, Volume 498, Issue 1, pp 191–211

Coral and fish distribution patterns in Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania: fish–habitat interactions

  • Kajsa C. Garpe
  • Marcus C. Öhman

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026217201408

Cite this article as:
Garpe, K.C. & Öhman, M.C. Hydrobiologia (2003) 498: 191. doi:10.1023/A:1026217201408


We examined coral reef communities at 11 sites within Mafia Island Marine Park using a point count method for substrate and visually censused belt transects for fish populations. Multivariate ordinations showed that the benthic habitat differed among reefs. The patterns were mainly attributed to variations in depth, hydrodynamics and benthic composition. In total, the substratum was dominated by dead coral (49%) and algae (25%), with a live coral cover of only 14%. Three hundred and ninety-four fish species belonging to 56 families were recorded. According to MDS-ordinations and RELATE procedures, fish assemblage composition varied among sites in concordance with the habitats provided. Sites with highest proportion of dead coral exhibited highest degree of dispersion in the multivariate ordinations of fish assemblages. Stepwise multiple regression was used to determine the proportion of variance among sites which could be explained by depth, exposure, rugosity, substrate diversity, branching substrate, live coral cover, dead coral cover and different types of algae. The results showed that habitat variables explained up to 92% of the variation in species numbers and in total, and taxon-specific, abundance. Live coral cover was the foremost predictor of both numerical and species abundance, as well as of corallivores, invertivores, planktivores and of the families Pomacentridae, Chaetodontidae and Pomacanthidae. Our results suggest that habitat characteristics play a dominant role in determining fish assemblage composition on coral reefs.

biodiversity coral bleaching coral reef disturbance Indian Ocean structural complexity 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kajsa C. Garpe
    • 1
  • Marcus C. Öhman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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