivorous reef fishes into two broad groups. The first group (predominantly surgeonfishes and parrotfishes) comprises species feeding on exposed surfaces and predominantly open reef matrix or sandy substrata, resulting in small niche volumes and extensive complementarity. In contrast, the second group consists of species (predominantly rabbitfishes) that feed over a wider range of microhabitats, penetrating the reef matrix to exploit concealed surfaces of various substratum types. These species show high variation among individuals, leading to large niche volumes, more overlap and less complementarity. These results may have crucial consequences for our understanding of herbivorous processes on

  8. 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...

  9. 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 (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 diversification across environmental gradients.

  10. 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, restrict foraging. Fish in MP environments had a broader diet niche, higher trophic position, and higher muscle C:N ratios compared to shallower environments. High C:N ratios suggest increased tissue lipid content in fish in MP habitats that coincided with higher investment in reproduction based on gonado-somatic index. These results suggest that peripheral MP reefs are suitable habitats for demersal reef fish and may be important refuges for organisms common on declining shallow coral reefs.

  11. 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...

  12. Widespread hybridization and bidirectional introgression in sympatric species of coral reef fish

    KAUST Repository

    Harrison, Hugo B.; Berumen, Michael L.; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Salas, Eva; Williamson, David H.; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2017-01-01

    interspecific hybrids from a collection of 2,991 coral trout sampled in inshore and mid-shelf reefs of the southern Great Barrier Reef. Hybrids were ubiquitous among reefs, fertile and spanned multiple generations suggesting both ecological and evolutionary

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carassou, Laure; Léopold, Marc; Guillemot, Nicolas; Wantiez, Laurent; Kulbicki, Michel

    2013-01-01

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Mesopredator trophodynamics on thermally stressed coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hempson, Tessa N.; Graham, Nicholas A. J.; MacNeil, M. Aaron; Hoey, Andrew S.; Almany, Glenn R.

    2018-03-01

    Ecosystems are becoming vastly modified through disturbance. In coral reef ecosystems, the differential susceptibility of coral taxa to climate-driven bleaching is predicted to shift coral assemblages towards reefs with an increased relative abundance of taxa with high thermal tolerance. Many thermally tolerant coral species are characterised by low structural complexity, with reduced habitat niche space for the small-bodied coral reef fishes on which piscivorous mesopredators feed. This study used a patch reef array to investigate the potential impacts of climate-driven shifts in coral assemblages on the trophodynamics of reef mesopredators and their prey communities. The `tolerant' reef treatment consisted only of coral taxa of low susceptibility to bleaching, while `vulnerable' reefs included species of moderate to high thermal vulnerability. `Vulnerable' reefs had higher structural complexity, and the fish assemblages that established on these reefs over 18 months had higher species diversity, abundance and biomass than those on `tolerant' reefs. Fish assemblages on `tolerant' reefs were also more strongly influenced by the introduction of a mesopredator ( Cephalopholis boenak). Mesopredators on `tolerant' reefs had lower lipid content in their muscle tissue by the end of the 6-week experiment. Such sublethal energetic costs can compromise growth, fecundity, and survivorship, resulting in unexpected population declines in long-lived mesopredators. This study provides valuable insight into the altered trophodynamics of future coral reef ecosystems, highlighting the potentially increased vulnerability of reef fish assemblages to predation as reef structure declines, and the cost of changing prey availability on mesopredator condition.

  17. Introduction of geospatial perspective to the ecology of fish-habitat relationships in Indonesian coral reefs: A remote sensing approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawayama, Shuhei; Nurdin, Nurjannah; Akbar AS, Muhammad; Sakamoto, Shingo X.; Komatsu, Teruhisa

    2015-06-01

    Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are now being harmed by various stresses accompanying the degradation of fish habitats and thus knowledge of fish-habitat relationships is urgently required. Because conventional research methods were not practical for this purpose due to the lack of a geospatial perspective, we attempted to develop a research method integrating visual fish observation with a seabed habitat map and to expand knowledge to a two-dimensional scale. WorldView-2 satellite imagery of Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia obtained in September 2012 was analyzed and classified into four typical substrates: live coral, dead coral, seagrass and sand. Overall classification accuracy of this map was 81.3% and considered precise enough for subsequent analyses. Three sub-areas (CC: continuous coral reef, BC: boundary of coral reef and FC: few live coral zone) around reef slopes were extracted from the map. Visual transect surveys for several fish species were conducted within each sub-area in June 2013. As a result, Mean density (Ind. / 300 m2) of Chaetodon octofasciatus, known as an obligate feeder of corals, was significantly higher at BC than at the others (p < 0.05), implying that this species' density is strongly influenced by spatial configuration of its habitat, like the "edge effect." This indicates that future conservation procedures for coral reef fishes should consider not only coral cover but also its spatial configuration. The present study also indicates that the introduction of a geospatial perspective derived from remote sensing has great potential to progress conventional ecological studies on coral reef fishes.

  18. 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.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Williamson, David H.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Almany, Glenn R.; Berumen, Michael L.; Bode, Michael; Bonin, Mary C.; Choukroun, Severine; Doherty, Peter J.; Frisch, Ashley J.; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2016-01-01

    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.

  20. 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

  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. © 2010 Society for Conservation Biology.

  2. 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....

  3. Species-specific profiles and risk assessment of perfluoroalkyl substances in coral reef fishes from the South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pan, Chang-Gui; Yu, Ke-Fu; Wang, Ying-Hui; Zhang, Rui-Jie; Huang, Xue-Yong; Wei, Chao-Shuai; Wang, Wei-Quan; Zeng, Wei-Bin; Qin, Zhen-Jun

    2018-01-01

    The contamination profiles of sixteen perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were examined in coral reef fish samples collected from the South China Sea (SCS) where no information about this topic was available in the literature. The results revealed that six PFAS were found in coral reef fish samples from the SCS. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was the most predominant PFAS contaminant detected in most of the samples, with the highest concentration value of 27.05 ng/g wet weight (ww) observed in Cephalopholis urodelus. Perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) and Perfluorotridecanoic acid (PFTrDA) were the second and third dominant PFAS, respectively. Mean PFOS concentrations in muscle of seven coral reef fish varied from 0.29 ng/g ww in Lethrinus olivaceus to 10.78 ng/g ww in Cephalopholis urodelus. No significant linear relationship was observed between PFOS levels and coral reef fish traits (length, weight) collected in this region. Average daily intake of PFOS for the seven coral reef fishes ranged from 0.79 ng/kg/d for Lethrinus olivaceus to 29.53 ng/kg/d for Cephalopholis urodelus. The hazard ratio (HR) values for human consumption of PFOS-contaminated coral reef fishes ranged from 0.04 to 1.48, with Cephalopholis urodelus having the highest HR value of 1.18 (higher than 1) among the species, indicating frequent consumption of Cephalopholis urodelus might pose potential health risk to local population. The present work have provided the first hand data of PFAS in coral reef fishes in the SCS and indirectly demonstrated the existence of low level PFAS pollution in the SCS in China. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. The importance of sponges and mangroves in supporting fish communities on degraded coral reefs in Caribbean Panama

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janina Seemann

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Fish communities associated with coral reefs worldwide are threatened by habitat degradation and overexploitation. We assessed coral reefs, mangrove fringes, and seagrass meadows on the Caribbean coast of Panama to explore the influences of their proximity to one another, habitat cover, and environmental characteristics in sustaining biomass, species richness and trophic structure of fish communities in a degraded tropical ecosystem. We found 94% of all fish across all habitat types were of small body size (≤10 cm, with communities dominated by fishes that usually live in habitats of low complexity, such as Pomacentridae (damselfishes and Gobiidae (gobies. Total fish biomass was very low, with the trend of small fishes from low trophic levels over-represented, and top predators under-represented, relative to coral reefs elsewhere in the Caribbean. For example, herbivorous fishes comprised 27% of total fish biomass in Panama relative to 10% in the wider Caribbean, and the small parrotfish Scarus iseri comprised 72% of the parrotfish biomass. We found evidence that non-coral biogenic habitats support reef-associated fish communities. In particular, the abundance of sponges on a given reef and proximity of mangroves were found to be important positive correlates of reef fish species richness, biomass, abundance and trophic structure. Our study indicates that a diverse fish community can persist on degraded coral reefs, and that the availability and arrangement within the seascape of other habitat-forming organisms, including sponges and mangroves, is critical to the maintenance of functional processes in such ecosystems.

  5. 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.

  6. Fishing-gear restrictions and biomass gains for coral reef fishes in marine protected areas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, Stuart J; Edgar, Graham J; Stuart-Smith, Rick D; Soler, German; Bates, Amanda E

    2018-04-01

    Considerable empirical evidence supports recovery of reef fish populations with fishery closures. In countries where full exclusion of people from fishing may be perceived as inequitable, fishing-gear restrictions on nonselective and destructive gears may offer socially relevant management alternatives to build recovery of fish biomass. Even so, few researchers have statistically compared the responses of tropical reef fisheries to alternative management strategies. We tested for the effects of fishery closures and fishing gear restrictions on tropical reef fish biomass at the community and family level. We conducted 1,396 underwater surveys at 617 unique sites across a spatial hierarchy within 22 global marine ecoregions that represented 5 realms. We compared total biomass across local fish assemblages and among 20 families of reef fishes inside marine protected areas (MPAs) with different fishing restrictions: no-take, hook-and-line fishing only, several fishing gears allowed, and sites open to all fishing gears. We included a further category representing remote sites, where fishing pressure is low. As expected, full fishery closures, (i.e., no-take zones) most benefited community- and family-level fish biomass in comparison with restrictions on fishing gears and openly fished sites. Although biomass responses to fishery closures were highly variable across families, some fishery targets (e.g., Carcharhinidae and Lutjanidae) responded positively to multiple restrictions on fishing gears (i.e., where gears other than hook and line were not permitted). Remoteness also positively affected the response of community-level fish biomass and many fish families. Our findings provide strong support for the role of fishing restrictions in building recovery of fish biomass and indicate important interactions among fishing-gear types that affect biomass of a diverse set of reef fish families. © 2017 Society for Conservation Biology.

  7. Long-term monitoring of coral reef fish assemblages in the Western central pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heenan, Adel; Williams, Ivor D; Acoba, Tomoko; DesRochers, Annette; Kosaki, Randall K; Kanemura, Troy; Nadon, Marc O; Brainard, Russell E

    2017-12-05

    Throughout the tropics, coral reef ecosystems, which are critically important to people, have been greatly altered by humans. Differentiating human impacts from natural drivers of ecosystem state is essential to effective management. Here we present a dataset from a large-scale monitoring program that surveys coral reef fish assemblages and habitats encompassing the bulk of the US-affiliated tropical Pacific, and spanning wide gradients in both natural drivers and human impact. Currently, this includes >5,500 surveys from 39 islands and atolls in Hawaii (including the main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands) and affiliated geo-political regions of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Pacific Remote Islands Areas. The dataset spans 2010-2017, during which time, each region was visited at least every three years, and ~500-1,000 surveys performed annually. This standardised dataset is a powerful resource that can be used to understand how human, environmental and oceanographic conditions influence coral reef fish community structure and function, providing a basis for research to support effective management outcomes.

  8. Local Biomass Baselines and the Recovery Potential for Hawaiian Coral Reef Fish Communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kelvin D. Gorospe

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Understanding the influence of multiple ecosystem drivers, both natural and anthropogenic, and how they vary across space is critical to the spatial management of coral reef fisheries. In Hawaii, as elsewhere, there is uncertainty with regards to how areas should be selected for protection, and management efforts prioritized. One strategy is to prioritize efforts based on an area's biomass baseline, or natural capacity to support reef fish populations. Another strategy is to prioritize areas based on their recovery potential, or in other words, the potential increase in fish biomass from present-day state, should management be effective at restoring assemblages to something more like their baseline state. We used data from 717 fisheries-independent reef fish monitoring surveys from 2012 to 2015 around the main Hawaiian Islands as well as site-level data on benthic habitat, oceanographic conditions, and human population density, to develop a hierarchical, linear Bayesian model that explains spatial variation in: (1 herbivorous and (2 total reef fish biomass. We found that while human population density negatively affected fish assemblages at all surveyed areas, there was considerable variation in the natural capacity of different areas to support reef fish biomass. For example, some areas were predicted to have the capacity to support ten times as much herbivorous fish biomass as other areas. Overall, the model found human population density to have negatively impacted fish biomass throughout Hawaii, however the magnitude and uncertainty of these impacts varied locally. Results provide part of the basis for marine spatial planning and/or MPA-network design within Hawaii.

  9. 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

    2018-01-01

    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.

  10. Struktur Komunitas Ikan Karang di Perairan Kendari (Community Structure of Coral Reef Fishes at Kendari Waters

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Muhammad Adrim

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Keberadaan ikan karang merupakan salah satu bioindikator terhadap kondisi terumbu karang yang baik. Penelitian ikan karang di perairan Kendari bertujuan untuk mengetahui komposisi jenis, kelimpahan, sebaran, dan struktur komunitas ikan karang di perairan tersebut. Pengumpulan data dilakukan bulan Juli 2011 pada lima lokasi di bagian utara dan selatan Kendari. Data dihimpun dengan menggunakan teknik Underwater Visual Census (UVC dan metode transek (Line Intersept Transect, LIT dengan peralatan SCUBA. Total jenis ikan karang terkumpul sebanyak 111 jenis yang mewakili 24 famili, terdiri dari 31 jenis ikan target (ikan konsumsi, 17 jenis ikan indikator (indicator species, dan kelompok major 63 jenis. Kelornpok ikan pangan (target yang dominan; Caesio cuning, Siganus vulpinus dan Ctenochaetus striatus. Jenis yang paling dominan dari ikan indikator adalah Chaetodon octofasciatus. Sedangkan kelompok lainnya (major yang dominan adalah Pomacentrus smithii, Chrysiptera rollandi, Chrysiptera springeri, dan Pomacentrus alexanderae. Nilai Indeks keanekaragaman berkisar 1,36– 3,23. Indeks dominasi Margalef (d berkisar 4,74–8,66. Indeks kemerataan Pielou (J’=H’/logeS diperololeh pada kisaran 0,38–0,81 . Hasil analisis kluster pada matrik kesamaan Bray-Curtis 37 % diperoleh dendrograrn yang menunjukkan dua pengelompokan stasiun. Berdasarkan ordinasi sampel dengan MDS diperoleh dari kesamaan (stress= 0 dengan jelas menunjukkan dua komunitas yang berbeda. Hasil penelitian ini diharapkan dapat menjadi masukan sebagai data dasar untuk pengelolaan daerah pesisir bagi pemerintahan daerah (PEMDA. Kata kunci: ikan karang, struktur komunitas, indeks ekologi, perairan Kendari. Coral reef Fishes is one of bio-indicators for good condition coral reef ecosystem. A study on coral reef fishes in the Kendari waters was aimed to find out species composition, abundance, distribution and community structure of coral reef fishes in that area. The study was conducted in

  11. Spatial patterns of cryptobenthic coral-reef fishes in the Red Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coker, Darren J.; DiBattista, Joseph D.; Sinclair-Taylor, Tane H.; Berumen, Michael L.

    2018-03-01

    Surveys to document coral-reef fish assemblages are often limited to visually conspicuous species, thus excluding a significant proportion of the biodiversity. Through standardized collections of cryptobenthic reef fishes in the central and southern Red Sea, a total of 238 species and operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from 35 families were collected. Abundance and species richness increased by 60 and 30%, respectively, from north to south, and fish community composition differed between the two regions and with proximity to shore in the central region. Models suggest regional influences in fish communities, with latitudinal patterns influenced by key coral groups ( Acropora, Pocilloporidae) and variation in environmental parameters (chlorophyll a, sea surface temperature, salinity). This study illustrates the limited taxonomic resolution in this group and in this region, and the need to expand baseline data for this under-studied assemblage. To assist in advancing this initiative, we have produced a catalogue of specimens, archived photographs, and established a DNA sequence library based on cytochrome-c oxidase subunit-I barcodes for all OTUs.

  12. Spatial patterns of cryptobenthic coral-reef fishes in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James; DiBattista, Joseph; Sinclair-Taylor, Tane; Berumen, Michael L.

    2017-01-01

    Surveys to document coral-reef fish assemblages are often limited to visually conspicuous species, thus excluding a significant proportion of the biodiversity. Through standardized collections of cryptobenthic reef fishes in the central and southern Red Sea, a total of 238 species and operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from 35 families were collected. Abundance and species richness increased by 60 and 30%, respectively, from north to south, and fish community composition differed between the two regions and with proximity to shore in the central region. Models suggest regional influences in fish communities, with latitudinal patterns influenced by key coral groups (Acropora, Pocilloporidae) and variation in environmental parameters (chlorophyll a, sea surface temperature, salinity). This study illustrates the limited taxonomic resolution in this group and in this region, and the need to expand baseline data for this under-studied assemblage. To assist in advancing this initiative, we have produced a catalogue of specimens, archived photographs, and established a DNA sequence library based on cytochrome-c oxidase subunit-I barcodes for all OTUs.

  13. Spatial patterns of cryptobenthic coral-reef fishes in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Coker, Darren James

    2017-11-23

    Surveys to document coral-reef fish assemblages are often limited to visually conspicuous species, thus excluding a significant proportion of the biodiversity. Through standardized collections of cryptobenthic reef fishes in the central and southern Red Sea, a total of 238 species and operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from 35 families were collected. Abundance and species richness increased by 60 and 30%, respectively, from north to south, and fish community composition differed between the two regions and with proximity to shore in the central region. Models suggest regional influences in fish communities, with latitudinal patterns influenced by key coral groups (Acropora, Pocilloporidae) and variation in environmental parameters (chlorophyll a, sea surface temperature, salinity). This study illustrates the limited taxonomic resolution in this group and in this region, and the need to expand baseline data for this under-studied assemblage. To assist in advancing this initiative, we have produced a catalogue of specimens, archived photographs, and established a DNA sequence library based on cytochrome-c oxidase subunit-I barcodes for all OTUs.

  14. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: an assessment of coral reef fishes in the US Pacific Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zgliczynski, B. J.; Williams, I. D.; Schroeder, R. E.; Nadon, M. O.; Richards, B. L.; Sandin, S. A.

    2013-09-01

    Widespread declines among many coral reef fisheries have led scientists and managers to become increasingly concerned over the extinction risk facing some species. To aid in assessing the extinction risks facing coral reef fishes, large-scale censuses of the abundance and distribution of individual species are critically important. We use fisheries-independent data collected as part of the NOAA Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program from 2000 to 2009 to describe the range and density across the US Pacific of coral reef fishes included on The International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) 2011 Red List of Threatened Species. Forty-five species, including sharks, rays, groupers, humphead wrasse ( Cheilinus undulatus), and bumphead parrotfish ( Bolbometopon muricatum), included on the IUCN List, were recorded in the US Pacific Islands. Most species were generally rare in the US Pacific with the exception of a few species, principally small groupers and reef sharks. The greatest diversity and densities of IUCN-listed fishes were recorded at remote and uninhabited islands of the Pacific Remote Island Areas; in general, lower densities were observed at reefs of inhabited islands. Our findings complement IUCN assessment efforts, emphasize the efficacy of large-scale assessment and monitoring efforts in providing quantitative data on reef fish assemblages, and highlight the importance of protecting populations at remote and uninhabited islands where some species included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species can be observed in abundance.

  15. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Stratified Random Surveys (StRS) of Reef Fish, including Benthic Estimate Data at Jarvis Island from 2016-05-16 to 2016-05-22 (NCEI Accession 0157594)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Surveys were conducted in the course of a reef fish survey cruise conducted by the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP) at the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries...

  16. The differentiation of common species in a coral-reef fish assemblage for recreational scuba diving.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Tsen-Chien; Ho, Cheng-Tze; Jan, Rong-Quen

    2016-01-01

    Recreational scuba diving is a popular activity of the coral reef tourism industry. In practice, local diving centers recommend interesting sites to help visiting divers make their plans. Fish are among the major attractions, but they need to be listed with care because the temporal occurrence of a fish species is difficult to predict. To address this issue, we propose methods to categorize each fish species based on its long-term occurrence and likelihood of being seen. We assume that there are K categories of occurrence of a fish assemblage and propose two methods [an arithmetic-mean method (AM) and a geometric-mean method (GM)] to define the range of species in each category. Experiments based on long term datasets collected at three underwater stations (each having 51-53 surveys and totals of 262-284 fish species) on coral reefs in southern Taiwan showed that when K = 4 (rare, occasional, frequent and common categories), 11-14 species were concurrently assigned to the common category by AM for data sets based on surveys 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, or 51-53 in contrast to the 18-26 species assigned as common by GM. If a similarity index of 0.7 (compared to the total pool of fish species) was the minimum threshold for diver satisfaction, then 20-25 surveys provide sufficient data for listing the common species at a given dive spot. Common fish species, are the most temporally stable, and thus are more appropriate for attracting divers. These can be effectively differentiated by either AM or GM with at least 25 surveys. We suggest regular updating of each fish's category through periodic surveys to assure the accuracy of information at a particular dive spot.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    to the reefs (McClanahan et al. 2006). However, majority of the MPAs lack effective enforcement of laws leading to reef damage and over exploitation (Mora et al. 2006). Climate change and Ocean acidification are chronic processes that exert their effects at a... availability for macroalgal attachment and nutrient enrichment will enhance the algal population in the coral ecosystems (McManus and Polsenberg 2004). Algal domination in a coral ecosystem has severe ecological implications including coral bleaching (Hughes...

  19. Sediment-induced turbidity impairs foraging performance and prey choice of planktivorous coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johansen, J L; Jones, G P

    2013-09-01

    Sedimentation is a substantial threat to aquatic ecosystems and a primary cause of habitat degradation on near-shore coral reefs. Although numerous studies have demonstrated major impacts of sedimentation and turbidity on corals, virtually nothing is known of the sensitivity of reef fishes. Planktivorous fishes are an important trophic group that funnels pelagic energy sources into reef ecosystems. These fishes are visual predators whose foraging is likely to be impaired by turbidity, but the threshold for such effects and their magnitude are unknown. This study examined the effect of sediment-induced turbidity on foraging in four species of planktivorous damselfishes (Pomacentridae) of the Great Barrier Reef, including inshore and offshore species that potentially differ in tolerance for turbidity. An experimental flow tunnel was used to quantify their ability to catch mobile and immobile planktonic prey under different levels of turbidity and velocity in the range encountered on natural and disturbed reefs. Turbidity of just 4 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units) reduced average attack success by up to 56%, with higher effect sizes for species with offshore distributions. Only the inshore species (Neopomacentrus bankieri), which frequently encounters this turbidity on coastal reefs, could maintain high prey capture success. At elevated turbidity similar to that found on disturbed reefs (8 NTU), attack success was reduced in all species examined by up to 69%. These reductions in attack success led to a 21-24% decrease in foraging rates for all mid to outer-shelf species, in spite of increasing attack rates at high turbidity. Although effects of turbidity varied among species, it always depended heavily on prey mobility and ambient velocity. Attack success was up to 14 times lower on mobile prey, leaving species relatively incapable of foraging on anything but immobile prey at high turbidity. Effects of turbidity were particularly prominent at higher velocities, as

  20. Trends in biomass of coral reef fishes, derived from shore-based creel surveys in Guam

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Weijerman, M.; Williams, Ivor; Gutierrez, Jay; Grafeld, Shanna; Tibbatts, Brent; Davis, Gerry

    2016-01-01

    Coral reef fisheries have a cultural, economic, and ecological importance and sustain the societal well-being of many coastal communities. However, the complexities of the multigear, multispecies fisheries that target coral reef species pose challenges for fisheries management. We focus on the

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The abundance, trophic composition and diversity of fish were investigated in the Mombasa Marine Protected Area (MPA) on the Kenya coast over a period of four years (2004-2007) sixteen years after its establishment to determine its effectiveness. Fish monitoring data collected using belt transects revealed significant ...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muñoz, Roldan C; Zgliczynski, Brian J; Laughlin, Joseph L; Teer, Bradford Z

    2012-01-01

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  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 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.

  6. Do otolith increments allow correct inferences about age and growth of coral reef fishes?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Booth, D. J.

    2014-03-01

    Otolith increment structure is widely used to estimate age and growth of marine fishes. Here, I test the accuracy of the long-term otolith increment analysis of the lemon damselfish Pomacentrus moluccensis to describe age and growth characteristics. I compare the number of putative annual otolith increments (as a proxy for actual age) and widths of these increments (as proxies for somatic growth) with actual tagged fish-length data, based on a 6-year dataset, the longest time course for a coral reef fish. Estimated age from otoliths corresponded closely with actual age in all cases, confirming annual increment formation. However, otolith increment widths were poor proxies for actual growth in length [linear regression r 2 = 0.44-0.90, n = 6 fish] and were clearly of limited value in estimating annual growth. Up to 60 % of the annual growth variation was missed using otolith increments, suggesting the long-term back calculations of otolith growth characteristics of reef fish populations should be interpreted with caution.

  7. The ecology, behaviour and physiology of fishes on coral reef flats, and the potential impacts of climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harborne, A R

    2013-09-01

    Reef flats, typically a low-relief carbonate and sand habitat in shallow water leeward of the reef crest, are one of the most extensive zones on Pacific coral reefs. This shallow zone often supports an abundant and diverse fish assemblage that is exposed to more significant variations in physical factors, such as water depth and movement, temperature and ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels, than most other reef fishes. This review examines the characteristics of reef flat fish assemblages, and then investigates what is known about how they respond to their biophysical environment. Because of the challenges of living in shallow, wave-exposed water, reef flats typically support a distinct fish assemblage compared to other reef habitats. This assemblage clearly changes across tidal cycles as some larger species migrate to deeper water at low tide and other species modify their behaviour, but quantitative data are generally lacking. At least some reef flat fish species are well-adapted to high temperatures, low oxygen concentrations and high levels of UV radiation. These behavioural and physiological adaptations suggest that there may be differences in the demographic processes between reef flat assemblages and those in deeper water. Indeed, there is some evidence that reef flats may act as nurseries for some species, but more research is required. Further studies are also required to predict the effects of climate change, which is likely to have multifaceted impacts on reef flats by increasing temperature, water motion and sediment load. Sea-level rise may also affect reef flat fish assemblages and food webs by increasing the amount of time that larger species are able to forage in this zone. The lack of data on reef flats is surprising given their size and relative ease of access, and a better understanding of their functional role within tropical marine seascapes is urgently required. © 2013 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

  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. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fulton, Christopher J; Wainwright, Peter C; Hoey, Andrew S; Bellwood, David R

    2017-01-01

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

    KAUST Repository

    Fulton, Christopher J.; Wainwright, Peter C.; Hoey, Andrew; Bellwood, David R.

    2016-01-01

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Coral reefs and eutrophication

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stambler, N.

    1999-01-01

    Coral reefs are found in oligotrophic waters, which are poor in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, and possibly iron. In spite of this, coral reefs exhibit high gross primary productivity rates. They thrive in oligotrophic conditions because of the symbiotic relationship between corals and dinoflagellate algae (zooxanthellae) embedded in the coral tissue. In their mutualistic symbiosis, the zooxanthellae contribute their photosynthetic capability as the basis for the metabolic energy of the whole association, and eventually of a great part of the entire reef ecosystem

  14. Multi-scale approach for predicting fish species distributions across coral reef seascapes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simon J Pittman

    Full Text Available Two of the major limitations to effective management of coral reef ecosystems are a lack of information on the spatial distribution of marine species and a paucity of data on the interacting environmental variables that drive distributional patterns. Advances in marine remote sensing, together with the novel integration of landscape ecology and advanced niche modelling techniques provide an unprecedented opportunity to reliably model and map marine species distributions across many kilometres of coral reef ecosystems. We developed a multi-scale approach using three-dimensional seafloor morphology and across-shelf location to predict spatial distributions for five common Caribbean fish species. Seascape topography was quantified from high resolution bathymetry at five spatial scales (5-300 m radii surrounding fish survey sites. Model performance and map accuracy was assessed for two high performing machine-learning algorithms: Boosted Regression Trees (BRT and Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Modelling (MaxEnt. The three most important predictors were geographical location across the shelf, followed by a measure of topographic complexity. Predictor contribution differed among species, yet rarely changed across spatial scales. BRT provided 'outstanding' model predictions (AUC = >0.9 for three of five fish species. MaxEnt provided 'outstanding' model predictions for two of five species, with the remaining three models considered 'excellent' (AUC = 0.8-0.9. In contrast, MaxEnt spatial predictions were markedly more accurate (92% map accuracy than BRT (68% map accuracy. We demonstrate that reliable spatial predictions for a range of key fish species can be achieved by modelling the interaction between the geographical location across the shelf and the topographic heterogeneity of seafloor structure. This multi-scale, analytic approach is an important new cost-effective tool to accurately delineate essential fish habitat and support

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Fatty acid composition indicating diverse habitat use in coral reef fishes in the Malaysian South China Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Takaomi Arai

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: In order to understand feeding ecology and habitat use of coral reef fish, fatty acid composition was examined in five coral reef fishes, Thalassoma lunare, Lutjanus lutjanus, Abudefduf bengalensis, Scarus rivulatus and Scolopsis affinis collected in the Bidong Island of Malaysian South China Sea. RESULTS: Proportions of saturated fatty acids (SAFA ranged 57.2% 74.2%, with the highest proportions in fatty acids, the second highest was monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA ranged from 21.4% to 39.0% and the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA was the lowest ranged from 2.8% to 14.1%. Each fatty acid composition differed among fishes, suggesting diverse feeding ecology, habitat use and migration during the fishes' life history in the coral reef habitats. CONCLUSIONS: Diets of the coral fish species might vary among species in spite of that each species are living sympatrically. Differences in fatty acid profiles might not just be considered with respect to the diets, but might be based on the habitat and migration.

  19. Fatty acid composition indicating diverse habitat use in coral reef fishes in the Malaysian South China Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arai, Takaomi; Amalina, Razikin; Bachok, Zainudin

    2015-02-22

    In order to understand feeding ecology and habitat use of coral reef fish, fatty acid composition was examined in five coral reef fishes, Thalassoma lunare, Lutjanus lutjanus, Abudefduf bengalensis, Scarus rivulatus and Scolopsis affinis collected in the Bidong Island of Malaysian South China Sea. Proportions of saturated fatty acids (SAFA) ranged 57.2% 74.2%, with the highest proportions in fatty acids, the second highest was monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) ranged from 21.4% to 39.0% and the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) was the lowest ranged from 2.8% to 14.1%. Each fatty acid composition differed among fishes, suggesting diverse feeding ecology, habitat use and migration during the fishes' life history in the coral reef habitats. Diets of the coral fish species might vary among species in spite of that each species are living sympatrically. Differences in fatty acid profiles might not just be considered with respect to the diets, but might be based on the habitat and migration.

  20. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khait, Ruth; Obolski, Uri; Hadany, Lilach; Genin, Amatzia

    2013-01-01

    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. 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....

  3. 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....

  4. Biology of corals and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Rajkumar, R.; Parulekar, A.H.

    on the systematic position is presented. The general structure is depicted with illustrations. Physiology part is updated to current knowledge on reproduction, nutrition and excretion of corals. The coral reefs section begins with status of world reefs...

  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 (CT max ). 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 CO 2 (simulated ocean acidification) on the hypoxia sensitivity of CT max We found that CT max was unaffected by progressive hypoxia down to approximately 35 mmHg, despite a substantial hypoxia-induced reduction in AS. Below approximately 35 mmHg, CT max declined sharply with water oxygen tension ( P w O 2 ). Furthermore, the hypoxia sensitivity of CT max was unaffected by elevated CO 2 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 D 1 -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. 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 (sharing. A small amount (~37,000kg) of reef fish-the equivalent of 1.8% of local catch-is imported annually into Hawai'i, 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 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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. PMID:24204575

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLeod, Ian M; Clark, Timothy D

    2016-01-01

    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°C vs

  11. 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

  12. Coral Reef Guidance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guidance prepared by EPA and Army Corps of Engineers concerning coral reef protection under the Clean Water Act, Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and Federal Project Authorities.

  13. Cumulative Human Impacts on Coral Reefs: Assessing Risk and Management Implications for Brazilian Coral Reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Rafael A. Magris; Alana Grech; Robert L. Pressey

    2018-01-01

    Effective management of coral reefs requires strategies tailored to cope with cumulative disturbances from human activities. In Brazil, where coral reefs are a priority for conservation, intensifying threats from local and global stressors are of paramount concern to management agencies. Using a cumulative impact assessment approach, our goal was to inform management actions for coral reefs in Brazil by assessing their exposure to multiple stressors (fishing, land-based activities, coastal de...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorman, Stacey R; Harvey, Euan S; Newman, Stephen J

    2012-01-01

    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 (Pcat 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2016-01-01

    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.

  20. Increasing ocean temperatures reduce activity patterns of a large commercially important coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johansen, J L; Messmer, V; Coker, D J; Hoey, A S; Pratchett, M S

    2014-04-01

    Large-bodied fish are critical for sustaining coral reef fisheries, but little is known about the vulnerability of these fish to global warming. This study examined the effects of elevated temperatures on the movement and activity patterns of the common coral trout Plectropomus leopardus (Serranidae), which is an important fishery species in tropical Australia and throughout the Indo West-Pacific. Adult fish were collected from two locations on Australia's Great Barrier Reef (23°S and 14°S) and maintained at one of four temperatures (24, 27, 30, 33 °C). Following >4 weeks acclimation, the spontaneous swimming speeds and activity patterns of individuals were recorded over a period of 12 days. At 24-27 °C, spontaneous swimming speeds of common coral trout were 0.43-0.45 body lengths per second (bls(-1)), but dropped sharply to 0.29 bls(-1) at 30 °C and 0.25 bls(-1) at 33 °C. Concurrently, individuals spent 9.3-10.6% of their time resting motionless on the bottom at 24-27 °C, but this behaviour increased to 14.0% at 30 °C and 20.0% of the time at 33 °C (mean ± SE). The impact of temperature was greatest for smaller individuals (55 cm TL) were first affected by 30 °C and 33 °C, respectively. Importantly, there was some indication that populations can adapt to elevated temperature if presented with adequate time, as the high-latitude population decreased significantly in swimming speeds at both 30 °C and 33 °C, while the low-latitude population only showed significant reductions at 33 °C. Given that movement and activity patterns of large mobile species are directly related to prey encounter rates, ability to capture prey and avoid predators, any reductions in activity patterns are likely to reduce overall foraging and energy intake, limit the energy available for growth and reproduction, and affect the fitness and survival of individuals and populations. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. 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...

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Coral Reefs: Beyond Mortality?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charles Sheppard

    2000-01-01

    Full Text Available The scale of the collapse of coral reef communities in 1998 following a warming episode (Wilkinson, 2000 was unprecedented, and took many people by surprise. The Indian Ocean was the worst affected with a coral mortality over 75% in many areas such as the Chagos Archipelago (Sheppard, 1999, Seychelles (Spencer et al., 2000 and Maldives (McClanahan, 2000. Several other locations were affected at least as much, with mortality reaching 100% (to the nearest whole number; this is being compiled by various authors (e.g., CORDIO, in press. For example, in the Arabian Gulf, coral mortality is almost total across many large areas of shallow water (Sheppard, unpublished; D. George and D. John, personal communication. The mortality is patchy of course, depending on currents, location inside or outside lagoons, etc., but it is now possible to swim for over 200 m and see not one remaining living coral or soft coral on some previously rich reefs.

  6. Invasive predator tips the balance of symmetrical competition between native coral-reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kindinger, Tye L

    2018-04-01

    The importance of competition and predation in structuring ecological communities is typically examined separately such that interactions between these processes are seldom understood. By causing large reductions in native prey, invasive predators may modify native species interactions. I conducted a manipulative field experiment in The Bahamas to investigate the possibility that the invasive Pacific red lionfish (Pterois volitans) alters competition between planktivorous fairy and blackcap basslets (Gramma loreto and Gramma melacara, respectively). Competition between these coral-reef fishes is known to have symmetrical effects on the juveniles of both species, whereby the feeding positions under reef ledges and growth rates of these individuals are hindered. Following baseline censuses of local populations of competing basslets, I simultaneously manipulated the abundance of lionfish on entire reefs, and the abundance of basslets in local populations under isolated ledges within each reef, resulting in three treatments: unmanipulated control populations of both basslets, reduced abundance of fairy basslet, and reduced abundance of blackcap basslet. For eight weeks, I measured the change in biomass and feeding position of 2-5 cm size classes of each basslet species and calculated the growth rates of ~2 cm individuals using a standard mark-and-recapture method. Experimental populations were filmed at dusk using automated video cameras to quantify the behavior of lionfish overlapping with basslets. Video playback revealed lionfish hunted across all ledge positions, regardless of which basslet species were present, yet lionfish differentially reduced the biomass of only juvenile (2 cm) fairy basslet. Predation reduced the effects of interspecific competition on juvenile blackcap basslet as evidenced by corresponding shifts in feeding position toward coveted front edges of ledges and increases in growth rates that were comparable to the response of these fish in

  7. Spatio-temporal patterns in the coral reef communities of the Spermonde Archipelago, 2012–2014, II: Fish assemblages display structured variation related to benthic condition

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah Grahm; Teichberg, Mirta; Bednarz, Vanessa N.

    2018-01-01

    The Spermonde Archipelago is a complex of ~70 mostly populated islands off Southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia, in the center of the Coral Triangle. The reefs in this area are exposed to a high level of anthropogenic disturbances. Previous studies have shown that variation in the benthos is strongly...... with distance, while few species were present across the entire range of sites. Relating fish communities to benthic composition using a multivariate generalized linear model confirmed that fish groups relate to structural complexity (rugosity) or differing benthic groups; either algae, reef builders (coral...... and crustose coralline algae) or invertebrates and rubble. From these relationships we can identify sets of fish species that may be lost given continued degradation of the Spermonde reefs. Lastly, the incorporation of water quality, benthic and fish indices indicates that local coral reefs responded...

  8. Potential for adaptation to climate change in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munday, Philip L; Donelson, Jennifer M; Domingos, Jose A

    2017-01-01

    Predicting the impacts of climate change requires knowledge of the potential to adapt to rising temperatures, which is unknown for most species. Adaptive potential may be especially important in tropical species that have narrow thermal ranges and live close to their thermal optimum. We used the animal model to estimate heritability, genotype by environment interactions and nongenetic maternal components of phenotypic variation in fitness-related traits in the coral reef damselfish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus. Offspring of wild-caught breeding pairs were reared for two generations at current-day and two elevated temperature treatments (+1.5 and +3.0 °C) consistent with climate change projections. Length, weight, body condition and metabolic traits (resting and maximum metabolic rate and net aerobic scope) were measured at four stages of juvenile development. Additive genetic variation was low for length and weight at 0 and 15 days posthatching (dph), but increased significantly at 30 dph. By contrast, nongenetic maternal effects on length, weight and body condition were high at 0 and 15 dph and became weaker at 30 dph. Metabolic traits, including net aerobic scope, exhibited high heritability at 90 dph. Furthermore, significant genotype x environment interactions indicated potential for adaptation of maximum metabolic rate and net aerobic scope at higher temperatures. Net aerobic scope was negatively correlated with weight, indicating that any adaptation of metabolic traits at higher temperatures could be accompanied by a reduction in body size. Finally, estimated breeding values for metabolic traits in F2 offspring were significantly affected by the parental rearing environment. Breeding values at higher temperatures were highest for transgenerationally acclimated fish, suggesting a possible role for epigenetic mechanisms in adaptive responses of metabolic traits. These results indicate a high potential for adaptation of aerobic scope to higher temperatures

  9. Transport of Calcareous Fragments by Reef Fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bardach, J E

    1961-01-13

    The weight of sand, coral scrapings, algal fragments, and other calcareous materials which pass through the intestines of reef fishes was calculated on a hectare-per-year basis. It was found that browsing omnivorous reef fishes which rely, in part, on a plant diet ingested and redeposited at least 2300 kg of such material on a 1-hectare study reef near Bermuda. Reasons are presented why this estimate, certainly in order of magnitude, should be applicable to coral reefs in general.

  10. 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...

  11. Nitrification in reef corals

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.; Wafar, S.; David, J.J.

    . An estimate of the density of nitrifying bacteria on living corals can be made by comparing the nitrifying rates of bacterial cells and the rate of production of NO,-. Kaplan (1983) summarized the growth con- stants of marine nitrifying bacteria... Reef Con=. 3: 395-399. -, C. R. WILKINSON, V. p. VICENTE, J. M. MORELL, AND E. OTERO. 1988. Nitrate release by Carib- bean reef sponges. Limnol. Oceanogr. 33: 114- 120. CROSSLAND, C. J., AND D. J. BARNES. 1983. Dissolved nutrients and organic...

  12. 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 ...

  13. Trace metal incorporation in otoliths of a territorial coral reef fish (Abudefduf saxatilis as an environmental monitoring tool

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Herrera-Reveles A. T.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Trace metal levels in the otolith external layer of newly Abudefduf saxatilis (Pomacentridae recruits, a common fish of the Caribbean coral reef, were examined as an indicator of recently occupied habitat from the most important coral reefs of the east of Venezuela (Mochima National Park and La Tortuga Island. These otoliths were analyzed trough an Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS fixed to scanning electron microscopy (SEM. The five trace metals analyzed (Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb and Zn were found at external layer of most evaluated otoliths at all localities, in which %weight of Pb/Ca and Hg/Ca showed the highest values. These results show the bioavailability of evaluated metals at Mochima National Park and La Tortuga Island, and their significant spatial variations on otoliths make evidence of different concentration of Cd, Hg and Pb in water and/or sediments of these locations.

  14. 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....

  15. Spatial distribution of fifty ornamental fish species on coral reefs in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khalaf, Maroof A; Abdallah, Mohamed

    2014-01-01

    The spatial distribution of 50 ornamental fish species from shallow water habitats on coral reefs were investigated using visual census techniques, between latitudes 11-29°N in the Red Sea, in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, and in the adjacent Gulf of Aden in Djibouti. One hundred eighteen transects (each 100×5 m) were examined in 29 sites (3-8 sites per country). A total of 522,523 fish individuals were counted during this survey, with mean abundance of 4428.2 ± 87.26 individual per 500 m² transect. In terms of relative abundance (RA), the most abundant species were Blue green damselfish, Chromis viridis (RA=54.4%),followed bySea goldie, Pseudanthias squamipinnis (RA= 34.7), Whitetail dascyllus, Dascyllus aruanus (RA= 2.6%), Marginate dascyllus, Dascyllus marginatus (RA= 2.0),Red Sea eightline flasher Paracheilinus octotaenia (RA=1.0),andKlunzinger's wrasse, Thalassoma rueppellii (0.7%). The highest number of species (S) per 500 m² transect was found on reefs at the latitude 20° in Saudi Arabia (S=21.8), and the lowest number of species was found at the latitude 15° in Djibouti (S=11.11). The highest mean abundance (8565.8) was found on reefs at latitude 20° in Saudi Arabia and the lowest mean abundance (230) was found on reefs at latitude 22°, also in Saudi Arabia. Whereas, the highest Shannon-Wiener Diversity Index was found in reefs at the latitude 22° (H`=2.4) and the lowest was found in reefs at the latitude 20° (H`=0.6). This study revealed marked differences in the structure of ornamental fish assemblages with latitudinal distribution. The data support the presence of two major biogeographic groups of fishes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden: the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden group and the group in the northern and central Red Sea. Strong correlations were found between live coral cover and the number of fish species, abundance and Shannon-Wiener Diversity indices, and the strength of these correlations varied among the reefs. A

  16. Spatial distribution of fifty ornamental fish species on coral reefs in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maroof Khalaf

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available The spatial distribution of 50 ornamental fish species from shallow water habitats on coral reefs were investigated using visual census techniques, between latitudes 11−29°N in the Red Sea, in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, and in the adjacent Gulf of Aden in Djibouti. One hundred eighteen transects (each 100×5 m were examined in 29 sites (3−8 sites per country. A total of 522,523 fish individuals were counted during this survey, with mean abundance of 4428.2 ± 87.26 individual per 500 m² transect. In terms of relative abundance (RA, the most abundant species were Blue green damselfish, Chromis viridis (RA=54.4%, followed by Sea goldie, Pseudanthias squamipinnis (RA= 34.7, Whitetail dascyllus, Dascyllus aruanus (RA= 2.6%, Marginate dascyllus, Dascyllus marginatus (RA= 2.0, Red Sea eightline flasher Paracheilinus octotaenia (RA=1.0, and Klunzinger’s wrasse, Thalassoma rueppellii (0.7%. The highest number of species (S per 500 m² transect was found on reefs at the latitude 20° in Saudi Arabia (S=21.8, and the lowest number of species was found at the latitude 15° in Djibouti (S=11.11. The highest mean abundance (8565.8 was found on reefs at latitude 20° in Saudi Arabia and the lowest mean abundance (230 was found on reefs at latitude 22°, also in Saudi Arabia. Whereas, the highest Shannon-Wiener Diversity Index was found in reefs at the latitude 22° (H`=2.4 and the lowest was found in reefs at the latitude 20° (H`=0.6. This study revealed marked differences in the structure of ornamental fish assemblages with latitudinal distribution. The data support the presence of two major biogeographic groups of fishes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden: the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden group and the group in the northern and central Red Sea. Strong correlations were found between live coral cover and the number of fish species, abundance and Shannon-Wiener Diversity indices, and the strength of these correlations varied among the

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. Fishing on cold water coral reefs : A bioeconomic model of habitat-fishery connections

    OpenAIRE

    Kahui, Viktoria; Armstrong, Claire W.

    2008-01-01

    This paper applies a bioeconomic model in order to study different interactions between a harvested renewable resource and a non-renewable resource without commercial value that is negatively affected by the harvesting activity. This enables the analysis of for instance cold water coral habitats and their importance to commercial fish species. The fish is harvested either in a manner that does not damage coral, such as stationary gear, or in a destructive fashion, such as botto...

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teh, Louise S L; Teh, Lydia C L; Sumaila, U Rashid

    2013-01-01

    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.

  4. How life history characteristics and environmental forcing shape settlement success of coral reef fishes

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wong-Ala, Jennifer; Comfort, Christina; Gove, Jamison

    2018-01-01

    Larval settlement is shaped by the interaction of biological processes (e.g., life history strategies, behavior etc.) and the environment (e.g., temperature, currents etc.). This is particularly true for many reef fishes where larval stages disperse offshore, often spending weeks to months...... in the pelagic realm before settling to shallow-water reefs. Our ability to predict reef fish settlement and subsequent recruitment and population dynamics depends on our ability to characterize how biological processes interact with the dynamic physical environment. Here we develop and apply an individual...... (PLD), body morphology, etc. We employ our biophysical model to examine how biology interacts with the physical environment to shape settlement predictions for reef fish off western and southern Hawai‘i Island. Linked to prevailing surface currents, we find increased probabilities of settling...

  5. 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.

  6. 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

    ...-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States and Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery in the South Atlantic... the South Atlantic Region and the FMP for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hard Bottom Habitats of the... Aquariums to collect, with certain conditions, various species of reef fish and live rock in Federal waters...

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

    KAUST Repository

    Herrera Sarrias, 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.

  8. High prevalence of homing behaviour among juvenile coral-reef fishes and the role of body size

    Science.gov (United States)

    Streit, Robert P.; Bellwood, David R.

    2017-12-01

    Adult coral-reef fishes display a remarkable ability to return home after being displaced. However, we know very little about homing behaviour in juvenile fishes. Homing behaviour in juvenile fishes is of interest because it will shape subsequent spatial distributions of adult fish communities. Comparing multiple species, families and functional groups allows us to distinguish between species-specific traits and more generalised, species-independent traits that may drive homing behaviour. Using displacement experiments of up to 150 m, we quantified homing behaviour of juvenile, newly recruited reef fishes of seven species in three families, including herbivorous parrotfishes and rabbitfishes, carnivorous wrasse and planktivorous damselfishes. All species showed the ability to home successfully, but success rates differed among species. Juvenile parrotfishes were the most successful (67% returning home), while return rates in the other species ranged from 10.5% ( Siganus doliatus) to 28.9% ( Coris batuensis). However, across all species body size appeared to be the main driver of homing success, rather than species-specific traits. With every cm increase in body size, odds of returning home almost tripled (170% increase) across all species. Interestingly, the probability of getting lost was not related to body size, which suggests that mortality was not a major driver of unsuccessful homing. Homing probability halved beyond displacement distances of 10 m and then remained stable. Higher likelihood of homing over short distances may suggest that different sensory cues are used to navigate. Overall, our results suggest that homing ability is a widespread trait among juvenile reef fishes. A `sense of home' and site attachment appear to develop early during ontogeny, especially above taxon-specific size thresholds. Hence, spatial flexibility exists only in a brief window after settlement, with direct implications for subsequent patterns of connectivity and ecosystem

  9. 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.

  10. Derelict fishing gear in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands: diving surveys and debris removal in 1999 confirm threat to coral reef ecosystems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Donohue, Mary J.; Sramek, Carolyn M.; Antonelis, George A. [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, National Marine Fisheries Service Honolulu Lab., Honolulu, HI (United States); Boland, Raymond C. [Hawaii Univ. Research Corp., Joint Inst. for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Honolulu, HI (United States)

    2001-07-01

    Marine debris threatens Northwestern Hawaiian Islands' (NWHI) coral reef ecosystems. Debris, a contaminant, entangles and kills endangered Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi), coral, and other wildlife. We describe a novel multi-agency effort using divers to systematically survey and remove derelict fishing gear from two NWHI in 1999. 14 t of derelict fishing gear were removed and debris distribution, density, type and fouling level documented at Lisianski Island and Pearl and Hermes Atoll. Reef debris density ranged from 3.4 to 62.2 items/km{sup 2}. Trawl netting was the most frequent debris type encountered (88%) and represented the greatest debris component recovered by weight (35%), followed by monofilament gillnet (34%), and maritime line (23%). Most debris recovered, 72%, had light or no fouling, suggesting debris may have short oceanic circulation histories. Our study demonstrates that derelict fishing gear poses a persistent threat to the coral reef ecosystems of the Hawaiian Archipelago. (Author)

  11. Derelict fishing gear in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands: diving surveys and debris removal in 1999 confirm threat to coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donohue, M J; Boland, R C; Sramek, C M; Antonelis, G A

    2001-12-01

    Marine debris threatens Northwestern Hawaiian Islands' (NWHI) coral reef ecosystems. Debris, a contaminant, entangles and kills endangered Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi), coral, and other wildlife. We describe a novel multi-agency effort using divers to systematically survey and remove derelict fishing gear from two NWHI in 1999. 14 t of derelict fishing gear were removed and debris distribution, density, type and fouling level documented at Lisianski Island and Pearl and Hermes Atoll. Reef debris density ranged from 3.4 to 62.2 items/km2. Trawl netting was the most frequent debris type encountered (88%) and represented the greatest debris component recovered by weight (35%), followed by monofilament gillnet (34%), and maritime line (23%). Most debris recovered, 72%, had light or no fouling, suggesting debris may have short oceanic circulation histories. Our study demonstrates that derelict fishing gear poses a persistent threat to the coral reef ecosystems of the Hawaiian Archipelago.

  12. Coral reef ecosystem

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

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

    ), on submerged banks like Gave shani bank (13°24'N; 73°45'E) (Nair and Qasim 1978) andSidere~ko Bank (13°43.5' N; 73°42'E) (Rao 1972) and as stray individual units off Visakhapatnam (Bakus, G. personal communication) and Pondicherry (Ramesh, A. personal... 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...

  13. 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

    ... lobster, and aquarium trade species identified by the Secretary as not undergoing overfishing; allocate... effect of the 2011 Caribbean ACL Amendment is prevent overfishing of reef fish, spiny lobster and... be subject to overfishing, ACLs must be established at a level that prevents overfishing and helps to...

  14. Genomic signatures of geographic isolation and natural selection in coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaither, Michelle R; Bernal, Moisés A; Coleman, Richard R; Bowen, Brian W; Jones, Shelley A; Simison, W Brian; Rocha, Luiz A

    2015-04-01

    The drivers of speciation remain among the most controversial topics in evolutionary biology. Initially, Darwin emphasized natural selection as a primary mechanism of speciation, but the architects of the modern synthesis largely abandoned that view in favour of divergence by geographic isolation. The balance between selection and isolation is still at the forefront of the evolutionary debate, especially for the world's tropical oceans where biodiversity is high, but isolating barriers are few. Here, we identify the drivers of speciation in Pacific reef fishes of the genus Acanthurus by comparative genome scans of two peripheral populations that split from a large Central-West Pacific lineage at roughly the same time. Mitochondrial sequences indicate that populations in the Hawaiian Archipelago and the Marquesas Islands became isolated approximately 0.5 Ma. The Hawaiian lineage is morphologically indistinguishable from the widespread Pacific form, but the Marquesan form is recognized as a distinct species that occupies an unusual tropical ecosystem characterized by upwelling, turbidity, temperature fluctuations, algal blooms and little coral cover. An analysis of 3737 SNPs reveals a strong signal of selection at the Marquesas, with 59 loci under disruptive selection including an opsin Rh2 locus. While both the Hawaiian and Marquesan populations indicate signals of drift, the former shows a weak signal of selection that is comparable with populations in the Central-West Pacific. This contrast between closely related lineages reveals one population diverging due primarily to geographic isolation and genetic drift, and the other achieving taxonomic species status under the influence of selection. © 2015 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. 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.

  16. Cumulative Human Impacts on Coral Reefs: Assessing Risk and Management Implications for Brazilian Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rafael A. Magris

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Effective management of coral reefs requires strategies tailored to cope with cumulative disturbances from human activities. In Brazil, where coral reefs are a priority for conservation, intensifying threats from local and global stressors are of paramount concern to management agencies. Using a cumulative impact assessment approach, our goal was to inform management actions for coral reefs in Brazil by assessing their exposure to multiple stressors (fishing, land-based activities, coastal development, mining, aquaculture, shipping, and global warming. We calculated an index of the risk to cumulative impacts: (i assuming uniform sensitivity of coral reefs to stressors; and (ii using impact weights to reflect varying tolerance levels of coral reefs to each stressor. We also predicted the index in both the presence and absence of global warming. We found that 16% and 37% of coral reefs had high to very high risk of cumulative impacts, without and with information on sensitivity respectively, and 42% of reefs had low risk to cumulative impacts from both local and global stressors. Our outputs are the first comprehensive spatial dataset of cumulative impact on coral reefs in Brazil, and show that areas requiring attention mostly corresponded to those closer to population centres. We demonstrate how the relationships between risks from local and global stressors can be used to derive strategic management actions.

  17. 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

    2017-05-31

    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.

  18. Stable isotope analysis indicates a lack of inter- and intra-specific dietary redundancy among ecologically important coral reef fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plass-Johnson, J. G.; McQuaid, C. D.; Hill, J. M.

    2013-06-01

    Parrotfish are critical consumers on coral reefs, mediating the balance between algae and corals, and are often categorised into three functional groups based on adult morphology and feeding behaviour. We used stable isotope analysis (δ13C, δ15N) to investigate size-related ontogenetic dietary changes in multiple species of parrotfish on coral reefs around Zanzibar. We compared signatures among species and functional groups (scrapers, excavators and browsers) as well as ontogenetic stages (immature, initial and terminal phase) within species. Stable isotope analysis suggests that ontogenetic dietary shifts occurred in seven of the nine species examined; larger individuals had enriched δ13C values, with no relationship between size and δ15N. The relationship between fish length and δ13C signature was maintained when species were categorised as scrapers and excavators, but was more pronounced for scrapers than excavators, indicating stronger ontogenetic changes. Isotopic mixing models classified the initial phase of both the most abundant excavator ( Chlorurus sordidus) as a scraper and the immature stage of the scraper Scarus ghobban (the largest species) as an excavator, indicating that diet relates to size rather than taxonomy. The results indicate that parrotfish may show similar intra-group changes in diet with length, but that their trophic ecology is more complex than suggested by morphology alone. Stable isotope analyses indicate that feeding ecology may differ among species within functional groups, and according to ontogenetic stage within a species.

  19. Conventional and technical diving surveys reveal elevated biomass and differing fish community composition from shallow and upper mesophotic zones of a remote United States coral reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roldan C Muñoz

    Full Text Available The world's coral reefs appear to be in a global decline, yet most previous research on coral reefs has taken place at depths shallower than 30 m. Mesophotic coral ecosystem (depths deeper than ~30 m studies have revealed extensive, productive habitats and rich communities. Despite recent advances, mesophotic coral ecosystems remain understudied due to challenges with sampling at deeper depths. The few previous studies of mesophotic coral ecosystems have shown variation across locations in depth-specific species composition and assemblage shifts, potentially a response to differences in habitat or light availability/water clarity. This study utilized scuba to examine fish and benthic communities from shallow and upper mesophotic (to 45 m zones of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS, 28°0'N; 93°50'W from 2010-2012. Dominant planktivores were ubiquitous in shallow and upper mesophotic habitats, and comparisons with previous shallow research suggest this community distribution has persisted for over 30 years. Planktivores were abundant in shallow low-relief habitats on the periphery of the coral reef, and some of these sites that contained habitat transitioning from high to low relief supported high biomass of benthic predators. These peripheral sites at FGBNMS may be important for the trophic transfer of oceanic energy to the benthic coral reef. Distinct differences between upper mesophotic and shallow communities were also observed. These included greater overall fish (as well as apex predator biomass in the upper mesophotic, differences in apex predator community composition between depth zones, and greater percent cover of algae, rubble, sand, and sponges in the upper mesophotic. Greater fish biomass in the upper mesophotic and similar fish community composition between depth zones provide preliminary support that upper mesophotic habitats at FGBNMS have the capacity to serve as refugia for the shallow-water reefs. Diving

  20. Conventional and technical diving surveys reveal elevated biomass and differing fish community composition from shallow and upper mesophotic zones of a remote United States coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muñoz, Roldan C; Buckel, Christine A; Whitfield, Paula E; Viehman, Shay; Clark, Randy; Taylor, J Christopher; Degan, Brian P; Hickerson, Emma L

    2017-01-01

    The world's coral reefs appear to be in a global decline, yet most previous research on coral reefs has taken place at depths shallower than 30 m. Mesophotic coral ecosystem (depths deeper than ~30 m) studies have revealed extensive, productive habitats and rich communities. Despite recent advances, mesophotic coral ecosystems remain understudied due to challenges with sampling at deeper depths. The few previous studies of mesophotic coral ecosystems have shown variation across locations in depth-specific species composition and assemblage shifts, potentially a response to differences in habitat or light availability/water clarity. This study utilized scuba to examine fish and benthic communities from shallow and upper mesophotic (to 45 m) zones of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS, 28°0'N; 93°50'W) from 2010-2012. Dominant planktivores were ubiquitous in shallow and upper mesophotic habitats, and comparisons with previous shallow research suggest this community distribution has persisted for over 30 years. Planktivores were abundant in shallow low-relief habitats on the periphery of the coral reef, and some of these sites that contained habitat transitioning from high to low relief supported high biomass of benthic predators. These peripheral sites at FGBNMS may be important for the trophic transfer of oceanic energy to the benthic coral reef. Distinct differences between upper mesophotic and shallow communities were also observed. These included greater overall fish (as well as apex predator) biomass in the upper mesophotic, differences in apex predator community composition between depth zones, and greater percent cover of algae, rubble, sand, and sponges in the upper mesophotic. Greater fish biomass in the upper mesophotic and similar fish community composition between depth zones provide preliminary support that upper mesophotic habitats at FGBNMS have the capacity to serve as refugia for the shallow-water reefs. Diving surveys of the

  1. Habitat complexity and fish size affect the detection of Indo-Pacific lionfish on invaded coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, S. J.; Tamburello, N.; Miller, S. E.; Akins, J. L.; Côté, I. M.

    2013-06-01

    A standard approach to improving the accuracy of reef fish population estimates derived from underwater visual censuses (UVCs) is the application of species-specific correction factors, which assumes that a species' detectability is constant under all conditions. To test this assumption, we quantified detection rates for invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish ( Pterois volitans and P. miles), which are now a primary threat to coral reef conservation throughout the Caribbean. Estimates of lionfish population density and distribution, which are essential for managing the invasion, are currently obtained through standard UVCs. Using two conventional UVC methods, the belt transect and stationary visual census (SVC), we assessed how lionfish detection rates vary with lionfish body size and habitat complexity (measured as rugosity) on invaded continuous and patch reefs off Cape Eleuthera, the Bahamas. Belt transect and SVC surveys performed equally poorly, with both methods failing to detect the presence of lionfish in >50 % of surveys where thorough, lionfish-focussed searches yielded one or more individuals. Conventional methods underestimated lionfish biomass by ~200 %. Crucially, detection rate varied significantly with both lionfish size and reef rugosity, indicating that the application of a single correction factor across habitats and stages of invasion is unlikely to accurately characterize local populations. Applying variable correction factors that account for site-specific lionfish size and rugosity to conventional survey data increased estimates of lionfish biomass, but these remained significantly lower than actual biomass. To increase the accuracy and reliability of estimates of lionfish density and distribution, monitoring programs should use detailed area searches rather than standard visual survey methods. Our study highlights the importance of accounting for sources of spatial and temporal variation in detection to increase the accuracy of survey data from

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

    KAUST Repository

    Khalil, Maha T.; Cochran, Jesse; Berumen, Michael L.

    2013-01-01

    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

  3. 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.

  4. The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores

    KAUST Repository

    Goatley, Christopher H. R.; Hoey, Andrew; Bellwood, David R.

    2012-01-01

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 77 FR 12243 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-29

    ... Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Permit Form AGENCY: National... using a vessel to fish for Western Pacific coral reef ecosystem management unit species in the... allowed in the regulations; or (3) fishing for, taking, or retaining any Potentially Harvested Coral Reef...

  7. 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)

    Justine, Jean-Lou; Beveridge, Ian; Boxshall, Geoffrey A; Bray, Rodney A; Miller, Terrence L; Moravec, František; Trilles, Jean-Paul; Whittington, Ian D

    2012-09-04

    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. 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. 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 extinction of a coral reef fish species

  8. 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

    OpenAIRE

    Justine, Jean-Lou; Beveridge, Ian; Boxshall, Geoffrey A; Bray, Rodney A; Miller, Terrence L; Moravec, František; Trilles, Jean-Paul; Whittington, Ian D

    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 ...

  9. 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...

  10. Community Change within a Caribbean Coral Reef Marine Protected Area following Two Decades of Local Management

    KAUST Repository

    Noble, Mae M.; van Laake, Gregoor; Berumen, Michael L.; Fulton, Christopher J.

    2013-01-01

    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

  11. Larval traits carry over to affect post-settlement behaviour in a common coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dingeldein, Andrea L; White, J Wilson

    2016-07-01

    Most reef fishes begin life as planktonic larvae before settling to the reef, metamorphosing and entering the benthic adult population. Different selective forces determine survival in the planktonic and benthic life stages, but traits established in the larval stage may carry over to affect post-settlement performance. We tested the hypothesis that larval traits affect two key post-settlement fish behaviours: social group-joining and foraging. Certain larval traits of reef fishes are permanently recorded in the rings in their otoliths. In the bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum), prior work has shown that key larval traits recorded in otoliths (growth rate, energetic condition at settlement) carry over to affect post-settlement survival on the reef, with higher-larval-condition fish experiencing less post-settlement mortality. We hypothesized that this selective mortality is mediated by carry-over effects on post-settlement antipredator behaviours. We predicted that better-condition fish would forage less and be more likely to join groups, both behaviours that would reduce predation risk. We collected 550 recently settled bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum) from three reef sites off St. Croix (USVI) and performed two analyses. First, we compared each settler's larval traits to the size of its social group to determine whether larval traits influenced group-joining behaviour. Secondly, we observed foraging behaviour in a subset of grouped and solitary fish (n = 14) for 1-4 days post-settlement. We then collected the fish and tested whether larval traits influenced the proportion of time spent foraging. Body length at settlement, but not condition, affected group-joining behaviour; smaller fish were more likely to remain solitary or in smaller groups. However, both greater length and better condition were associated with greater proportions of time spent foraging over four consecutive days post-settlement. Larval traits carry over to affect post

  12. 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...

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    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,

  15. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reddy, Sheila M W; Groves, Theodore; Nagavarapu, Sriniketh

    2014-01-01

    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. 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. 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 evaluation, as advocated by sustainable livelihood and ecosystem-based management frameworks.

  17. Consequences of a Government-Controlled Agricultural Price Increase on Fishing and the Coral Reef Ecosystem in the Republic of Kiribati

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reddy, Sheila M. W.; Groves, Theodore; Nagavarapu, Sriniketh

    2014-01-01

    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 evaluation, as advocated by

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

    KAUST Repository

    Tornabene, Luke; Ahmadia, Gabby N.; Berumen, Michael L.; Smith, David J.; Jompa, Jamaluddì n; Pezold, Frank L.

    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.

  19. Spatio-Temporal Patterns in the Coral Reef Communities of the Spermonde Archipelago, 2012–2014, II: Fish Assemblages Display Structured Variation Related to Benthic Condition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeremiah G. Plass-Johnson

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available The Spermonde Archipelago is a complex of ~70 mostly populated islands off Southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia, in the center of the Coral Triangle. The reefs in this area are exposed to a high level of anthropogenic disturbances. Previous studies have shown that variation in the benthos is strongly linked to water quality and distance from the mainland. However, little is known about the fish assemblages of the region and if their community structure also follows a relationship with benthic structure and distance from shore. In this study, we used eight islands of the archipelago, varying in distance from 1 to 55 km relative to the mainland, and 3 years of surveys, to describe benthic and fish assemblages and to examine the spatial and temporal influence of benthic composition on the structure of the fish assemblages. Cluster analysis indicated that distinct groups of fish were associated with distance, while few species were present across the entire range of sites. Relating fish communities to benthic composition using a multivariate generalized linear model confirmed that fish groups relate to structural complexity (rugosity or differing benthic groups; either algae, reef builders (coral and crustose coralline algae or invertebrates and rubble. From these relationships we can identify sets of fish species that may be lost given continued degradation of the Spermonde reefs. Lastly, the incorporation of water quality, benthic and fish indices indicates that local coral reefs responded positively after an acute disturbance in 2013 with increases in reef builders and fish diversity over relatively short (1 year time frames. This study contributes an important, missing component (fish community structure to the growing literature on the Spermonde Archipelago, a system that features environmental pressures common in the greater Southeast Asian region.

  20. Inventory of the tropical coral reef fishes in Wondama Bay regency, West Papua, Indonesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madiyani, K. D. P.; Triastuti, J.; Pursetyo, K. T.

    2018-04-01

    Teluk Wondama Regency is one of the areas in West Papua that is part of the Cendrawasih Bay National Park due to its potential of coral fishes. Until now, there is no thorough information that gives the potential diversities of coral fishes species can be found in the waters, and one of the attempts to find out is to carry out an inventory. Inventories were conducted from March to May 2016 in Rariei and Auri (Roon District), Numamuran (Duairi District), Nusrowi (Rumberpon District) and Waprak (Roswar District). The results of these inventories found 28 species of coral fishes in Rariei consisting of 8 genus (Balistapus, Synodus, Pentapodus, Thalassoma, Zebrasoma, Amblyglyphidodon, Chaetodon and Labroides) in Rariei, 11 genus (Abudefduf, Chaetodon, Amphiprion, Cheilinus, Dascyllus, Chromis, Parastromateus, Priacanthus, Epinephelus, Nemipterus and Lutjanus) in Namamuran, 11 genus in Nusrowi (Halichoeres, Pomacentrus, Dischistodus, Heniochus, Amblyglyphidodon, Arothron, Parupeneus, Lutjanus, Plectropomus, Epinephelus and Acanthurus), 4 genus in the waters of Waprak (Parupeneus, Pomacentrus, Chaetodon and Amblyglyphidodon) and 10 genus in Auri (Lutjanus, Pomacentrus, Amphiprion, Chaetodon, Chromis, Dascyllus, Zanclus, Halichoeres, Siganus and Amblyglyphidodon)

  1. Exploring the nature of ecological specialization in a coral reef fish community: morphology, diet and foraging microhabitat use.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Robbins, William D; Bellwood, David R

    2015-09-22

    Patterns of ecological specialization offer invaluable information about ecosystems. Yet, specialization is rarely quantified across several ecological niche axes and variables beyond the link between morphological and dietary specialization have received little attention. Here, we provide a quantitative evaluation of ecological specialization in a coral reef fish assemblage (f. Acanthuridae) along one fundamental and two realized niche axes. Specifically, we examined ecological specialization in 10 surgeonfish species with regards to morphology and two realized niche axes associated with diet and foraging microhabitat utilization using a recently developed multidimensional framework. We then investigated the potential relationships between morphological and behavioural specialization. These relationships differed markedly from the traditional ecomorphological paradigm. While morphological specialization showed no relationship with dietary specialization, it exhibited a strong relationship with foraging microhabitat specialization. However, this relationship was inverted: species with specialized morphologies were microhabitat generalists, whereas generalized morphotypes were microhabitat specialists. Interestingly, this mirrors relationships found in plant-pollinator communities and may also be applicable to other ecosystems, highlighting the potential importance of including niche axes beyond dietary specialization into ecomorphological frameworks. On coral reefs, it appears that morphotypes commonly perceived as most generalized may, in fact, be specialized in exploiting flat and easily accessible microhabitats. © 2015 The Author(s).

  2. Florida Reef Fish Visual Census 1999 - Present

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This data set of Excel files contain data from visual sampling of coral reef fish species in the National Marine Sanctuary along the Florida Keys. The dataset...

  3. Coral reef bleaching: ecological perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glynn, P. W.

    1993-03-01

    Coral reef bleaching, the whitening of diverse invertebrate taxa, results from the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae and/or a reduction in photosynthetic pigment concentrations in zooxanthellae residing within the gastrodermal tissues of host animals. Of particular concern are the consequences of bleaching of large numbers of reef-building scleractinian corals and hydrocorals. Published records of coral reef bleaching events from 1870 to the present suggest that the frequency (60 major events from 1979 to 1990), scale (co-occurrence in many coral reef regions and often over the bathymetric depth range of corals) and severity (>95% mortality in some areas) of recent bleaching disturbances are unprecedented in the scientific literature. The causes of small scale, isolated bleaching events can often be explained by particular stressors (e.g., temperature, salinity, light, sedimentation, aerial exposure and pollutants), but attempts to explain large scale bleaching events in terms of possible global change (e.g., greenhouse warming, increased UV radiation flux, deteriorating ecosystem health, or some combination of the above) have not been convincing. Attempts to relate the severity and extent of large scale coral reef bleaching events to particular causes have been hampered by a lack of (a) standardized methods to assess bleaching and (b) continuous, long-term data bases of environmental conditions over the periods of interest. An effort must be made to understand the impact of bleaching on the remainder of the reef community and the long-term effects on competition, predation, symbioses, bioerosion and substrate condition, all factors that can influence coral recruitment and reef recovery. If projected rates of sea warming are realized by mid to late AD 2000, i.e. a 2°C increase in high latitude coral seas, the upper thermal tolerance limits of many reef-building corals could be exceeded. Present evidence suggests that many corals would be unable to adapt

  4. Oceanic forcing of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lowe, Ryan J; Falter, James L

    2015-01-01

    Although the oceans play a fundamental role in shaping the distribution and function of coral reefs worldwide, a modern understanding of the complex interactions between ocean and reef processes is still only emerging. These dynamics are especially challenging owing to both the broad range of spatial scales (less than a meter to hundreds of kilometers) and the complex physical and biological feedbacks involved. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of these processes, ranging from the small-scale mechanics of flow around coral communities and their influence on nutrient exchange to larger, reef-scale patterns of wave- and tide-driven circulation and their effects on reef water quality and perceived rates of metabolism. We also examine regional-scale drivers of reefs such as coastal upwelling, internal waves, and extreme disturbances such as cyclones. Our goal is to show how a wide range of ocean-driven processes ultimately shape the growth and metabolism of coral reefs.

  5. Coral Reef Coverage Percentage on Binor Paiton-Probolinggo Seashore

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-01-01

    resulted in coral reef coverage percentage of 63,33%. 75% of living coral found on this 10 meters depth are dominated by Acropora branching coral, while the rest 25,21% are filled by Acropora tabulate coral and non-Acropora coral in the life form of branching, massive, sub-massive, foliose, and mushroom, where coral Mortality Index (IM reached 28,5%. The high number of coral reef coverage percentage on Paiton is caused by successful coral transplantation and low activity of society in this location. The domination of large size Acropora branching coral were estimated comes from a few types, showing that coral resulted from transplantation has grown large and form a complex 3 dimension structure that is suitable for the life form of fish and living benthic.

  6. Coral Reef Coverage Percentage on Binor Paiton-Probolinggo Seashore

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dwi Budi Wiyanto

    2016-02-01

    resulted in coral reef coverage percentage of 63,33%. 75% of living coral found on this 10 meters depth are dominated by Acropora branching coral, while the rest 25,21% are filled by Acropora tabulate coral and non-Acropora coral in the life form of branching, massive, sub-massive, foliose, and mushroom, where coral Mortality Index (IM reached 28,5%. The high number of coral reef coverage percentage on Paiton is caused by successful coral transplantation and low activity of society in this location. The domination of large size Acropora branching coral were estimated comes from a few types, showing that coral resulted from transplantation has grown large and form a complex 3 dimension structure that is suitable for the life form of fish and living benthic.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. The Impact of Marine Protected Areas on Reef-Wide Population Structure and Fishing-Induced Phenotypes in Coral-Reef Fishes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fidler, Robert Young, III

    Overfishing and destructive fishing practices threaten the sustainability of fisheries worldwide. In addition to reducing population sizes, anthropogenic fishing effort is highly size-selective, preferentially removing the largest individuals from harvested stocks. Intensive, size-selective mortality induces widespread phenotypic shifts toward the predominance of smaller and earlier-maturing individuals. Fish that reach sexual maturity at smaller size and younger age produce fewer, smaller, and less viable larvae, severely reducing the reproductive capacity of exploited populations. These directional phenotypic alterations, collectively known as "fisheries-induced evolution" (FIE) are among the primary causes of the loss of harvestable fish biomass. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are one of the most widely utilized components of fisheries management programs around the world, and have been proposed as a potential mechanism by which the impacts of FIE may be mitigated. The ability of MPAs to buffer exploited populations against fishing pressure, however, remains debated due to inconsistent results across studies. Additionally, empirical evidence of phenotypic shifts in fishes within MPAs is lacking. This investigation addresses both of these issues by: (1) using a categorical meta-analysis of MPAs to standardize and quantify the magnitude of MPA impacts across studies; and (2) conducting a direct comparison of life-history phenotypes known to be influenced by FIE in six reef-fish species inside and outside of MPAs. The Philippines was used as a model system for analyses due to the country's significance in global marine biodiversity and reliance on MPAs as a fishery management tool. The quantitative impact of Philippine MPAs was assessed using a "reef-wide" meta-analysis. This analysis used pooled visual census data from 39 matched pairs of MPAs and fished reefs surveyed twice over a mean period of 3 years. In 17 of these MPAs, two additional surveys were conducted

  10. 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...

  11. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Stratified Random Surveys (StRS) of Reef Fish, including Benthic Estimate Data of the Mariana Archipelago in 2014 (NCEI Accession 0157596)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Data provided in this data set were collected as part of the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP) led NCRMP...

  12. Coral Reef Resilience, Tipping Points and the Strength of Herbivory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Adam, Thomas C; Brooks, Andrew J

    2016-11-02

    Coral reefs increasingly are undergoing transitions from coral to macroalgal dominance. Although the functional roles of reef herbivores in controlling algae are becoming better understood, identifying possible tipping points in the herbivory-macroalgae relationships has remained a challenge. Assessment of where any coral reef ecosystem lies in relation to the coral-to-macroalgae tipping point is fundamental to understanding resilience properties, forecasting state shifts, and developing effective management practices. We conducted a multi-year field experiment in Moorea, French Polynesia to estimate these properties. While we found a sharp herbivory threshold where macroalgae escape control, ambient levels of herbivory by reef fishes were well above that needed to prevent proliferation of macroalgae. These findings are consistent with previously observed high resilience of the fore reef in Moorea. Our approach can identify vulnerable coral reef systems in urgent need of management action to both forestall shifts to macroalgae and preserve properties essential for resilience.

  13. Coral Reef Protection Implementation Plan

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Lobel, Lisa

    2000-01-01

    This document identify policies and actions to implement the Department of Defense's responsibilities under Executive Order 13089 on Coral Reef Protection, and are a requirement of the interim Task...

  14. The Ecological Role of Sharks on Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roff, George; Doropoulos, Christopher; Rogers, Alice; Bozec, Yves-Marie; Krueck, Nils C; Aurellado, Eleanor; Priest, Mark; Birrell, Chico; Mumby, Peter J

    2016-05-01

    Sharks are considered the apex predator of coral reefs, but the consequences of their global depletion are uncertain. Here we explore the ecological roles of sharks on coral reefs and, conversely, the importance of reefs for sharks. We find that most reef-associated shark species do not act as apex predators but instead function as mesopredators along with a diverse group of reef fish. While sharks perform important direct and indirect ecological roles, the evidence to support hypothesised shark-driven trophic cascades that benefit corals is weak and equivocal. Coral reefs provide some functional benefits to sharks, but sharks do not appear to favour healthier reef environments. Restoring populations of sharks is important and can yet deliver ecological surprise. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Local Stressors, Resilience, and Shifting Baselines on Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLean, Matthew; Cuetos-Bueno, Javier; Nedlic, Osamu; Luckymiss, Marston; Houk, Peter

    2016-01-01

    Understanding how and why coral reefs have changed over the last twenty to thirty years is crucial for sustaining coral-reef resilience. We used a historical baseline from Kosrae, a typical small island in Micronesia, to examine changes in fish and coral assemblages since 1986. We found that natural gradients in the spatial distribution of fish and coral assemblages have become amplified, as island geography is now a stronger determinant of species abundance patterns, and habitat forming Acropora corals and large-bodied fishes that were once common on the leeward side of the island have become scarce. A proxy for fishing access best predicted the relative change in fish assemblage condition over time, and in turn, declining fish condition was the only factor correlated with declining coral condition, suggesting overfishing may have reduced ecosystem resilience. Additionally, a proxy for watershed pollution predicted modern coral assemblage condition, suggesting pollution is also reducing resilience in densely populated areas. Altogether, it appears that unsustainable fishing reduced ecosystem resilience, as fish composition has shifted to smaller species in lower trophic levels, driven by losses of large predators and herbivores. While prior literature and anecdotal reports indicate that major disturbance events have been rare in Kosrae, small localized disturbances coupled with reduced resilience may have slowly degraded reef condition through time. Improving coral-reef resilience in the face of climate change will therefore require improved understanding and management of growing artisanal fishing pressure and watershed pollution.

  16. Local Stressors, Resilience, and Shifting Baselines on Coral Reefs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew McLean

    Full Text Available Understanding how and why coral reefs have changed over the last twenty to thirty years is crucial for sustaining coral-reef resilience. We used a historical baseline from Kosrae, a typical small island in Micronesia, to examine changes in fish and coral assemblages since 1986. We found that natural gradients in the spatial distribution of fish and coral assemblages have become amplified, as island geography is now a stronger determinant of species abundance patterns, and habitat forming Acropora corals and large-bodied fishes that were once common on the leeward side of the island have become scarce. A proxy for fishing access best predicted the relative change in fish assemblage condition over time, and in turn, declining fish condition was the only factor correlated with declining coral condition, suggesting overfishing may have reduced ecosystem resilience. Additionally, a proxy for watershed pollution predicted modern coral assemblage condition, suggesting pollution is also reducing resilience in densely populated areas. Altogether, it appears that unsustainable fishing reduced ecosystem resilience, as fish composition has shifted to smaller species in lower trophic levels, driven by losses of large predators and herbivores. While prior literature and anecdotal reports indicate that major disturbance events have been rare in Kosrae, small localized disturbances coupled with reduced resilience may have slowly degraded reef condition through time. Improving coral-reef resilience in the face of climate change will therefore require improved understanding and management of growing artisanal fishing pressure and watershed pollution.

  17. Reproductive gene expression in a coral reef fish exposed to increasing temperature across generations

    KAUST Repository

    Veilleux, Heather D; Donelson, Jennifer M; Munday, Philip L

    2017-01-01

    Reproduction in marine fish is generally tightly linked with water temperature. Consequently, when adults are exposed to projected future ocean temperatures, reproductive output of many species declines precipitously. Recent research has shown that in the common reef fish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, step-wise exposure to higher temperatures over two generations (parents: +1.5°C, offspring: +3.0°C) can improve reproductive output in the F2 generation compared to F2 fish that have experienced the same high temperatures over two generations (F1 parents: +3.0°C, F2 offspring: +3.0°C). To investigate how a step-wise increase in temperature between generations improved reproductive capacity, we tested the expression of well-known teleost reproductive genes in the brain and gonads of F2 fish using quantitative reverse transcription PCR and compared it among control (+0.0°C for two generations), developmental (+3.0°C in second generation only), step (+1.5°C in first generation and +3.0°C in second generation), and transgenerational (+3.0°C for two generations) treatments. We found that levels of gonadotropin receptor gene expression (Fshr and Lhcgr) in the testes were reduced in developmental and transgenerational temperature treatments, but were similar to control levels in the step treatment. This suggests Fshr and Lhcgr may be involved in regulating male reproductive capacity in A. polyacanthus. In addition, lower Fshb expression in the brain of females in all temperature treatments compared to control, suggests that Fshb expression, which is involved in vitellogenesis, is sensitive to high temperatures. Our results help elucidate key genes that facilitate successful reproduction in reef fishes when they experience a gradual increase in temperature across generations consistent with the trajectory of climate change.

  18. Reproductive gene expression in a coral reef fish exposed to increasing temperature across generations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Veilleux, Heather D; Donelson, Jennifer M; Munday, Philip L

    2018-01-01

    Reproduction in marine fish is generally tightly linked with water temperature. Consequently, when adults are exposed to projected future ocean temperatures, reproductive output of many species declines precipitously. Recent research has shown that in the common reef fish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus , step-wise exposure to higher temperatures over two generations (parents: +1.5°C, offspring: +3.0°C) can improve reproductive output in the F2 generation compared to F2 fish that have experienced the same high temperatures over two generations (F1 parents: +3.0°C, F2 offspring: +3.0°C). To investigate how a step-wise increase in temperature between generations improved reproductive capacity, we tested the expression of well-known teleost reproductive genes in the brain and gonads of F2 fish using quantitative reverse transcription PCR and compared it among control (+0.0°C for two generations), developmental (+3.0°C in second generation only), step (+1.5°C in first generation and +3.0°C in second generation), and transgenerational (+3.0°C for two generations) treatments. We found that levels of gonadotropin receptor gene expression ( Fshr and Lhcgr ) in the testes were reduced in developmental and transgenerational temperature treatments, but were similar to control levels in the step treatment. This suggests Fshr and Lhcgr may be involved in regulating male reproductive capacity in A. polyacanthus . In addition, lower Fshb expression in the brain of females in all temperature treatments compared to control, suggests that Fshb expression, which is involved in vitellogenesis, is sensitive to high temperatures. Our results help elucidate key genes that facilitate successful reproduction in reef fishes when they experience a gradual increase in temperature across generations consistent with the trajectory of climate change.

  19. Reproductive gene expression in a coral reef fish exposed to increasing temperature across generations

    KAUST Repository

    Veilleux, Heather D

    2017-12-07

    Reproduction in marine fish is generally tightly linked with water temperature. Consequently, when adults are exposed to projected future ocean temperatures, reproductive output of many species declines precipitously. Recent research has shown that in the common reef fish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, step-wise exposure to higher temperatures over two generations (parents: +1.5°C, offspring: +3.0°C) can improve reproductive output in the F2 generation compared to F2 fish that have experienced the same high temperatures over two generations (F1 parents: +3.0°C, F2 offspring: +3.0°C). To investigate how a step-wise increase in temperature between generations improved reproductive capacity, we tested the expression of well-known teleost reproductive genes in the brain and gonads of F2 fish using quantitative reverse transcription PCR and compared it among control (+0.0°C for two generations), developmental (+3.0°C in second generation only), step (+1.5°C in first generation and +3.0°C in second generation), and transgenerational (+3.0°C for two generations) treatments. We found that levels of gonadotropin receptor gene expression (Fshr and Lhcgr) in the testes were reduced in developmental and transgenerational temperature treatments, but were similar to control levels in the step treatment. This suggests Fshr and Lhcgr may be involved in regulating male reproductive capacity in A. polyacanthus. In addition, lower Fshb expression in the brain of females in all temperature treatments compared to control, suggests that Fshb expression, which is involved in vitellogenesis, is sensitive to high temperatures. Our results help elucidate key genes that facilitate successful reproduction in reef fishes when they experience a gradual increase in temperature across generations consistent with the trajectory of climate change.

  20. Coral reefs as indicators of marine environmental health

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kumaraguru, A.K.

    2007-01-01

    Coral reefs are one of the most productive and diverse of all ecosystems on the Earth. Although they occupy less than 0.25 percent of the marine environment, the reefs support more than a quarter of all known fish species. They serve as critical habitats for numerous tropical species including reef fishes of ornamental nature and edible fishes. They protect the shores from storms and wave actions

  1. Effect of Recreational Fish Feeding on Reef Fish Community ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ... that the reaction to bread at feeding sites was quicker than at control sites, which indicates that some species learn to feed on this novel source of food. Keywords:human-animal interactions, reef fish, recreational fish feeding, tourism impacts, MPAs, coral reefs, Kenya West Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science Vol.

  2. Global microbialization of coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haas, Andreas F; Fairoz, Mohamed F M; Kelly, Linda W; Nelson, Craig E; Dinsdale, Elizabeth A; Edwards, Robert A; Giles, Steve; Hatay, Mark; Hisakawa, Nao; Knowles, Ben; Lim, Yan Wei; Maughan, Heather; Pantos, Olga; Roach, Ty N F; Sanchez, Savannah E; Silveira, Cynthia B; Sandin, Stuart; Smith, Jennifer E; Rohwer, Forest

    2016-04-25

    Microbialization refers to the observed shift in ecosystem trophic structure towards higher microbial biomass and energy use. On coral reefs, the proximal causes of microbialization are overfishing and eutrophication, both of which facilitate enhanced growth of fleshy algae, conferring a competitive advantage over calcifying corals and coralline algae. The proposed mechanism for this competitive advantage is the DDAM positive feedback loop (dissolved organic carbon (DOC), disease, algae, microorganism), where DOC released by ungrazed fleshy algae supports copiotrophic, potentially pathogenic bacterial communities, ultimately harming corals and maintaining algal competitive dominance. Using an unprecedented data set of >400 samples from 60 coral reef sites, we show that the central DDAM predictions are consistent across three ocean basins. Reef algal cover is positively correlated with lower concentrations of DOC and higher microbial abundances. On turf and fleshy macroalgal-rich reefs, higher relative abundances of copiotrophic microbial taxa were identified. These microbial communities shift their metabolic potential for carbohydrate degradation from the more energy efficient Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway on coral-dominated reefs to the less efficient Entner-Doudoroff and pentose phosphate pathways on algal-dominated reefs. This 'yield-to-power' switch by microorganism directly threatens reefs via increased hypoxia and greater CO2 release from the microbial respiration of DOC.

  3. 77 FR 12567 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-01

    ... Collection; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Coral Reef Ecosystems Logbook and Reporting AGENCY... with, or any U.S. citizen issued with, a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit (authorized under the Fishery Management Plan for Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Western Pacific Region), to complete...

  4. 77 FR 39724 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-07-05

    ...-DS61200000] U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service... Wildlife Service (Service), announce a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) and a... strengthen U.S. government actions to better preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The Departments of...

  5. 75 FR 47624 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-06

    ... DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and... (Service), announce a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) and a request for written.... Coral Reef Task Force Department of the Interior Liaison, U.S. Department of the Interior, MS-3530-MIB...

  6. 76 FR 7579 - U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-10

    .... Coral Reef Task Force Public Meeting and Public Comment AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior... Service (Service), announce a public business meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) [email protected] ); or Liza Johnson, U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Department of the Interior Liaison, U.S...

  7. Linking social and ecological systems to sustain coral reef fisheries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cinner, Joshua E; McClanahan, Timothy R; Daw, Tim M; Graham, Nicholas A J; Maina, Joseph; Wilson, Shaun K; Hughes, Terence P

    2009-02-10

    The ecosystem goods and services provided by coral reefs are critical to the social and economic welfare of hundreds of millions of people, overwhelmingly in developing countries [1]. Widespread reef degradation is severely eroding these goods and services, but the socioeconomic factors shaping the ways that societies use coral reefs are poorly understood [2]. We examine relationships between human population density, a multidimensional index of socioeconomic development, reef complexity, and the condition of coral reef fish populations in five countries across the Indian Ocean. In fished sites, fish biomass was negatively related to human population density, but it was best explained by reef complexity and a U-shaped relationship with socioeconomic development. The biomass of reef fishes was four times lower at locations with intermediate levels of economic development than at locations with both low and high development. In contrast, average biomass inside fishery closures was three times higher than in fished sites and was not associated with socioeconomic development. Sustaining coral reef fisheries requires an integrated approach that uses tools such as protected areas to quickly build reef resources while also building capacities and capital in societies over longer time frames to address the complex underlying causes of reef degradation.

  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 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...

  11. Resource-fish surveys using timed-swims at 14 coral reef ecosystem sites off West Hawaii and 39 sites off Maui in 2005 (NCEI 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...

  12. Characterizing the diversity of coral reef habitats and fish communities found in a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the strategy developed for Lagoons of New Caledonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andréfouët, S; Wantiez, L

    2010-01-01

    Since 1972, the UNESCO "World Heritage Convention" offers an international canvas for conservation and management that targets areas of high cultural and environmental significance. To support the designation of areas within the 36.000 km(2) of New Caledonia coral reefs and lagoons as a World Heritage Site, the natural value and diversity of the proposed zones needed to be demonstrated. To exhaustively identify each configuration of shallow habitats, high resolution remote sensing images were used to select the sampling sites. This optimal scheme resulted in the selection of nearly 1300 sampling sites, and was then simplified to render its application realistic. In the final sampling plan, only the most common or the most remarkable coral zones were selected. Following this selection, in situ habitat and fish surveys were conducted in 2006-2008 in five large areas spanning a 600 km-long latitudinal gradient. Habitats were described using line-intercept transects in parallel with underwater visual census of indicator and commercial coral reef fish species. We report here on the results achieved in terms of: (i) the actual diversity of coral habitats captured by the remote sensing based sampling strategy, (ii) the different reef fish communities captured from the different sites, and (iii) how well they represent New Caledonia diversity. We discuss the possible generalization of this scheme to other sites, in the context of World Heritage Site selection and for other large-scale conservation planning activities. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Status of coral reefs of India

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Muley, E.V.; Venkataraman, K.; Alfred, J.R.B.; Wafar, M.V.M.

    and economic significance of coral reefs and the threat perceptions, Government of India has initiated measures for their intensive conservation and management. Present paper deals with ecological status of coral reefs in the country and various national...

  14. Bipartite life cycle of coral reef fishes promotes increasing shape disparity of the head skeleton during ontogeny: an example from damselfishes (Pomacentridae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vandewalle Pierre

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Quantitative studies of the variation of disparity during ontogeny exhibited by the radiation of coral reef fishes are lacking. Such studies dealing with the variation of disparity, i.e. the diversity of organic form, over ontogeny could be a first step in detecting evolutionary mechanisms in these fishes. The damselfishes (Pomacentridae have a bipartite life-cycle, as do the majority of demersal coral reef fishes. During their pelagic dispersion phase, all larvae feed on planktonic prey. On the other hand, juveniles and adults associated with the coral reef environment show a higher diversity of diets. Using geometric morphometrics, we study the ontogenetic dynamic of shape disparity of different head skeletal units (neurocranium, suspensorium and opercle, mandible and premaxilla in this fish family. We expected that larvae of different species might be relatively similar in shapes. Alternatively, specialization may become notable even in the juvenile and adult phase. Results The disparity levels increase significantly throughout ontogeny for each skeletal unit. At settlement, all larval shapes are already species-specific. Damselfishes show high levels of ontogenetic allometry during their post-settlement growth. The divergence of allometric patterns largely explains the changes in patterns and levels of shape disparity over ontogeny. The rate of shape change and the length of ontogenetic trajectories seem to be less variable among species. We also show that the high levels of shape disparity at the adult stage are correlated to a higher level of ecological and functional diversity in this stage. Conclusion Diversification throughout ontogeny of damselfishes results from the interaction among several developmental novelties enhancing disparity. The bipartite life-cycle of damselfishes exemplifies a case where the variation of environmental factors, i.e. the transition from the more homogeneous oceanic environment to the

  15. Bipartite life cycle of coral reef fishes promotes increasing shape disparity of the head skeleton during ontogeny: an example from damselfishes (Pomacentridae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    Background Quantitative studies of the variation of disparity during ontogeny exhibited by the radiation of coral reef fishes are lacking. Such studies dealing with the variation of disparity, i.e. the diversity of organic form, over ontogeny could be a first step in detecting evolutionary mechanisms in these fishes. The damselfishes (Pomacentridae) have a bipartite life-cycle, as do the majority of demersal coral reef fishes. During their pelagic dispersion phase, all larvae feed on planktonic prey. On the other hand, juveniles and adults associated with the coral reef environment show a higher diversity of diets. Using geometric morphometrics, we study the ontogenetic dynamic of shape disparity of different head skeletal units (neurocranium, suspensorium and opercle, mandible and premaxilla) in this fish family. We expected that larvae of different species might be relatively similar in shapes. Alternatively, specialization may become notable even in the juvenile and adult phase. Results The disparity levels increase significantly throughout ontogeny for each skeletal unit. At settlement, all larval shapes are already species-specific. Damselfishes show high levels of ontogenetic allometry during their post-settlement growth. The divergence of allometric patterns largely explains the changes in patterns and levels of shape disparity over ontogeny. The rate of shape change and the length of ontogenetic trajectories seem to be less variable among species. We also show that the high levels of shape disparity at the adult stage are correlated to a higher level of ecological and functional diversity in this stage. Conclusion Diversification throughout ontogeny of damselfishes results from the interaction among several developmental novelties enhancing disparity. The bipartite life-cycle of damselfishes exemplifies a case where the variation of environmental factors, i.e. the transition from the more homogeneous oceanic environment to the coral reef offering a wide

  16. 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

    ... the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic... South Carolina Aquarium to collect, with certain conditions, various species of reef fish, crabs, and..., marine sanctuaries, special management zones, or artificial reefs without additional authorization...

  17. Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (South Florida). Reef-Building Corals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1987-08-01

    2S-34. Dustan, P. 1979. Distribution of Davis, G. 1982. A century of natural zooxanthellae and photosynthetic change in coral distribution at the...Perturbation and change in National Climatic Center, Asheville, coral reef communities. Proc. Natl. N.C. 4 pp. Acad. Sci. 79:1678-1681. Neigel, J.E., and...expected to react to environmental changes caused by coastal development. Each profile has sections on taxonomy, life history, ecological role

  18. 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. © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology.

  19. 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

  20. Three dimensional marine seismic survey has no measurable effect on species richness or abundance of a coral reef associated fish community

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Miller, Ian; Cripps, Edward

    2013-01-01

    Highlights: • A marine seismic survey was conducted at Scott Reef, North Western Australia. • Effects of the survey on demersal fish were gauged using underwater visual census. • There was no detectable impact of the seismic survey on species abundance. • There was no detectable impact of the seismic survey on species richness. -- Abstract: Underwater visual census was used to determine the effect of a three dimensional seismic survey on the shallow water coral reef slope associated fish community at Scott Reef. A census of the fish community was conducted on six locations at Scott Reef both before and after the survey. The census included small site attached demersal species belonging to the family Pomacentridae and larger roving demersal species belonging to the non-Pomacentridae families. These data were combined with a decade of historical data to assess the impact of the seismic survey. Taking into account spatial, temporal, spatio-temporal and observer variability, modelling showed no significant effect of the seismic survey on the overall abundance or species richness of Pomacentridae or non-Pomacentridae. The six most abundant species were also analysed individually. In all cases no detectable effect of the seismic survey was found on the abundance of these fish species at Scott Reef

  1. 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

  2. Say what? Coral reef sounds as indicators of community assemblages and reef conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mooney, T. A.; Kaplan, M. B.

    2016-02-01

    Coral reefs host some of the highest diversity of life on the planet. Unfortunately, reef health and biodiversity is declining or is threatened as a result of climate change and human influences. Tracking these changes is necessary for effective resource management, yet estimating marine biodiversity and tracking trends in ecosystem health is a challenging and expensive task, especially in many pristine reefs which are remote and difficult to access. Many fishes, mammals and invertebrates make sound. These sounds are reflective of a number of vital biological processes and are a cue for settling reef larvae. Biological sounds may be a means to quantify ecosystem health and biodiversity, however the relationship between coral reef soundscapes and the actual taxa present remains largely unknown. This study presents a comparative evaluation of the soundscape of multiple reefs, naturally differing in benthic cover and fish diversity, in the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park. Using multiple recorders per reef we characterized spacio-temporal variation in biological sound production within and among reefs. Analyses of sounds recorded over 4 summer months indicated diel trends in both fish and snapping shrimp acoustic frequency bands with crepuscular peaks at all reefs. There were small but statistically significant acoustic differences among sites on a given reef raising the possibility of potentially localized acoustic habitats. The strength of diel trends in lower, fish-frequency bands were correlated with coral cover and fish density, yet no such relationship was found with shrimp sounds suggesting that fish sounds may be of higher relevance to tracking certain coral reef conditions. These findings indicate that, in spite of considerable variability within reef soundscapes, diel trends in low-frequency sound production reflect reef community assemblages. Further, monitoring soundscapes may be an efficient means of establishing and monitoring reef conditions.

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

    KAUST Repository

    Hoey, Andrew; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Cvitanovic, Christopher

    2011-01-01

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark I McCormick

    2009-09-01

    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.

  7. Implementing Biocriteria: Coral Reef Protection Using the Clean Water Act

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biological assessments (surveying the presence, number, size and condition of fish, coral and other biota) provide important information about the health and integrity of coral reef ecosystems. Biological criteria are one means under the Clean Water Act (CWA) that managers can us...

  8. Isolation by distance and vicariance drive genetic structure of a coral reef fish in the Pacific Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Planes, S; Fauvelot, C

    2002-02-01

    We studied the genetic diversity of a coral reef fish species to investigate the origin of the differentiation. A total of 727 Acanthurus triostegus collected from 15 locations throughout the Pacific were analyzed for 20 polymorphic loci. The genetic structure showed limited internal disequilibrium within each population; 3.7% of the loci showed significant Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium, mostly associated with Adh*, and we subsequently removed this locus from further analysis of geographic pattern. The genetic structure of A. triostegus throughout the tropical Pacific Ocean revealed a strong geographic pattern. Overall, there was significant population differentiation (multilocus F(ST) = 0.199), which was geographically structured according to bootstraps of neighbor-joining analysis on Nei's unbiased genetic distances and AMOVA analysis. The genetic structure revealed five geographic groups in the Pacific Ocean: western Pacific (Guam, Philippines, Palau, and Great Barrier Reef); central Pacific (Solomons, New Caledonia, and Fiji); and three groups made up of the eastern populations, namely Hawaiian Archipelago (north), Marquesas (equatorial), and southern French Polynesia (south) that incorporates Clipperton Island located in the northeastern Pacific. In addition, heterozygosity values were found to be geographically structured with higher values grouped within Polynesian and Clipperton populations, which exhibited lower population size. Finally, the genetic differentiation (F(ST)) was significantly correlated with geographic distance when populations from the Hawaiian and Marquesas archipelagos were separated from all the other locations. These results show that patterns of differentiation vary within the same species according to the spatial scale, with one group probably issued from vicariance, whereas the other followed a pattern of isolation by distance. The geographic pattern for A. triostegus emphasizes the diversity of the evolutionary processes that lead

  9. Human disturbances on coral reefs in Sri Lanka: A case study

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oehman, M C; Linden, O [Stockholm Univ. (Sweden). Dept. of Zoology; Rajasuriya, A [NARA, Crow Island, Colombo (Sri Lanka)

    1993-01-01

    The degradation of coral reefs in Sri Lanka has increased substantially over the last decades. Human activities causing this degradation include: mining for lime production, sewage discharges, discharges of oil and other pollutants in connection with shipping and port activities, destructive fishing practices, land and mangrove destruction, tourism and the collecting of fauna such as fish, shells and corals. In this study, three adjacent coral reefs; Bar Reef, Talawila Reef, and Kandakuliya Reef, which are widely scattered patch reefs off Kalpitiya Peninsula, northwestern Sri Lanka, were surveyed and compared in terms of their fish and coral diversity and abundance as well as human and natural disturbances. Information was gathered by snorkeling in visual overview surveys and by scuba diving in detailed transect surveys. When each reef was ranked according to the extent of live coral cover, and chaetodontid diversity, the results indicated that Bar Reef was in excellent condition, Talawila Reef was intermediate, and Kandakuliya Reef was in poor condition. The diversity of coral genera, the topographic relief and the proportion of coral rubble, did not follow the same pattern. The number of coral genera found was 49, while 283 fish species belonging to 51 families were recorded. Human disturbance factors on the reefs were found to be net fishing, boat anchoring and ornamental fish collection for the aquarium trade. Bottom.set nylon nets in particular were found to have a very destructive impact on the bottom fauna. 33 refs, 7 figs, 1 tab

  10. Comparison of isotopic turnover dynamics in two different muscles of a coral reef fish during the settlement phase

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura Gajdzik

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The temporal variation in carbon and nitrogen isotopic compositions (noted as δ13C and δ15N was investigated in the convict surgeonfish (Acanthurus triostegus at Moorea (French Polynesia. Over a period of 24 days, juveniles were reared in aquaria and subjected to two different feeding treatments: granules or algae. The dynamics of δ13C and δ15N in two muscles (the adductor mandibulae complex and the epaxial musculature having different functions were compared. At the end of experiments, a steady-state isotopic system in each muscle tissue was not reached. Especially for the algal treatment, we found different patterns of variation in isotopic compositions over time between the two muscles. The turnovers of δ13C showed opposite trends for each muscle but differences are mitigated by starvation and by the metamorphosis. Our study highlighted that the metabolism of coral reef fish may be subjected to catabolism or anabolism of non-protein precursors at settlement, inducing variation in isotopic compositions that are not linked to diet change.

  11. Quantifying Coral Reef Ecosystem Services

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coral reefs have been declining during the last four decades as a result of both local and global anthropogenic stresses. Numerous research efforts to elucidate the nature, causes, magnitude, and potential remedies for the decline have led to the widely held belief that the recov...

  12. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Stratified Random Surveys (StRS) of Reef Fish, including Benthic Estimate Data of American Samoa since 2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The stationary point count (SPC) method is used to conduct reef fish surveys in the Hawaiian and Mariana Archipelagos, American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Island...

  13. Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program: Rapid Ecological Assessments of Fish Belt Transect Surveys (BLT) at Coral Reef Sites across the Pacific Ocean from 2000 to 2009

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Belt transects (BLT) is one of the non-invasive underwater-survey methods to enumerate the diverse components of diurnally active shallow-water reef fish...

  14. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Assessment of fish communities in the Florida Reef Tract from 2014-05-01 to 2014-10-01 (NCEI Accession 0156445)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Divers conducted reef visual census (RVC) fish surveys and habitat assessments at 433 sites in the Florida Keys, 436 sites in the Dry Tortugas and 320 sites in the...

  15. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Stratified Random Surveys (StRS) of Reef Fish, including Benthic Estimate Data of the Hawaiian Archipelago since 2013

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The stationary point count (SPC) method is used to conduct reef fish surveys in the Hawaiian and Mariana Archipelagos, American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Island...

  16. National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Stratified Random Surveys (StRS) of Reef Fish, including Benthic Estimate Data of the Mariana Archipelago since 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The stationary point count (SPC) method is used to conduct reef fish surveys in the Hawaiian and Mariana Archipelagos, American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Island...

  17. Anthropogenic impacts on coral reefs and their effect on fishery of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Anthropogenic impacts on coral reefs and their effect on fishery of Kilwa District, Tanzania. ... Tanzanian fishing coastal communities live on fishing activities as one their major economic activities, practicing fishing on shallow ... Overfishing,

  18. 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

  19. 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...

  20. 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.

    2017-01-01

    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

  1. Climatic forcing and larval dispersal capabilities shape the replenishment of fishes and their habitat-forming biota on a tropical coral reef.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Shaun K; Depcyznski, Martial; Fisher, Rebecca; Holmes, Thomas H; Noble, Mae M; Radford, Ben T; Rule, Michael; Shedrawi, George; Tinkler, Paul; Fulton, Christopher J

    2018-02-01

    Fluctuations in marine populations often relate to the supply of recruits by oceanic currents. Variation in these currents is typically driven by large-scale changes in climate, in particular ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation). The dependence on large-scale climatic changes may, however, be modified by early life history traits of marine taxa. Based on eight years of annual surveys, along 150 km of coastline, we examined how ENSO influenced abundance of juvenile fish, coral spat, and canopy-forming macroalgae. We then investigated what traits make populations of some fish families more reliant on the ENSO relationship than others. Abundance of juvenile fish and coral recruits was generally positively correlated with the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), higher densities recorded during La Niña years, when the ENSO-influenced Leeuwin Current is stronger and sea surface temperature higher. The relationship is typically positive and stronger among fish families with shorter pelagic larval durations and stronger swimming abilities. The relationship is also stronger at sites on the coral back reef, although the strongest of all relationships were among the lethrinids ( r  = .9), siganids ( r  = .9), and mullids ( r  = .8), which recruit to macroalgal meadows in the lagoon. ENSO effects on habitat seem to moderate SOI-juvenile abundance relationship. Macroalgal canopies are higher during La Niña years, providing more favorable habitat for juvenile fish and strengthening the SOI effect on juvenile abundance. Conversely, loss of coral following a La Niña-related heat wave may have compromised postsettlement survival of coral dependent species, weakening the influence of SOI on their abundance. This assessment of ENSO effects on tropical fish and habitat-forming biota and how it is mediated by functional ecology improves our ability to predict and manage changes in the replenishment of marine populations.

  2. Loss of live coral compromises predator-avoidance behaviour in coral reef damselfish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boström-Einarsson, Lisa; Bonin, Mary C; Munday, Philip L; Jones, Geoffrey P

    2018-05-17

    Tropical reefs have experienced an unprecedented loss of live coral in the past few decades and the biodiversity of coral-dependent species is under threat. Many reef fish species decline in abundance as coral cover is lost, yet the mechanisms responsible for these losses are largely unknown. A commonly hypothesised cause of fish decline is the loss of shelter space between branches as dead corals become overgrown by algae. Here we tested this hypothesis by quantifying changes in predator-avoidance behaviour of a common damselfish, Pomacentrus moluccensis, before and after the death of their coral colony. Groups of P. moluccensis were placed on either healthy or degraded coral colonies, startled using a visual stimulus and their sheltering responses compared over a 7-week period. P. moluccensis stopped sheltering amongst the coral branches immediately following the death of the coral, despite the presence of ample shelter space. Instead, most individuals swam away from the dead coral, potentially increasing their exposure to predators. It appears that the presence of live coral rather than shelter per se is the necessary cue that elicits the appropriate behavioural response to potential predators. The disruption of this link poses an immediate threat to coral-associated fishes on degrading reefs.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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...

  10. 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.

  11. Acoustic and biological trends on coral reefs off Maui, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaplan, Maxwell B.; Lammers, Marc O.; Zang, Eden; Aran Mooney, T.

    2018-03-01

    Coral reefs are characterized by high biodiversity, and evidence suggests that reef soundscapes reflect local species assemblages. To investigate how sounds produced on a given reef relate to abiotic and biotic parameters and how that relationship may change over time, an observational study was conducted between September 2014 and January 2016 at seven Hawaiian reefs that varied in coral cover, rugosity, and fish assemblages. The reefs were equipped with temperature loggers and acoustic recording devices that recorded on a 10% duty cycle. Benthic and fish visual survey data were collected four times over the course of the study. On average, reefs ranged from 0 to 80% live coral cover, although changes between surveys were noted, in particular during the major El Niño-related bleaching event of October 2015. Acoustic analyses focused on two frequency bands (50-1200 and 1.8-20.5 kHz) that corresponded to the dominant spectral features of the major sound-producing taxa on these reefs, fish, and snapping shrimp, respectively. In the low-frequency band, the presence of humpback whales (December-May) was a major contributor to sound level, whereas in the high-frequency band sound level closely tracked water temperature. On shorter timescales, the magnitude of the diel trend in sound production was greater than that of the lunar trend, but both varied in strength among reefs, which may reflect differences in the species assemblages present. Results indicated that the magnitude of the diel trend was related to fish densities at low frequencies and coral cover at high frequencies; however, the strength of these relationships varied by season. Thus, long-term acoustic recordings capture the substantial acoustic variability present in coral-reef ecosystems and provide insight into the presence and relative abundance of sound-producing organisms.

  12. Asymmetries in body condition and order of arrival influence competitive ability and survival in a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poulos, Davina E; McCormick, Mark I

    2015-11-01

    Trade-offs between traits that influence an individual's competitive ability are important in determining community assembly and coexistence of individuals sharing the same resources. Populations of coral reef fish are structurally complex, so it is important to understand how these populations are shaped as a result of an individual's suite of traits and those of its competitors. We conducted a 2 × 2 factorial field experiment that manipulated body condition (high or low, manipulated through a feeding regime) and residency (resident or intruder, where the resident arrived at the habitat 3 h before the intruder) to evaluate effects on competitive ability and survival. Prior residency alleviated the disadvantage of a low body condition with respect to aggression, which was similar between low-condition residents and high-condition intruders. However, high-condition residents displayed a significantly greater level of aggression than intruders, regardless of whether intruders were from high- or low-condition treatments. For intruders to have a high probability of becoming dominant, they needed to have a large body condition advantage. Mortality trajectories suggested that body condition modified the effect of prior residency, and intruders were more likely to suffer mortality if they had a low body condition because residents pushed them away from shelter. Our results highlight that the negative effects of some traits may be compensated for by the positive effects of other traits, and that the specific ecological context an individual faces (such as the characteristics of its competitors) can have a major influence on successful establishment and persistence.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    ... DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA935 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs Off the Southern Atlantic... conditions, various species of reef fish, crabs, and lobsters in Federal waters off South Carolina and North...

  17. Developing a multi-stressor gradient for coral reefs | Science ...

    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 established. Developing stressor gradients presents challenges including: stressors which co-occur but operate at different or unknown spatial and temporal scales, inconsistent data availability measuring stressor levels, and unknown effects on exposed reef biota. We are developing a generalized stressor model using Puerto Rico as case study location, to represent the cumulative spatial/temporal co-occurrence of multiple anthropogenic stressors. Our approach builds on multi-stressor research in streams and rivers, and focuses on three high-priority stressors identified by coral reef experts: land-based sources of pollution (LBSP), global climate change (GCC) related temperature anomalies, and fishing pressure. Landscape development intensity index, based on land use/land cover data, estimates human impact in watersheds adjacent to coral reefs and is proxy for LBSP. NOAA’s retrospective daily thermal anomaly data is used to determine GCC thermal anomalies. Fishing pressure is modeled using gear-specific and fishery landings data. Stressor data was adjusted to a common scale or weighted for relative importance, buffered to account for diminished impact further from source, and compared wit

  18. Hypoxia tolerance in coral-reef triggerfishes (Balistidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wong, Corrie C.; Drazen, Jeffrey C.; Callan, Chatham K.; Korsmeyer, Keith E.

    2018-03-01

    Despite high rates of photosynthetic oxygen production during the day, the warm waters of coral reefs are susceptible to hypoxia at night due to elevated respiration rates at higher temperatures that also reduce the solubility of oxygen. Hypoxia may be a challenge for coral-reef fish that hide in the reef to avoid predators at night. Triggerfishes (Balistidae) are found in a variety of reef habitats, but they also are known to find refuge in reef crevices and holes at night, which may expose them to hypoxic conditions. The critical oxygen tension ( P crit) was determined as the point below which oxygen uptake could not be maintained to support standard metabolic rate (SMR) for five species of triggerfish. The triggerfishes exhibited similar levels of hypoxia tolerance as other coral-reef and coastal marine fishes that encounter low oxygen levels in their environment. Two species, Rhinecanthus rectangulus and R. aculeatus, had the lowest P crit ( 3.0 kPa O2), comparable to the most hypoxia-tolerant obligate coral-dwelling gobies, while Odonus niger and Sufflamen bursa were moderately tolerant to hypoxia ( P crit 4.5 kPa), and Xanthichthys auromarginatus was intermediate ( P crit 3.7 kPa). These differences in P crit were not due to differences in oxygen demand, as all the species had a similar SMR once mass differences were taken into account. The results suggest that triggerfish species are adapted for different levels of hypoxia exposure during nocturnal sheltering within the reef.

  19. Cryptic diversity in Indo-Pacific coral-reef fishes revealed by DNA-barcoding provides new support to the centre-of-overlap hypothesis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicolas Hubert

    Full Text Available Diversity in coral reef fishes is not evenly distributed and tends to accumulate in the Indo-Malay-Philippines Archipelago (IMPA. The comprehension of the mechanisms that initiated this pattern is in its infancy despite its importance for the conservation of coral reefs. Considering the IMPA either as an area of overlap or a cradle of marine biodiversity, the hypotheses proposed to account for this pattern rely on extant knowledge about taxonomy and species range distribution. The recent large-scale use of standard molecular data (DNA barcoding, however, has revealed the importance of taking into account cryptic diversity when assessing tropical biodiversity. We DNA barcoded 2276 specimens belonging to 668 coral reef fish species through a collaborative effort conducted concomitantly in both Indian and Pacific oceans to appraise the importance of cryptic diversity in species with an Indo-Pacific distribution range. Of the 141 species sampled on each side of the IMPA, 62 presented no spatial structure whereas 67 exhibited divergent lineages on each side of the IMPA with K2P distances ranging between 1% and 12%, and 12 presented several lineages with K2P distances ranging between 3% and 22%. Thus, from this initial pool of 141 nominal species with Indo-Pacific distribution, 79 dissolved into 165 biological units among which 162 were found in a single ocean. This result is consistent with the view that the IMPA accumulates diversity as a consequence of its geological history, its location on the junction between the two main tropical oceans and the presence of a land bridge during glacial times in the IMPA that fostered allopatric divergence and secondary contacts between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

  20. Cryptic diversity in Indo-Pacific coral-reef fishes revealed by DNA-barcoding provides new support to the centre-of-overlap hypothesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hubert, Nicolas; Meyer, Christopher P; Bruggemann, Henrich J; Guérin, Fabien; Komeno, Roberto J L; Espiau, Benoit; Causse, Romain; Williams, Jeffrey T; Planes, Serge

    2012-01-01

    Diversity in coral reef fishes is not evenly distributed and tends to accumulate in the Indo-Malay-Philippines Archipelago (IMPA). The comprehension of the mechanisms that initiated this pattern is in its infancy despite its importance for the conservation of coral reefs. Considering the IMPA either as an area of overlap or a cradle of marine biodiversity, the hypotheses proposed to account for this pattern rely on extant knowledge about taxonomy and species range distribution. The recent large-scale use of standard molecular data (DNA barcoding), however, has revealed the importance of taking into account cryptic diversity when assessing tropical biodiversity. We DNA barcoded 2276 specimens belonging to 668 coral reef fish species through a collaborative effort conducted concomitantly in both Indian and Pacific oceans to appraise the importance of cryptic diversity in species with an Indo-Pacific distribution range. Of the 141 species sampled on each side of the IMPA, 62 presented no spatial structure whereas 67 exhibited divergent lineages on each side of the IMPA with K2P distances ranging between 1% and 12%, and 12 presented several lineages with K2P distances ranging between 3% and 22%. Thus, from this initial pool of 141 nominal species with Indo-Pacific distribution, 79 dissolved into 165 biological units among which 162 were found in a single ocean. This result is consistent with the view that the IMPA accumulates diversity as a consequence of its geological history, its location on the junction between the two main tropical oceans and the presence of a land bridge during glacial times in the IMPA that fostered allopatric divergence and secondary contacts between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

  1. Calcite/aragonite-biocoated artificial coral reefs for marine parks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Volodymyr Ivanov

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Natural formation of the coral reefs is complicated by slow biomediated precipitation of calcium carbonate from seawater. Therefore, manufactured artificial coral reefs can be used for the formation of “underwater gardens” in marine parks for the recreational fishing and diving that will protect natural coral reefs from negative anthropogenic effects. Additionally, the coating of the concrete, plastic or wooden surfaces of artificial coral reef with calcium carbonate layer could promote attachment and growth of coral larvae and photosynthetic epibiota on these surfaces. Three methods of biotechnological coating of the artificial coral reefs have been tested: (1 microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation from concentrated calcium chloride solution using live bacterial culture of Bacillus sp. VS1 or dead but urease-active cells of Yaniella sp. VS8; (2 precipitation from calcium bicarbonate solution; (3 precipitation using aerobic oxidation of calcium acetate by bacteria Bacillus ginsengi strain VSA1. The thickness of biotechnologically produced calcium carbonate coating layer was from 0.3 to 3 mm. Biocoating using calcium salt and urea produced calcite in fresh water and aragonite in seawater. The calcium carbonate-coated surfaces were colonized in aquarium with seawater and hard corals as inoculum or in aquarium with fresh water using cyanobacteria Chlorella sorokiana as inoculum. The biofilm on the light-exposed side of calcium carbonate-coated surfaces was formed after six weeks of incubation and developed up to the average thickness of 250 µm in seawater and about 150 µm in fresh water after six weeks of incubation. The biotechnological manufacturing of calcium carbonate-coated concrete, plastic, or wooden surfaces of the structures imitating natural coral reef is technologically feasible. It could be commercially attractive solution for the introduction of aesthetically pleasant artificial coral reefs in marine parks and

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tauna L Rankin

    2011-05-01

    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. Human activity selectively impacts the ecosystem roles of parrotfishes on coral reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bellwood, David R.; Hoey, Andrew; Hughes, Terence P.

    2011-01-01

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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,...

  6. 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,...

  7. Hawaii Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP): fish data from year 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,...

  8. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. School is out on noisy reefs: the effect of boat noise on predator learning and survival of juvenile coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrari, Maud C O; McCormick, Mark I; Meekan, Mark G; Simpson, Stephen D; Nedelec, Sophie L; Chivers, Douglas P

    2018-01-31

    Noise produced by anthropogenic activities is increasing in many marine ecosystems. We investigated the effect of playback of boat noise on fish cognition. We focused on noise from small motorboats, since its occurrence can dominate soundscapes in coastal communities, the number of noise-producing vessels is increasing rapidly and their proximity to marine life has the potential to cause deleterious effects. Cognition-or the ability of individuals to learn and remember information-is crucial, given that most species rely on learning to achieve fitness-promoting tasks, such as finding food, choosing mates and recognizing predators. The caveat with cognition is its latent effect: the individual that fails to learn an important piece of information will live normally until the moment where it needs the information to make a fitness-related decision. Such latent effects can easily be overlooked by traditional risk assessment methods. Here, we conducted three experiments to assess the effect of boat noise playbacks on the ability of fish to learn to recognize predation threats, using a common, conserved learning paradigm. We found that fish that were trained to recognize a novel predator while being exposed to 'reef + boat noise' playbacks failed to subsequently respond to the predator, while their 'reef noise' counterparts responded appropriately. We repeated the training, giving the fish three opportunities to learn three common reef predators, and released the fish in the wild. Those trained in the presence of 'reef + boat noise' playbacks survived 40% less than the 'reef noise' controls over our 72 h monitoring period, a performance equal to that of predator-naive fish. Our last experiment indicated that these results were likely due to failed learning, as opposed to stress effects from the sound exposure. Neither playbacks nor real boat noise affected survival in the absence of predator training. Our results indicate that boat noise has the potential to cause

  10. 75 FR 48934 - Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-12

    ...-01] RIN 0648-ZC19 Coral Reef Conservation Program Implementation Guidelines AGENCY: National Oceanic... Guidelines (Guidelines) for the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP or Program) under the Coral Reef... assistance for coral reef conservation projects under the Act. NOAA revised the Implementation Guidelines for...

  11. 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.

  12. 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.; Feldheim, K.A.; Jones, G.P.; Ma, K.; Mansour, H.; Perumal, S.; Williamson, D.H.; Berumen, Michael L.

    2014-01-01

    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. 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Macroalgal herbivory on recovering versus degrading coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chong-Seng, K. M.; Nash, K. L.; Bellwood, D. R.; Graham, N. A. J.

    2014-06-01

    Macroalgal-feeding fishes are considered to be a key functional group on coral reefs due to their role in preventing phase shifts from coral to macroalgal dominance, and potentially reversing the shift should it occur. However, assessments of macroalgal herbivory using bioassay experiments are primarily from systems with relatively high coral cover. This raises the question of whether continued functionality can be ensured in degraded systems. It is clearly important to determine whether the species that remove macroalgae on coral-dominated reefs will still be present and performing significant algal removal on macroalgal-dominated reefs. We compared the identity and effectiveness of macroalgal-feeding fishes on reefs in two conditions post-disturbance—those regenerating with high live coral cover (20-46 %) and those degrading with high macroalgal cover (57-82 %). Using filmed Sargassum bioassays, we found significantly different Sargassum biomass loss between the two conditions; mean assay weight loss due to herbivory was 27.9 ± 4.9 % on coral-dominated reefs and 2.2 ± 1.1 % on reefs with high macroalgal cover. However, once standardised for the availability of macroalgae on the reefs, the rates of removal were similar between the two reef conditions (4.8 ± 4.1 g m-2 h-1 on coral-dominated and 5.3 ± 2.1 g m-2 h-1 on macroalgal-dominated reefs). Interestingly, the Sargassum-assay consumer assemblages differed between reef conditions; nominally grazing herbivores, Siganus puelloides and Chlorurus sordidus, and the browser , Siganus sutor, dominated feeding on high coral cover reefs, whereas browsing herbivores, Naso elegans, Naso unicornis, and Leptoscarus vaigiensis, prevailed on macroalgal-dominated reefs. It appeared that macroalgal density in the surrounding habitat had a strong influence on the species driving the process of macroalgal removal. This suggests that although the function of macroalgal removal may continue, the species responsible may change

  14. 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....

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. High refuge availability on coral reefs increases the vulnerability of reef-associated predators to overexploitation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Alice; Blanchard, Julia L; Newman, Steven P; Dryden, Charlie S; Mumby, Peter J

    2018-02-01

    Refuge availability and fishing alter predator-prey interactions on coral reefs, but our understanding of how they interact to drive food web dynamics, community structure and vulnerability of different trophic groups is unclear. Here, we apply a size-based ecosystem model of coral reefs, parameterized with empirical measures of structural complexity, to predict fish biomass, productivity and community structure in reef ecosystems under a broad range of refuge availability and fishing regimes. In unfished ecosystems, the expected positive correlation between reef structural complexity and biomass emerges, but a non-linear effect of predation refuges is observed for the productivity of predatory fish. Reefs with intermediate complexity have the highest predator productivity, but when refuge availability is high and prey are less available, predator growth rates decrease, with significant implications for fisheries. Specifically, as fishing intensity increases, predators in habitats with high refuge availability exhibit vulnerability to over-exploitation, resulting in communities dominated by herbivores. Our study reveals mechanisms for threshold dynamics in predators living in complex habitats and elucidates how predators can be food-limited when most of their prey are able to hide. We also highlight the importance of nutrient recycling via the detrital pathway, to support high predator biomasses on coral reefs. © 2018 by the Ecological Society of America.

  20. Extended exposure to elevated temperature affects escape response behaviour in coral reef fishes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Donald T. Warren

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available The threat of predation, and the prey’s response, are important drivers of community dynamics. Yet environmental temperature can have a significant effect on predation avoidance techniques such as fast-start performance observed in marine fishes. While it is known that temperature increases can influence performance and behaviour in the short-term, little is known about how species respond to extended exposure during development. We produced a startle response in two species of damselfish, the lemon damsel Pomacentrus moluccensis, and the Ambon damselfish Pomacentrus amboinensis, by the repeated use of a drop stimulus. We show that the length of thermal exposure of juveniles to elevated temperature significantly affects this escape responses. Short-term (4d exposure to warmer temperature affected directionality and responsiveness for both species. After long-term (90d exposure, only P. moluccensis showed beneficial plasticity, with directionality returning to control levels. Responsiveness also decreased in both species, possibly to compensate for higher temperatures. There was no effect of temperature or length of exposure on latency to react, maximum swimming speed, or escape distance suggesting that the physical ability to escape was maintained. Evidence suggests that elevated temperature may impact some fish species through its effect on the behavioural responses while under threat rather than having a direct influence on their physical ability to perform an effective escape response.

  1. Global warming and coral reefs

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Wafar, M.V.M.

    , notably at Ratnagiri. Malwan. Redi Port and Vizhingam. Relic reefs with living herm<:ltypic corals at depths ranging fror:l 25 to 45m are the Gaves hani Bank off~\\angalore,and the submerged banks (Bass<:ls de Pedro. Sesostris Bank and Cora Divh... the snore (Qaslm and Wafar, 1979). The other representative Sea le\\lel Variation 417 of the extensive reelS of the outer shelf that survived Pleistocene drowning is the Gaveshani Bank, fanhc: south (J 3° 24' N; 73° 45' E), about 100 km off \\1 ar:ga lore...

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Positive Feedbacks Enhance Macroalgal Resilience on Degraded Coral Reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dell, Claire L A; Longo, Guilherme O; Hay, Mark E

    2016-01-01

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.; van Herwerden, L.

    2013-01-01

    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

  8. Phylogenetic perspectives on reef fish functional traits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Floeter, Sergio R; Bender, Mariana G; Siqueira, Alexandre C; Cowman, Peter F

    2018-02-01

    Functional traits have been fundamental to the evolution and diversification of entire fish lineages on coral reefs. Yet their relationship with the processes promoting speciation, extinction and the filtering of local species pools remains unclear. We review the current literature exploring the evolution of diet, body size, water column use and geographic range size in reef-associated fishes. Using published and new data, we mapped functional traits on to published phylogenetic trees to uncover evolutionary patterns that have led to the current functional diversity of fishes on coral reefs. When examining reconstructed patterns for diet and feeding mode, we found examples of independent transitions to planktivory across different reef fish families. Such transitions and associated morphological alterations may represent cases in which ecological opportunity for the exploitation of different resources drives speciation and adaptation. In terms of body size, reconstructions showed that both large and small sizes appear multiple times within clades of mid-sized fishes and that extreme body sizes have arisen mostly in the last 10 million years (Myr). The reconstruction of range size revealed many cases of disparate range sizes among sister species. Such range size disparity highlights potential vicariant processes through isolation in peripheral locations. When accounting for peripheral speciation processes in sister pairs, we found a significant relationship between labrid range size and lineage age. The diversity and evolution of traits within lineages is influenced by trait-environment interactions as well as by species and trait-trait interactions, where the presence of a given trait may trigger the development of related traits or behaviours. Our effort to assess the evolution of functional diversity across reef fish clades adds to the burgeoning research focusing on the evolutionary and ecological roles of functional traits. We argue that the combination of a

  9. 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.

  10. Factors Affecting Detection Probability of Acoustic Tags in Coral Reefs

    KAUST Repository

    Bermudez, Edgar F.

    2012-01-01

    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

  11. Selective predation for low body condition at the larval-juvenile transition of a coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoey, Andrew S; McCormick, Mark I

    2004-03-01

    Mortality is known to be high during the transition from larval to juvenile life stages in organisms that have complex life histories. We are only just beginning to understand the processes that influence which individuals survive this period of high mortality, and which traits may be beneficial. Here we document a field experiment that examines the selectivity of predation immediately following settlement to the juvenile population in a common tropical fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis (Pomacentridae). Newly metamorphosed fish were tagged and randomly placed onto replicated patches of natural habitat cleared of resident fishes. After exposure to transient predators for 3 days, fish were recollected and the attributes of survivors from patch reefs that sustained high mortality were compared to individuals from patch reefs that experienced low mortality. Seven characteristics of individuals, which were indicative of previous and present body condition, were compared between groups. Predation was found to be selective for fish that grew slowly in the latter third of their larval phase, were low in total lipids, and had a high standardized weight (Fulton's K). Traits developed in the larval phase can strongly influence the survival of individuals over this critical transition period for organisms with complex life cycles.

  12. Identifying the ichthyoplankton of a coral reef using DNA barcodes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hubert, Nicolas; Espiau, Benoit; Meyer, Christopher; Planes, Serge

    2015-01-01

    Marine fishes exhibit spectacular phenotypic changes during their ontogeny, and the identification of their early stages is challenging due to the paucity of diagnostic morphological characters at the species level. Meanwhile, the importance of early life stages in dispersal and connectivity has recently experienced an increasing interest in conservation programmes for coral reef fishes. This study aims at assessing the effectiveness of DNA barcoding for the automated identification of coral reef fish larvae through large-scale ecosystemic sampling. Fish larvae were mainly collected using bongo nets and light traps around Moorea between September 2008 and August 2010 in 10 sites distributed in open waters. Fish larvae ranged from 2 to 100 mm of total length, with the most abundant individuals being <5 mm. Among the 505 individuals DNA barcoded, 373 larvae (i.e. 75%) were identified to the species level. A total of 106 species were detected, among which 11 corresponded to pelagic and bathypelagic species, while 95 corresponded to species observed at the adult stage on neighbouring reefs. This study highlights the benefits and pitfalls of using standardized molecular systems for species identification and illustrates the new possibilities enabled by DNA barcoding for future work on coral reef fish larval ecology. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. First occurrence of Argathona macronema (Bleeker, 1857) (Isopoda: Cirolanidae) on coral reef fishes along the Tuticorin coastal water, Gulf of Mannar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chelladurai, Gurusamy; Mohanraj, Jayaraj; Jayanthi, Govinda Rajalu

    2017-03-01

    Isopod Parasites are considered as a major threat to the fishing industry, due to rigorous disease outbreaks. The parasites from the two economically important reef fish family Lutjanidae and Serranidae are analyzed i.e. Epinephelus malabaricus and Lutjanus rivulatus. The samples are obtained from the landings of Trawl net from Gulf of Mannar region of South east coast of India. They are severely infested by the isopod parasite Agrathona macronema in the Pectoral fins and ventral region of the body. This species is found to be the new record in the Gulf of Mannar region and deposited in the Marine laboratory of Kamaraj College. Length and weight of the host and parasites are measured. The parasites infested on 13 specimens of E. malabricus out of 8 and 17 out of 12 species of L. rivulatus . The prevalence of parasite on the grouper and snapper fish (61.53 and 70.58 %) and mean intensity (2.62 and 2.58 %) respectively. The prevalence was maximum in L. rivulatus and minimum in E. malbaricus may be to the host specificity. Further studies are needed to know the life cycle of the parasite, host preference, disease outbreak and its role in the coral reef ecosystem.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. PMID:26719987

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Patterns in reef fish assemblages: Insights from the Chagos Archipelago.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samoilys, Melita; Roche, Ronan; Koldewey, Heather; Turner, John

    2018-01-01

    Understanding the drivers of variability in the composition of fish assemblages across the Indo-Pacific region is crucial to support coral reef ecosystem resilience. Whilst numerous relationships and feedback mechanisms between the functional roles of coral reef fishes and reef benthic composition have been investigated, certain key groups, such as the herbivores, are widely suggested to maintain reefs in a coral-dominated state. Examining links between fishes and reef benthos is complicated by the interactions between natural processes, disturbance events and anthropogenic impacts, particularly fishing pressure. This study examined fish assemblages and associated benthic variables across five atolls within the Chagos Archipelago, where fishing pressure is largely absent, to better understand these relationships. We found high variability in fish assemblages among atolls and sites across the archipelago, especially for key groups such as a suite of grazer-detritivore surgeonfish, and the parrotfishes which varied in density over 40-fold between sites. Differences in fish assemblages were significantly associated with variable levels of both live and recently dead coral cover and rugosity. We suggest these results reflect differing coral recovery trajectories following coral bleaching events and a strong influence of 'bottom-up' control mechanisms on fish assemblages. Species level analyses revealed that Scarus niger, Acanthurus nigrofuscus and Chlorurus strongylocephalos were key species driving differences in fish assemblage structure. Clarifying the trophic roles of herbivorous and detritivorous reef fishes will require species-level studies, which also examine feeding behaviour, to fully understand their contribution in maintaining reef resilience to climate change and fishing impacts.

  1. Patterns in reef fish assemblages: Insights from the Chagos Archipelago

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roche, Ronan; Koldewey, Heather; Turner, John

    2018-01-01

    Understanding the drivers of variability in the composition of fish assemblages across the Indo-Pacific region is crucial to support coral reef ecosystem resilience. Whilst numerous relationships and feedback mechanisms between the functional roles of coral reef fishes and reef benthic composition have been investigated, certain key groups, such as the herbivores, are widely suggested to maintain reefs in a coral-dominated state. Examining links between fishes and reef benthos is complicated by the interactions between natural processes, disturbance events and anthropogenic impacts, particularly fishing pressure. This study examined fish assemblages and associated benthic variables across five atolls within the Chagos Archipelago, where fishing pressure is largely absent, to better understand these relationships. We found high variability in fish assemblages among atolls and sites across the archipelago, especially for key groups such as a suite of grazer-detritivore surgeonfish, and the parrotfishes which varied in density over 40-fold between sites. Differences in fish assemblages were significantly associated with variable levels of both live and recently dead coral cover and rugosity. We suggest these results reflect differing coral recovery trajectories following coral bleaching events and a strong influence of ‘bottom-up’ control mechanisms on fish assemblages. Species level analyses revealed that Scarus niger, Acanthurus nigrofuscus and Chlorurus strongylocephalos were key species driving differences in fish assemblage structure. Clarifying the trophic roles of herbivorous and detritivorous reef fishes will require species-level studies, which also examine feeding behaviour, to fully understand their contribution in maintaining reef resilience to climate change and fishing impacts. PMID:29351566

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. Biological impacts of oil pollution: coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Knap, A H [Bermuda Biological Station, Ferry Reach (Bermuda)

    1992-01-01

    Coral reefs are the largest structures made by living things and exist as extremely productive ecosystems in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. Their location in nearshore waters means that there is a potential danger to corals from tanker accidents, refinery operations, oil exploration and production. There are now a number of published scientific papers concerning the effects of oils on corals. This report summarises and interprets the findings, and provides background information on the structure and ecology of coral reefs. Clean-up options and their implications are discussed in the light of the latest evidence from case histories and field experiments. (author)

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Patterns of coral species richness and reef connectivity in Malaysia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Waheed, Z.

    2016-01-01

    Much remains to be discovered about the biodiversity of coral reefs in Malaysia, making this area a priority for coral reef research. This thesis aims to provide insights into the patterns of reef coral species richness and the degree of reef connectivity across Malaysia. For the species richness

  8. Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program: Stratified Random Surveys (StRS) of Reef Fish, including Benthic Estimate Data at Coral Reef Sites across the Pacific Ocean from 2008 to 2012

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The stationary point count (nSPC) method is used to conduct reef fish surveys in the Hawaiian and Mariana Archipelagos, American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Island...

  9. 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...

  10. 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 ...

  11. Ecosystem function and biodiversity on coral reefs

    OpenAIRE

    Ogden, J.; Done, T.; Salvat, B.

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wild, Christian; Jantzen, Carin; Kremb, Stephan Georg

    2014-01-01

    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.

  15. Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America

    KAUST Repository

    Wild, Christian; Jantzen, Carin; Kremb, Stephan Georg

    2014-01-01

    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.

  16. Functional morphology of the luminescence system of Siphamia versicolor (Perciformes: Apogonidae), a bacterially luminous coral reef fish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dunlap, Paul V; Nakamura, Masaru

    2011-08-01

    Previous studies of the luminescence system of Siphamia versicolor (Perciformes: Apogonidae) identified a ventral light organ, reflector, lens, duct, and a ventral diffuser extending from the throat to the caudal peduncle. The control and function of luminescence in this and other species of Siphamia, however, have not been defined. Morphological examination of fresh and preserved specimens identified additional components of the luminescence system involved in control and ventral emission of luminescence, including a retractable shutter over the ventral face of the light organ, contiguity of the ventral diffuser from the caudal peduncle to near the chin, and transparency of the bones and other tissues of the lower jaw. The shutter halves retract laterally, allowing the ventral release of light, and relax medially, blocking ventral light emission; topical application of norepinephrine to the exposed light organ resulted in retraction of the shutter halves, which suggests that operation of the shutter is under neuromuscular control. The extension of the diffuser to near the chin and transparency of the lower jaw allow a uniform emission of luminescence over the entire ventrum of the fish. The live aquarium-held fish were found to readily and consistently display ventral luminescence. At twilight, the fish left the protective association with their longspine sea urchin, Diadema setosum, and began to emit ventral luminescence and to feed on zooplankton. Ventral luminescence illuminated a zone below and around the fish, which typically swam close to the substrate. Shortly after complete darkness, the fish stopped feeding and emitting luminescence. These observations suggest that S. versicolor uses ventral luminescence to attract and feed on zooplankton from the reef benthos at twilight. Ventral luminescence may allow S. versicolor to exploit for feeding the gap at twilight in the presence of potential predators as the reef transitions from diurnally active to

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Linking habitat mosaics and connectivity in a coral reef seascape

    KAUST Repository

    McMahon, Kelton; Berumen, Michael L.; Thorrold, Simon R.

    2012-01-01

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. New directions in coral reef microbial ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garren, Melissa; Azam, Farooq

    2012-04-01

    Microbial processes largely control the health and resilience of coral reef ecosystems, and new technologies have led to an exciting wave of discovery regarding the mechanisms by which microbial communities support the functioning of these incredibly diverse and valuable systems. There are three questions at the forefront of discovery: What mechanisms underlie coral reef health and resilience? How do environmental and anthropogenic pressures affect ecosystem function? What is the ecology of microbial diseases of corals? The goal is to understand the functioning of coral reefs as integrated systems from microbes and molecules to regional and ocean-basin scale ecosystems to enable accurate predictions of resilience and responses to perturbations such as climate change and eutrophication. This review outlines recent discoveries regarding the microbial ecology of different microenvironments within coral ecosystems, and highlights research directions that take advantage of new technologies to build a quantitative and mechanistic understanding of how coral health is connected through microbial processes to its surrounding environment. The time is ripe for natural resource managers and microbial ecologists to work together to create an integrated understanding of coral reef functioning. In the context of long-term survival and conservation of reefs, the need for this work is immediate. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  5. Evaluation of Stony Coral Indicators for Coral Reef Management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colonies of reef-building stony corals at 57 stations around St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands were characterized by species, size and percentage of living tissue. Taxonomic, biological and physical indicators of coral condition were derived from these measurements and assessed for ...

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Relative and combined effects of habitat and fishing on reef fish communities across a limited fishing gradient at Ningaloo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Shaun K; Babcock, Russ C; Fisher, Rebecca; Holmes, Thomas H; Moore, James A Y; Thomson, Damian P

    2012-10-01

    Habitat degradation and fishing are major drivers of temporal and spatial changes in fish communities. The independent effects of these drivers are well documented, but the relative importance and interaction between fishing and habitat shifts is poorly understood, particularly in complex systems such as coral reefs. To assess the combined and relative effects of fishing and habitat we examined the composition of fish communities on patch reefs across a gradient of high to low structural complexity in fished and unfished areas of the Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia. Biomass and species richness of fish were positively correlated with structural complexity of reefs and negatively related to macroalgal cover. Total abundance of fish was also positively related to structural complexity, however this relationship was stronger on fished reefs than those where fishing is prohibited. The interaction between habitat condition and fishing pressure is primarily due to the high abundance of small bodied planktivorous fish on fished reefs. However, the influence of management zones on the abundance and biomass of predators and target species is small, implying spatial differences in fishing pressure are low and unlikely to be driving this interaction. Our results emphasise the importance of habitat in structuring reef fish communities on coral reefs especially when gradients in fishing pressure are low. The influence of fishing effort on this relationship may however become more important as fishing pressure increases. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. 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.

  11. 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,

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 78 FR 67128 - Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-11-08

    ... DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program; Meeting AGENCY: Coral Reef Conservation Program, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management... meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF). The meeting will be held in Christiansted, U.S. Virgin...

  15. A too acid world for coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Allemand, D.; Reynaud, St.; Salvat, B.

    2010-01-01

    While briefly presenting how corals grow and exchange with their environment and after having recalled that temperature increase was already a threat for them, this article outlines that ocean acidification is now considered as another danger. This acidification is due to the dissolution in sea water of CO 2 produced by human activities. This entails a slower calcification which is the process by which corals grow their skeleton. But, some researches showed that some corals manage to survive normally in such acid conditions, and even without skeleton for some other species. Anyhow, coral reefs will tend to disappear with environmental and socio-economical consequences

  16. Coral reefs and the World Bank.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hatziolos, M

    1997-01-01

    The World Bank¿s involvement in coral reef conservation is part of a larger effort to promote the sound management of coastal and marine resources. This involves three major thrusts: partnerships, investments, networks and knowledge. As an initial partner and early supporter of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the Bank serves as the executive planning committee of ICRI. In partnership with the World Conservation Union and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Bank promotes the efforts towards the establishment and maintenance of a globally representative system of marine protected areas. In addition, the Bank invested over $120 million in coral reef rehabilitation and protection programs in several countries. Furthermore, the Bank developed a ¿Knowledge Bank¿ that would market ideas and knowledge to its clients along with investment projects. This aimed to put the best global knowledge on environmentally sustainable development in the hands of its staff and clients. During the celebration of 1997, as the International Year of the Reef, the Bank planned to cosponsor an associated event that would highlight the significance of coral reefs and encourage immediate action to halt their degradation to conserve this unique ecosystem.

  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. Permanent 'phase shifts' or reversible declines in coral cover? Lack of recovery of two coral reefs in St. John, US Virgin Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, C.S.; Miller, J.

    2006-01-01

    Caribbean coral reefs have changed dramatically in the last 3 to 4 decades, with significant loss of coral cover and increases in algae. Here we present trends in benthic cover from 1989 to 2003 at 2 reefs (Lameshur Reef and Newfound Reef) off St. John, US Virgin Islands (USVI). Coral cover has declined in the fore-reef zones at both sites, and no recovery is evident. At Lameshur Reef, Hurricane Hugo (1989) caused significant physical damage and loss of coral. We suggest that macroalgae rapidly colonized new substrate made available by this storm and have hindered or prevented growth of adult corals, as well as settlement and survival of new coral recruits. Overfishing of herbivorous fishes in the USVI and loss of shelter for these fishes because of major storms has presumably reduced the levels of herbivory that formerly controlled algal abundance. Coral cover declined at Newfound Reef from 1999 to 2000, most likely because of coral diseases. The trends that we have documented, loss of coral followed by no evidence of recovery, appear similar to findings from other studies in the Caribbean. We need to focus on functional shifts in the resilience of coral reefs that result in their inability to recover from natural and human-caused stressors. ?? Inter-Research 2006.

  19. Homogeneity of coral reef communities across 8 degrees of latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Roberts, May B.; Jones, Geoffrey P.; McCormick, Mark I.; Munday, Philip L.; Neale, Stephen; Thorrold, Simon; Robitzch, Vanessa S.N.; Berumen, Michael L.

    2015-01-01

    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.

  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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  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. Partial mortality in massive reef corals as an indicator of sediment stress on coral reefs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M.

    2003-01-01

    Partial mortality and fission on colonies of four common massive coral species were examined at sites differing in their exposure to river sediments in St. Lucia, West Indies. Rates of partial mortality were higher close to the river mouths, where more sediments were deposited, than away from the rivers in two coral species. Frequency of fission showed no significant trend. The percent change in coral cover on reefs from 1995 to 1998 was negatively related to the rate of partial mortality estimated in 1998 in all species. This suggests that partial mortality rates could reflect longer-term temporal changes in coral communities. Similar conclusions could also be reached using a less precise measure and simply recording partial mortality on colonies as <50% and ≥50% dead tissue. We conclude that partial mortality in some species of massive reef corals, expressed as the amount of dead tissue per colony, could provide a rapid and effective means of detecting sediment stress on coral reefs

  3. Partial mortality in massive reef corals as an indicator of sediment stress on coral reefs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nugues, Maggy M.; Roberts, Callum M

    2003-03-01

    Partial mortality and fission on colonies of four common massive coral species were examined at sites differing in their exposure to river sediments in St. Lucia, West Indies. Rates of partial mortality were higher close to the river mouths, where more sediments were deposited, than away from the rivers in two coral species. Frequency of fission showed no significant trend. The percent change in coral cover on reefs from 1995 to 1998 was negatively related to the rate of partial mortality estimated in 1998 in all species. This suggests that partial mortality rates could reflect longer-term temporal changes in coral communities. Similar conclusions could also be reached using a less precise measure and simply recording partial mortality on colonies as <50% and {>=}50% dead tissue. We conclude that partial mortality in some species of massive reef corals, expressed as the amount of dead tissue per colony, could provide a rapid and effective means of detecting sediment stress on coral reefs.

  4. 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

  5. Dietary shift in juvenile coral trout ( Plectropomus maculatus) following coral reef degradation from a flood plume disturbance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wen, Colin K. C.; Bonin, Mary C.; Harrison, Hugo B.; Williamson, David H.; Jones, Geoffrey P.

    2016-06-01

    Acute environmental disturbances impact on habitat quality and resource availability, which can reverberate through trophic levels and become apparent in species' dietary composition. In this study, we observed a distinct dietary shift of newly settled and juvenile coral trout ( Plectropomus maculatus) following severe coral reef habitat degradation after a river flood plume affected the Keppel Islands, Australia. Hard coral cover declined by ~28 % in the 2 yr following the 2010-2011 floods, as did the abundance of young coral trout. Gut contents analysis revealed that diets had shifted from largely crustacean-based to non-preferred prey fishes following the disturbances. These results suggest that newly settled and juvenile coral trout modify their diet and foraging strategy in response to coral habitat degradation. This bottom-up effect of habitat degradation on the diet of a top coral reef predator may incur a metabolic cost, with subsequent effects on growth and survival.

  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. Identification of Coral Reefs in Mamburit Waters, Sumenep Regency

    OpenAIRE

    Sawiya, Sawiya; Mahmudi, Mohammad; Guntur, Guntur

    2014-01-01

    This research was conducted in September to October 2013 in Mamburit Waters, Sumenep Regency. This study was aimed to assess the percentage of coral reefs and acknowkedge the type of the coral reefs. Coral reefs was observed with the Line Intercept (LIT) method laid parallel to the coastline in the depth of 3 m and 10 m in windward and leeward area. Total of 59.88% coral reefs lived in leeward area in 3 m depth includes in good category and the percentage of dead coral reefs and other fauna f...

  8. Coral reefs as drivers of cladogenesis: expanding coral reefs, cryptic extinction events, and the development of biodiversity hotspots.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cowman, P F; Bellwood, D R

    2011-12-01

    Diversification rates within four conspicuous coral reef fish families (Labridae, Chaetodontidae, Pomacentridae and Apogonidae) were estimated using Bayesian inference. Lineage through time plots revealed a possible late Eocene/early Oligocene cryptic extinction event coinciding with the collapse of the ancestral Tethyan/Arabian hotspot. Rates of diversification analysis revealed elevated cladogenesis in all families in the Oligocene/Miocene. Throughout the Miocene, lineages with a high percentage of coral reef-associated taxa display significantly higher net diversification rates than expected. The development of a complex mosaic of reef habitats in the Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA) during the Oligocene/Miocene appears to have been a significant driver of cladogenesis. Patterns of diversification suggest that coral reefs acted as a refuge from high extinction, as reef taxa are able to sustain diversification at high extinction rates. The IAA appears to support both cladogenesis and survival in associated lineages, laying the foundation for the recent IAA marine biodiversity hotspot. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2011 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  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. Fungi and their role in corals and coral reef ecosystems

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Raghukumar, C.; Ravindran, J.

    fungal hyphae have on corals, their mechanism of penetration and the role their enzymes play in this process. 3.2. Fungi as pathogens in reef ecosystems Besides natural disasters and climate warming, diseases have contributed to coral decline... defence mechanisms against predation, biofouling, diseases, environmental perturbations and other stressors. These chemicals are either synthesized by the organisms themselves or their endobiontic microorganisms. If these valuable compounds...

  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

    ... the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coral and Coral Reefs off the Southern Atlantic... regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitat of... Cancer Institute (http:// [[Page 39918

  12. 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...

  13. An annotated list of parasites (Isopoda, Copepoda, Monogenea, Digenea, Cestoda and Nematoda) collected in groupers (Serranidae, Epinephelinae) in New Caledonia emphasizes parasite biodiversity in coral reef fish

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Justine, J.-L.; Beveridge, I.; Boxshall, G.A.; Bray, R. A.; Moravec, František; Trilles, J.-P.; Whittington, I.D.

    2010-01-01

    Roč. 57, č. 4 (2010), s. 237-262 ISSN 0015-5683 R&D Projects: GA MŠk LC522 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60220518 Keywords : Isopoda * Copepoda * Monogenea * Digenea * Cestoda * Nematoda * Serranidae * Epinephelinae * parasite biodiversity * coral reef * New Caledonia Subject RIV: GJ - Animal Vermins ; Diseases, Veterinary Medicine Impact factor: 1.533, year: 2010

  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. 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…

  16. Marine ecosystem appropriation in the Indo-Pacific: a case study of the live reef fish food trade

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren-Rhodes, Kimberley; Sadovy, Yvonne; Cesar, Herman

    2003-01-01

    Our ecological footprint analyses of coral reef fish fisheries and, in particular, the live reef fish food trade (FT), indicate many countries' current consumption exceeds estimated sustainable per capita global, regional and local coral reef production levels. Hong Kong appropriates 25% of SE Asia's annual reef fish production of 135 260-286 560 tonnes (t) through its FT demand, exceeding regional biocapacity by 8.3 times; reef fish fisheries demand out-paces sustainable production in the Indo-Pacific and SE Asia by 2.5 and 6 times. In contrast, most Pacific islands live within their own reef fisheries means with local demand at Indo-Pacific.

  17. Reefs for the future: Resilience of coral reefs in the main Hawaiian Islands

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Declining health of coral reef ecosystems led scientists to search for factors that support reef resilience: the ability of reefs to resist and recover from...

  18. Coral diseases and bleaching on Colombian Caribbean coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raúl Navas-Camacho

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available 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 (10x2m 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

  19. The relationship between coral reef health, alien algae, and fish biomass at sites on Oahu and the Big Island, Hawaii, during 2004-2005 (NODC Accession 0002619)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Data in this set come from two studies: "Ability of protected reefs to resist alien algae" and "How many fish does it take to keep the alien algae out?" Both are...

  20. Coral mucus fuels the sponge loop in warm- and cold-water coral reef ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rix, L.; de Goeij, J.M.; Mueller, C.E.; Struck, U.; Middelburg, J.J.; van Duyl, F.C.; Al-Horani, F.A.; Wild, C.; Naumann, M.S.; Van Oevelen, D.

    2016-01-01

    Shallow warm-water and deep-sea cold-water corals engineer the coral reef framework and fertilize reef communities by releasing coral mucus, a source of reef dissolved organic matter (DOM). By transforming DOM into particulate detritus, sponges play a key role in transferring the energy and

  1. Tortugas Reef Fish Census (CRCP)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This is a long term data set collecting visual census transect data on reef fishes at staions located at Rileys Hump, Tortugas South Ecological Reservee.

  2. Phylogeography of the reef fish Cephalopholis argus (Epinephelidae indicates Pleistocene isolation across the indo-pacific barrier with contemporary overlap in the coral triangle

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gomez Juan A

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The Coral Triangle (CT, bounded by the Philippines, the Malay Peninsula, and New Guinea, is the epicenter of marine biodiversity. Hypotheses that explain the source of this rich biodiversity include 1 the center of origin, 2 the center of accumulation, and 3 the region of overlap. Here we contribute to the debate with a phylogeographic survey of a widely distributed reef fish, the Peacock Grouper (Cephalopholis argus; Epinephelidae at 21 locations (N = 550 using DNA sequence data from mtDNA cytochrome b and two nuclear introns (gonadotropin-releasing hormone and S7 ribosomal protein. Results Population structure was significant (ΦST = 0.297, P FST = 0.078, P FST = 0.099, P P = 0.001 and the combined nuclear loci (r = 0.715, P d = 0.008, corresponding to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, with a low level of introgression observed outside a mixing zone at the Pacific-Indian boundary. Conclusions We conclude that the Indo-Pacific Barrier, operating during low sea level associated with glaciation, defines the primary phylogeographic pattern in this species. These data support a scenario of isolation on the scale of 105 year glacial cycles, followed by population expansion toward the CT, and overlap of divergent lineages at the Pacific-Indian boundary. This pattern of isolation, divergence, and subsequent overlap likely contributes to species richness at the adjacent CT and is consistent with the region of overlap hypothesis.

  3. Water Quality Standards for Coral Reef Protection

    Science.gov (United States)

    The U.S. Clean Water Act provides a legal framework to protect coastal biological resources such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows from the damaging effects of human activities. Even though many resources are protected under this authority, water quality stan...

  4. Linking Wave Forcing to Coral Cover and Structural Complexity Across Coral Reef Flats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, D. L.; Rovere, A.; Parravicini, V.; Casella, E.

    2015-12-01

    The hydrodynamic regime is a significant component in the geomorphic and ecological development of coral reefs. The energy gradients and flow conditions generated by the breaking and transformation of waves across coral reef crests and flats drive changes in geomorphic structure, and coral growth form and distribution. One of the key aspects in regulating the wave energy propagating across reef flats is the rugosity or roughness of the benthic substrate. Rugosity and structural complexity of coral reefs is also a key indicator of species diversity, ecological functioning, and reef health. However, the links between reef rugosity, coral species distribution and abundance, and hydrodynamic forcing are poorly understood. In this study we examine this relationship by using high resolution measurement of waves in the surf zone and coral reef benthic structure.Pressure transducers (logging at 4 Hz) were deployed in cross reef transects at two sites (Tiahura and Ha'apiti reef systems) in Moorea, French Polynesia with wave characteristics determined on a wave by wave basis. A one dimensional hydrodynamic model (XBeach) was calibrated from this data to determine wave processes on the reef flats under average conditions. Transects of the reef benthic structure were conducted using photographic analysis and the three dimensional reef surface was constructed using structure from motion procedures. From this analysis reef rugosity, changes in coral genus and growth form, and across reef shifts in benthic community were determined. The results show clear changes in benthic assemblages along wave energy gradients with some indication of threshold values of wave induced bed shear stress above which live coral cover was reduced. Reef rugosity was shown to be significantly along the cross-reef transect which has important implications for accurate assessment of wave dissipation across coral reef flats. Links between reef rugosity and coral genus were also observed and may indicate

  5. Recent Advances in Understanding the Effects of Climate Change on Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew S. Hoey

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the persistence of coral reefs. Sustained and ongoing increases in ocean temperatures and acidification are altering the structure and function of reefs globally. Here, we summarise recent advances in our understanding of the effects of climate change on scleractinian corals and reef fish. Although there is considerable among-species variability in responses to increasing temperature and seawater chemistry, changing temperature regimes are likely to have the greatest influence on the structure of coral and fish assemblages, at least over short–medium timeframes. Recent evidence of increases in coral bleaching thresholds, local genetic adaptation and inheritance of heat tolerance suggest that coral populations may have some capacity to respond to warming, although the extent to which these changes can keep pace with changing environmental conditions is unknown. For coral reef fishes, current evidence indicates increasing seawater temperature will be a major determinant of future assemblages, through both habitat degradation and direct effects on physiology and behaviour. The effects of climate change are, however, being compounded by a range of anthropogenic disturbances, which may undermine the capacity of coral reef organisms to acclimate and/or adapt to specific changes in environmental conditions.

  6. Socio-ecological dynamics of Caribbean coral reef ecosystems and conservation opinion propagation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thampi, Vivek A; Anand, Madhur; Bauch, Chris T

    2018-02-07

    The Caribbean coral reef ecosystem has experienced a long history of deterioration due to various stressors. For instance, over-fishing of parrotfish - an important grazer of macroalgae that can prevent destructive overgrowth of macroalgae - has threatened reef ecosystems in recent decades and stimulated conservation efforts such as the formation of marine protected areas. Here we develop a mathematical model of coupled socio-ecological interactions between reef dynamics and conservation opinion dynamics to better understand how natural and human factors interact individually and in combination to determine coral reef cover. We find that the coupling opinion and reef systems generates complex dynamics that are difficult to anticipate without use of a model. For instance, instead of converging to a stable state of constant coral cover and conservationist opinion, the system can oscillate between low and high live coral cover as human opinion oscillates in a boom-bust cycle between complacency and concern. Out of various possible parameter manipulations, we also find that raising awareness of coral reef endangerment best avoids counter-productive nonlinear feedbacks and always increases and stabilizes live coral reef cover. In conclusion, an improved understanding of coupled opinion-reef dynamics under anthrogenic stressors is possible using coupled socio-ecological models, and such models should be further researched.

  7. Ecological States and the Resilience of Coral Reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim McClanahan

    2002-12-01

    Full Text Available We review the evidence for multiple ecological states and the factors that create ecological resilience in coral reef ecosystems. There are natural differences among benthic communities along gradients of water temperature, light, nutrients, and organic matter associated with upwelling-downwelling and onshore-offshore systems. Along gradients from oligotrophy to eutrophy, plant-animal symbioses tend to decrease, and the abundance of algae and heterotrophic suspension feeders and the ratio of organic to inorganic carbon production tend to increase. Human influences such as fishing, increased organic matter and nutrients, sediments, warm water, and transportation of xenobiotics and diseases are common causes of a large number of recently reported ecological shifts. It is often the interaction of persistent and multiple synergistic disturbances that causes permanent ecological transitions, rather than the succession of individual short-term disturbances. For example, fishing can remove top-level predators, resulting in the ecological release of prey such as sea urchins and coral-eating invertebrates. When sea urchins are not common because of unsuitable habitat, recruitment limitations, and diseases, and when overfishing removes herbivorous fish, frondose brown algae can dominate. Terrigenous sediments carried onto reefs as a result of increased soil erosion largely promote the dominance of turf or articulated green algae. Elevated nutrients and organic matter can increase internal eroders of reef substratum and a mixture of filamentous algae. Local conservation actions that attempt to reduce fishing and terrestrial influences promote the high production of inorganic carbon that is necessary for reef growth. However, global climate change threatens to undermine such actions because of increased bleaching and mortality caused by warm-water anomalies, weakened coral skeletons caused by reduced aragonite availability in reef waters, and increased

  8. Coral Ecosystem Resilience, Conservation and Management on the Reefs of Jamaica in the Face of Anthropogenic Activities and Climate Change

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. James C. Crabbe

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Knowledge of factors that are important in reef resilience and integrity help us understand how reef ecosystems react following major anthropogenic and environmental disturbances. The North Jamaican fringing reefs have shown some recent resilience to acute disturbances from hurricanes and bleaching, in addition to the recurring chronic stressors of over-fishing and land development. Factors that can improve coral reef resilience are reviewed, and reef rugosity is shown to correlate with coral cover and growth, particularly for branching Acropora species. The biodiversity index for the Jamaican reefs was lowered after the 2005 mass bleaching event, as were the numbers of coral colonies, but both had recovered by 2009. The importance of coastal zone reef management strategies and the economic value of reefs are discussed, and a protocol is suggested for future management of Jamaican reefs.

  9. Potential effects of invasive Pterois volitans in coral reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Banamali Maji

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The invasion of predatory lionfish (Pterois volitans represents a major threat to the western Atlantic coral reef ecosystems. The proliferation of venomous, fast reproducing and aggressive P. volitans in coral reefs causes severe declines in the abundance and diversity of reef herbivores. There is also widespread cannibalism amongst P. volitans populations. A mathematical model is proposed to study the effects of predation on the biomass of herbivorous reef fishes by considering two life stages and intraguild predation of P. volitans population with harvesting of adult P. volitans. The system undergoes a supercritical Hopf bifurcation when the invasiveness of P. volitans crosses a certain critical value. It is observed that cannibalism of P. volitans induces stability in the system even with high invasiveness of adult P. volitans. The dynamic instability of the system due to higher invasiveness of P. volitans can be controlled by increasing the rate of harvesting of P. volitans. It is also proven that P. volitans goes extinct when the harvest rate is greater than some critical threshold value. These results indicate that the dynamical behaviour of the model is very sensitive to the harvesting of P. volitans, which in turn is useful in the conservation of reef herbivores.

  10. Global warming transforms coral reef assemblages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Terry P; Kerry, James T; Baird, Andrew H; Connolly, Sean R; Dietzel, Andreas; Eakin, C Mark; Heron, Scott F; Hoey, Andrew S; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Liu, Gang; McWilliam, Michael J; Pears, Rachel J; Pratchett, Morgan S; Skirving, William J; Stella, Jessica S; Torda, Gergely

    2018-04-01

    Global warming is rapidly emerging as a universal threat to ecological integrity and function, highlighting the urgent need for a better understanding of the impact of heat exposure on the resilience of ecosystems and the people who depend on them 1 . Here we show that in the aftermath of the record-breaking marine heatwave on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 2 , corals began to die immediately on reefs where the accumulated heat exposure exceeded a critical threshold of degree heating weeks, which was 3-4 °C-weeks. After eight months, an exposure of 6 °C-weeks or more drove an unprecedented, regional-scale shift in the composition of coral assemblages, reflecting markedly divergent responses to heat stress by different taxa. Fast-growing staghorn and tabular corals suffered a catastrophic die-off, transforming the three-dimensionality and ecological functioning of 29% of the 3,863 reefs comprising the world's largest coral reef system. Our study bridges the gap between the theory and practice of assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse, under the emerging framework for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems 3 , by rigorously defining both the initial and collapsed states, identifying the major driver of change, and establishing quantitative collapse thresholds. The increasing prevalence of post-bleaching mass mortality of corals represents a radical shift in the disturbance regimes of tropical reefs, both adding to and far exceeding the influence of recurrent cyclones and other local pulse events, presenting a fundamental challenge to the long-term future of these iconic ecosystems.

  11. Mangroves Enhance Reef Fish Abundance at the Caribbean Regional Scale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serafy, Joseph E; Shideler, Geoffrey S; Araújo, Rafael J; Nagelkerken, Ivan

    2015-01-01

    Several studies conducted at the scale of islands, or small sections of continental coastlines, have suggested that mangrove habitats serve to enhance fish abundances on coral reefs, mainly by providing nursery grounds for several ontogenetically-migrating species. However, evidence of such enhancement at a regional scale has not been reported, and recently, some researchers have questioned the mangrove-reef subsidy effect. In the present study, using two different regression approaches, we pursued two questions related to mangrove-reef connectivity at the Caribbean regional scale: (1) Are reef fish abundances limited by mangrove forest area?; and (2) Are mean reef fish abundances proportional to mangrove forest area after taking human population density and latitude into account? Specifically, we tested for Caribbean-wide mangrove forest area effects on the abundances of 12 reef fishes that have been previously characterized as "mangrove-dependent". Analyzed were data from an ongoing, long-term (20-year) citizen-scientist fish monitoring program; coastal human population censuses; and several wetland forest information sources. Quantile regression results supported the notion that mangrove forest area limits the abundance of eight of the 12 fishes examined. Linear mixed-effects regression results, which considered potential human (fishing and habitat degradation) and latitudinal influences, suggested that average reef fish densities of at least six of the 12 focal fishes were directly proportional to mangrove forest area. Recent work questioning the mangrove-reef fish subsidy effect likely reflects a failure to: (1) focus analyses on species that use mangroves as nurseries, (2) consider more than the mean fish abundance response to mangrove forest extent; and/or (3) quantitatively account for potentially confounding human impacts, such as fishing pressure and habitat degradation. Our study is the first to demonstrate at a large regional scale (i.e., the Wider

  12. Mangroves Enhance Reef Fish Abundance at the Caribbean Regional Scale.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joseph E Serafy

    Full Text Available Several studies conducted at the scale of islands, or small sections of continental coastlines, have suggested that mangrove habitats serve to enhance fish abundances on coral reefs, mainly by providing nursery grounds for several ontogenetically-migrating species. However, evidence of such enhancement at a regional scale has not been reported, and recently, some researchers have questioned the mangrove-reef subsidy effect. In the present study, using two different regression approaches, we pursued two questions related to mangrove-reef connectivity at the Caribbean regional scale: (1 Are reef fish abundances limited by mangrove forest area?; and (2 Are mean reef fish abundances proportional to mangrove forest area after taking human population density and latitude into account? Specifically, we tested for Caribbean-wide mangrove forest area effects on the abundances of 12 reef fishes that have been previously characterized as "mangrove-dependent". Analyzed were data from an ongoing, long-term (20-year citizen-scientist fish monitoring program; coastal human population censuses; and several wetland forest information sources. Quantile regression results supported the notion that mangrove forest area limits the abundance of eight of the 12 fishes examined. Linear mixed-effects regression results, which considered potential human (fishing and habitat degradation and latitudinal influences, suggested that average reef fish densities of at least six of the 12 focal fishes were directly proportional to mangrove forest area. Recent work questioning the mangrove-reef fish subsidy effect likely reflects a failure to: (1 focus analyses on species that use mangroves as nurseries, (2 consider more than the mean fish abundance response to mangrove forest extent; and/or (3 quantitatively account for potentially confounding human impacts, such as fishing pressure and habitat degradation. Our study is the first to demonstrate at a large regional scale (i

  13. Climate change impacts on coral reefs: synergies with local effects, possibilities for acclimation, and management implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ateweberhan, Mebrahtu; Feary, David A; Keshavmurthy, Shashank; Chen, Allen; Schleyer, Michael H; Sheppard, Charles R C

    2013-09-30

    Most reviews concerning the impact of climate change on coral reefs discuss independent effects of warming or ocean acidification. However, the interactions between these, and between these and direct local stressors are less well addressed. This review underlines that coral bleaching, acidification, and diseases are expected to interact synergistically, and will negatively influence survival, growth, reproduction, larval development, settlement, and post-settlement development of corals. Interactions with local stress factors such as pollution, sedimentation, and overfishing are further expected to compound effects of climate change. Reduced coral cover and species composition following coral bleaching events affect coral reef fish community structure, with variable outcomes depending on their habitat dependence and trophic specialisation. Ocean acidification itself impacts fish mainly indirectly through disruption of predation- and habitat-associated behavior changes. Zooxanthellate octocorals on reefs are often overlooked but are substantial occupiers of space; these also are highly susceptible to bleaching but because they tend to be more heterotrophic, climate change impacts mainly manifest in terms of changes in species composition and population structure. Non-calcifying macroalgae are expected to respond positively to ocean acidification and promote microbe-induced coral mortality via the release of dissolved compounds, thus intensifying phase-shifts from coral to macroalgal domination. Adaptation of corals to these consequences of CO2 rise through increased tolerance of corals and successful mutualistic associations between corals and zooxanthellae is likely to be insufficient to match the rate and frequency of the projected changes. Impacts are interactive and magnified, and because there is a limited capacity for corals to adapt to climate change, global targets of carbon emission reductions are insufficient for coral reefs, so lower targets should be

  14. The contribution of microbial biotechnology to mitigating coral reef degradation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Damjanovic, Katarina; Blackall, Linda L; Webster, Nicole S; van Oppen, Madeleine J H

    2017-09-01

    The decline of coral reefs due to anthropogenic disturbances is having devastating impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Here we highlight the potential and challenges of microbial manipulation strategies to enhance coral tolerance to stress and contribute to coral reef restoration and protection. © 2017 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.

  15. Invasive lionfish preying on critically endangered reef fish

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocha, Luiz A.; Rocha, Claudia R.; Baldwin, Carole C.; Weigt, Lee A.; McField, Melanie

    2015-09-01

    Caribbean coral reef ecosystems are at the forefront of a global decline and are now facing a new threat: elimination of vulnerable species by the invasive lionfish ( Pterois spp.). In addition to being threatened by habitat destruction and pollution, the critically endangered social wrasse ( Halichoeres socialis), endemic to Belize's inner barrier reef, has a combination of biological traits (small size, schooling, and hovering behavior) that makes it a target for the invasive lionfish. Based on stomach content analyses, this small fish comprises almost half of the lionfish diet at the inner barrier reef in Belize. The combination of lionfish predation, limited range, and ongoing habitat destruction makes the social wrasse the most threatened coral reef fish in the world. Other species with small range and similar traits occur elsewhere in the Caribbean and face similar risks.

  16. The northernmost coral frontier of the Maldives: The coral reefs of Ihavandippolu Atoll under long-term environmental change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tkachenko, Konstantin S

    2012-12-01

    Ihavandippolu, the northernmost atoll of the Maldives, experienced severe coral bleaching and mortality in 1998 followed by several bleaching episodes in the last decade. Coral cover in the 11 study sites surveyed in July-December of 2011 in the 3-5 m depth range varied from 1.7 to 51%. Reefs of the islands located in the center of Ihavandippolu lagoon have exhibited a very low coral recovery since 1998 and remain mostly degraded 12 years after the impact. At the same time, some reefs, especially in the inner part of the eastern ring of the atoll, demonstrate a high coral cover (>40%) with a dominance of branching Acropora that is known to be one of the coral genera that is most susceptible to thermal stress. The last severe bleaching event in 2010 resulted in high coral mortality in some sites of the atoll. Differences in coral mortality rates and proportion between "susceptible" and "resistant" taxa in study sites are apparently related to long-term adaptation and local hydrological features that can mitigate thermal impacts. Abundant herbivorous fish observed in the atoll prevent coral overgrowth by macroalgae even on degraded reefs. Despite the frequent influence of temperature anomalies and having less geomorphologic refuges for coral survivals than other larger Maldivian atolls, a major part of observed coral communities in Ihavandippolu Atoll exhibits high resilience and potential for further acclimatization to a changing environment. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    KAUST Repository

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  18. Testing animal-assisted cleaning prior to transplantation in coral reef restoration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frias-Torres, Sarah; van de Geer, Casper

    2015-01-01

    Rearing coral fragments in nurseries and subsequent transplantation onto a degraded reef is a common approach for coral reef restoration. However, if barnacles and other biofouling organisms are not removed prior to transplantation, fish will dislodge newly cemented corals when feeding on biofouling organisms. This behavior can lead to an increase in diver time due to the need to reattach the corals. Thus, cleaning nurseries to remove biofouling organisms such as algae and invertebrates is necessary prior to transplantation, and this cleaning constitutes a significant time investment in a restoration project. We tested a novel biomimicry technique of animal-assisted cleaning on nursery corals prior to transplantation at a coral reef restoration site in Seychelles, Indian Ocean. To determine whether animal-assisted cleaning was possible, preliminary visual underwater surveys were performed to quantify the fish community at the study site. Then, cleaning stations consisting of nursery ropes carrying corals and biofouling organisms, set at 0.3 m, 2 m, 4 m, 6 m and 8 m from the seabed, were placed at both the transplantation (treatment) site and the nursery (control) site. Remote GoPro video cameras recorded fish feeding at the nursery ropes without human disturbance. A reef fish assemblage of 32 species from 4 trophic levels (18.8% herbivores, 18.8% omnivores, 59.3% secondary consumers and 3.1% carnivores) consumed 95% of the barnacles on the coral nursery ropes placed 0.3 m above the seabed. Using this cleaning station, we reduced coral dislodgement from 16% to zero. This cleaning station technique could be included as a step prior to coral transplantation worldwide on the basis of location-specific fish assemblages and during the early nursery phase of sexually produced juvenile corals.

  19. Testing animal-assisted cleaning prior to transplantation in coral reef restoration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah Frias-Torres

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Rearing coral fragments in nurseries and subsequent transplantation onto a degraded reef is a common approach for coral reef restoration. However, if barnacles and other biofouling organisms are not removed prior to transplantation, fish will dislodge newly cemented corals when feeding on biofouling organisms. This behavior can lead to an increase in diver time due to the need to reattach the corals. Thus, cleaning nurseries to remove biofouling organisms such as algae and invertebrates is necessary prior to transplantation, and this cleaning constitutes a significant time investment in a restoration project. We tested a novel biomimicry technique of animal-assisted cleaning on nursery corals prior to transplantation at a coral reef restoration site in Seychelles, Indian Ocean. To determine whether animal-assisted cleaning was possible, preliminary visual underwater surveys were performed to quantify the fish community at the study site. Then, cleaning stations consisting of nursery ropes carrying corals and biofouling organisms, set at 0.3 m, 2 m, 4 m, 6 m and 8 m from the seabed, were placed at both the transplantation (treatment site and the nursery (control site. Remote GoPro video cameras recorded fish feeding at the nursery ropes without human disturbance. A reef fish assemblage of 32 species from 4 trophic levels (18.8% herbivores, 18.8% omnivores, 59.3% secondary consumers and 3.1% carnivores consumed 95% of the barnacles on the coral nursery ropes placed 0.3 m above the seabed. Using this cleaning station, we reduced coral dislodgement from 16% to zero. This cleaning station technique could be included as a step prior to coral transplantation worldwide on the basis of location-specific fish assemblages and during the early nursery phase of sexually produced juvenile corals.

  20. Testing animal-assisted cleaning prior to transplantation in coral reef restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    van de Geer, Casper

    2015-01-01

    Rearing coral fragments in nurseries and subsequent transplantation onto a degraded reef is a common approach for coral reef restoration. However, if barnacles and other biofouling organisms are not removed prior to transplantation, fish will dislodge newly cemented corals when feeding on biofouling organisms. This behavior can lead to an increase in diver time due to the need to reattach the corals. Thus, cleaning nurseries to remove biofouling organisms such as algae and invertebrates is necessary prior to transplantation, and this cleaning constitutes a significant time investment in a restoration project. We tested a novel biomimicry technique of animal-assisted cleaning on nursery corals prior to transplantation at a coral reef restoration site in Seychelles, Indian Ocean. To determine whether animal-assisted cleaning was possible, preliminary visual underwater surveys were performed to quantify the fish community at the study site. Then, cleaning stations consisting of nursery ropes carrying corals and biofouling organisms, set at 0.3 m, 2 m, 4 m, 6 m and 8 m from the seabed, were placed at both the transplantation (treatment) site and the nursery (control) site. Remote GoPro video cameras recorded fish feeding at the nursery ropes without human disturbance. A reef fish assemblage of 32 species from 4 trophic levels (18.8% herbivores, 18.8% omnivores, 59.3% secondary consumers and 3.1% carnivores) consumed 95% of the barnacles on the coral nursery ropes placed 0.3 m above the seabed. Using this cleaning station, we reduced coral dislodgement from 16% to zero. This cleaning station technique could be included as a step prior to coral transplantation worldwide on the basis of location-specific fish assemblages and during the early nursery phase of sexually produced juvenile corals. PMID:26468440

  1. Species profiles: Life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida): Reef-building corals. [Acropora cervicornis; Acropora palmata; Montastraea annularis; Montastraea cavernosa

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Porter, J.W.

    1987-08-01

    Four species of reef-building corals are considered: elkhorn coral, staghorn coral, common star coral, and large star coral. All four species spawn annually in the fall during hurricane season. Juvenile recruitment is low in all four species. Rapid growth rates of species in the genus Acropora (10 to 20 cm/yr) contrast with slower growth rates of species in the genus Montastraea (1.0 to 2.0 cm/yr), but both species of Montastraea are also important in reef development due to their form and great longevity. Shallow-water colonies of Montastraea survive hurricanes; shallow colonies of Acropora do not. Because of their dependence on photosynthesis for all of their carbon acquisition, the Acropora species reviewed here have a more restricted depth distribution (0 to 30 m) than do the Montastraea species considered (0 to 70 m). All four species are subject to intense predation by the snail predator, Coralliophila. Species of Montastraea are susceptible to infection from blue-green algae, which produce ''black band disease;'' species of Acropora are susceptible to a different, as yet unidentified pathogen, that produces ''white-band'' disease. Increased water turbidity and sedimentation cause reduced growth rates and partial or whole mortality in all four species.

  2. Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A J Graham

    Full Text Available Coral reefs have emerged as one of the ecosystems most vulnerable to climate variation and change. While the contribution of a warming climate to the loss of live coral cover has been well documented across large spatial and temporal scales, the associated effects on fish have not. Here, we respond to recent and repeated calls to assess the importance of local management in conserving coral reefs in the context of global climate change. Such information is important, as coral reef fish assemblages are the most species dense vertebrate communities on earth, contributing critical ecosystem functions and providing crucial ecosystem services to human societies in tropical countries. Our assessment of the impacts of the 1998 mass bleaching event on coral cover, reef structural complexity, and reef associated fishes spans 7 countries, 66 sites and 26 degrees of latitude in the Indian Ocean. Using Bayesian meta-analysis we show that changes in the size structure, diversity and trophic composition of the reef fish community have followed coral declines. Although the ocean scale integrity of these coral reef ecosystems has been lost, it is positive to see the effects are spatially variable at multiple scales, with impacts and vulnerability affected by geography but not management regime. Existing no-take marine protected areas still support high biomass of fish, however they had no positive affect on the ecosystem response to large-scale disturbance. This suggests a need for future conservation and management efforts to identify and protect regional refugia, which should be integrated into existing management frameworks and combined with policies to improve system-wide resilience to climate variation and change.

  3. Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Nicholas A J; McClanahan, Tim R; MacNeil, M Aaron; Wilson, Shaun K; Polunin, Nicholas V C; Jennings, Simon; Chabanet, Pascale; Clark, Susan; Spalding, Mark D; Letourneur, Yves; Bigot, Lionel; Galzin, René; Ohman, Marcus C; Garpe, Kajsa C; Edwards, Alasdair J; Sheppard, Charles R C

    2008-08-27

    Coral reefs have emerged as one of the ecosystems most vulnerable to climate variation and change. While the contribution of a warming climate to the loss of live coral cover has been well documented across large spatial and temporal scales, the associated effects on fish have not. Here, we respond to recent and repeated calls to assess the importance of local management in conserving coral reefs in the context of global climate change. Such information is important, as coral reef fish assemblages are the most species dense vertebrate communities on earth, contributing critical ecosystem functions and providing crucial ecosystem services to human societies in tropical countries. Our assessment of the impacts of the 1998 mass bleaching event on coral cover, reef structural complexity, and reef associated fishes spans 7 countries, 66 sites and 26 degrees of latitude in the Indian Ocean. Using Bayesian meta-analysis we show that changes in the size structure, diversity and trophic composition of the reef fish community have followed coral declines. Although the ocean scale integrity of these coral reef ecosystems has been lost, it is positive to see the effects are spatially variable at multiple scales, with impacts and vulnerability affected by geography but not management regime. Existing no-take marine protected areas still support high biomass of fish, however they had no positive affect on the ecosystem response to large-scale disturbance. This suggests a need for future conservation and management efforts to identify and protect regional refugia, which should be integrated into existing management frameworks and combined with policies to improve system-wide resilience to climate variation and change.

  4. Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space

    KAUST Repository

    Raitsos, Dionysios E.; Brewin, Robert J. W.; Zhan, Peng; Dreano, Denis; Pradhan, Yaswant; Nanninga, Gerrit B.; Hoteit, Ibrahim

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs rely on inter-habitat connectivity to maintain gene flow, biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Coral reef communities of the Red Sea exhibit remarkable genetic homogeneity across most of the Arabian Peninsula coastline, with a genetic break towards the southern part of the basin. While previous studies have attributed these patterns to environmental heterogeneity, we hypothesize that they may also emerge as a result of dynamic circulation flow; yet, such linkages remain undemonstrated. Here, we integrate satellite-derived biophysical observations, particle dispersion model simulations, genetic population data and ship-borne in situ profiles to assess reef connectivity in the Red Sea. We simulated long-term (>20 yrs.) connectivity patterns driven by remotely-sensed sea surface height and evaluated results against estimates of genetic distance among populations of anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, along the eastern Red Sea coastline. Predicted connectivity was remarkably consistent with genetic population data, demonstrating that circulation features (eddies, surface currents) formulate physical pathways for gene flow. The southern basin has lower physical connectivity than elsewhere, agreeing with known genetic structure of coral reef organisms. The central Red Sea provides key source regions, meriting conservation priority. Our analysis demonstrates a cost-effective tool to estimate biophysical connectivity remotely, supporting coastal management in data-limited regions.

  5. Sensing coral reef connectivity pathways from space

    KAUST Repository

    Raitsos, Dionysios E.

    2017-08-18

    Coral reefs rely on inter-habitat connectivity to maintain gene flow, biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Coral reef communities of the Red Sea exhibit remarkable genetic homogeneity across most of the Arabian Peninsula coastline, with a genetic break towards the southern part of the basin. While previous studies have attributed these patterns to environmental heterogeneity, we hypothesize that they may also emerge as a result of dynamic circulation flow; yet, such linkages remain undemonstrated. Here, we integrate satellite-derived biophysical observations, particle dispersion model simulations, genetic population data and ship-borne in situ profiles to assess reef connectivity in the Red Sea. We simulated long-term (>20 yrs.) connectivity patterns driven by remotely-sensed sea surface height and evaluated results against estimates of genetic distance among populations of anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, along the eastern Red Sea coastline. Predicted connectivity was remarkably consistent with genetic population data, demonstrating that circulation features (eddies, surface currents) formulate physical pathways for gene flow. The southern basin has lower physical connectivity than elsewhere, agreeing with known genetic structure of coral reef organisms. The central Red Sea provides key source regions, meriting conservation priority. Our analysis demonstrates a cost-effective tool to estimate biophysical connectivity remotely, supporting coastal management in data-limited regions.

  6. Coral reef degradation is not correlated with local human population density

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruno, John F.; Valdivia, Abel

    2016-07-01

    The global decline of reef-building corals is understood to be due to a combination of local and global stressors. However, many reef scientists assume that local factors predominate and that isolated reefs, far from human activities, are generally healthier and more resilient. Here we show that coral reef degradation is not correlated with human population density. This suggests that local factors such as fishing and pollution are having minimal effects or that their impacts are masked by global drivers such as ocean warming. Our results also suggest that the effects of local and global stressors are antagonistic, rather than synergistic as widely assumed. These findings indicate that local management alone cannot restore coral populations or increase the resilience of reefs to large-scale impacts. They also highlight the truly global reach of anthropogenic warming and the immediate need for drastic and sustained cuts in carbon emissions.

  7. On the occurrence of a widespread contamination by herbicides of coral reef biota in French Polynesia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salvat, Bernard; Roche, Hélène; Ramade, François

    2016-01-01

    Research has been conducted within the framework of the French Initiative for Coral Reefs (IFRECOR) to assess pesticide pollution levels in the coral reef trophic webs in French Polynesia. Unexpected widespread contamination by herbicides was found in algae, fishes and macro-invertebrates located at various levels of the reef trophic web. Concentrations in organisms investigated were for the majority below the lowest observable effect level and do not pose a dietary risk to native population who subsist on these fish. However, the widespread contamination may affect the reef ecosystem in the future as coral symbiotic algae, Symbidinium sp. (Dinophyta) are particularly sensitive to photosystem II herbicides, particularly the substituted urea and triazine derivatives.

  8. The Decline of Coral Reefs: a Political Economy Approach

    OpenAIRE

    Samuel, Asumadu-Sarkodie

    2015-01-01

    Coral reefs provide economic services like job, food and tourism. Yet, within the past decades, there has been an overwhelming decline in the vitality of coral reefs and their ecosystem. Scientist have not be able to set the record straight regarding their scientific argument on biodiversity and ecological wealth of natural environment. Therefore, actions to recover coral reefs from destruction have proved futile. This paper will analyze the economical values, economic valuation, socioeconomi...

  9. Evaluation of Stony Coral Indicators for Coral Reef ...

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colonies of reef-building stony corals at 57 stations around St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands were characterized by species, size and percentage of living tissue. Taxonomic, biological and physical indicators of coral condition were derived from these measurements and assessed for their response to gradients of human disturbance. The purpose of the study was to identify indicators that could be used for regulatory assessments under authority of the Clean Water Act--this requires that indicators distinguish anthropogenic disturbances from natural variation. Stony coral indicators were tested for correlation with human disturbance across gradients located on three different sides of the island. At the most intensely disturbed location, five of eight primary indicators were highly correlated with distance from the source of disturbance: Coral taxa richness, average colony size, the coefficient of variation of colony size (an indicator of colony size heterogeneity), total topographic coral surface area, and live coral surface area. An additional set of exploratory indicators related to rarity, reproductive and spawning mode, and taxonomic identity were also screened for association with disturbance at the same location. For the other two locations, there were no significant changes in indicator values and therefore no discernible effects of human activity. Coral indicators demonstrated sufficient precision to detect levels of change that would be applicable in a regio

  10. Reef corals bleach to resist stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obura, David O

    2009-02-01

    A rationale is presented here for a primary role of bleaching in regulation of the coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis under conditions of stress. Corals and zooxanthellae have fundamentally different metabolic rates, requiring active homeostasis to limit zooxanthellae production and manage translocated products to maintain the symbiosis. The control processes for homeostasis are compromised by environmental stress, resulting in metabolic imbalance between the symbionts. For the coral-zooxanthella symbiosis the most direct way to minimize metabolic imbalance under stress is to reduce photosynthetic production by zooxanthellae. Two mechanisms have been demonstrated that do this: reduction of the chlorophyll concentration in individual zooxanthellae and reduction of the relative biomass of zooxanthellae. Both mechanisms result in visual whitening of the coral, termed bleaching. Arguments are presented here that bleaching provides the final control to minimize physiological damage from stress as an adversity response to metabolic imbalance. As such, bleaching meets the requirements of a stress response syndrome/general adaptive mechanism that is sensitive to internal states rather than external parameters. Variation in bleaching responses among holobionts reflects genotypic and phenotypic differentiation, allowing evolutionary change by