Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 15–25

Habitat correlates of the distribution and biomass of Seychelles' reef fishes

  • Simon Jennings
  • David P. Boullé
  • Nicholas V. C. Polunin
Article

Synopsis

Relationships between quantitative measures of habitat type and the biomass of Chaetodon, Scarus and Parupeneus species were investigated across 35 reef sites in the Inner Seychelles Group. Multiple regression was used to determine the proportion of variance in biomass between sites which could be explained by depth, exposure, vertical relief, topographic complexity, live coral cover, coral rubble cover, rock cover, sand cover, underlying carbonate substrate, underlying sand substrate, underlying rock substrate and an index of fishing intensity. A significant proportion of the variance in biomass was explained by habitat variables and the index of fishing intensity for 7 of 12 Chaetodon species (23–52% of variance explained), 3 of 6 Parupeneus species (33–40%), and 10 of 13 Scarus species (14–46%). Within genera, different groups of habitat variables explained the variance in biomass for different species and, of the variables studied, only the proportion of underlying sand substrate failed to explain a significant proportion of the variance in biomass for any species. Quantitative relationships between the biomass of Chaetodon and habitat were often in accordance with those suggested by previous studies of their ecology, life-history and distribution at other Indo-Pacific locations. However, the habitat associations of the Parupeneus and some Scarus species have not been studied at other locations and clearly warrant further investigation. It was concluded that habitat was an important determinant of the distribution of many Seychelles reef fishes, but that the habitat variables examined were rarely the most important determinant of biomass. However, the inclusion of a procedure to collect habitat data provided a useful means by which to reduce the unexplained variance associated with visual census biomass estimates and therefore improves the possibility of elucidating the effects of other factors on the biomass of Seychelles reef fishes.

Key words

Chaetodon Parupeneus Scarus Coral reef Rocky reef Substrate Fishing effects 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Bell, J.D. & R. Galzin. 1984. Influence of live coral cover on coral-reef fish communities. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 15: 265–274.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, J.D., M. Harmelin-Vivien & R. Galzin. 1985a. Large scale variation in abundance of butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae) on Polynesian reefs. Proc. Int. Coral Reef Symp. 5 (5): 421–426.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, J.D., G.J.S. Craik, D.A. Pollard & B.C. Russell. 1985b. Estimating length frequency distributions of large reef fish underwater. Coral Reefs 4: 41–44.Google Scholar
  4. Bellwood, D.R. 1995. Carbonate transport and within-reef patterns of bioerosion and sediment release by parrotfishes (family Scaridae) on the Great Barrier Reef. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 117: 127–136.Google Scholar
  5. Blaber, S.J.M., J.W. Young & M.C. Dunning. 1985. Community structure and zoogeographic affinities of the coastal fishes of the Dampier region of North-western Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Fresh. Res. 36: 247–266.Google Scholar
  6. Bouchon-Navaro, Y. & C. Bouchon. 1989. Correlations between chaetodontid fishes and coral communities of the Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea). Env. Biol. Fish. 25: 47–60.Google Scholar
  7. Bouchon-Navaro, Y., C. Bouchon & M. Harmelin-Vivien. 1985. Impact of coral degradation on a chaetodontid fish assemblage (Moorea, French Polynesia). Proc. Int. Coral Reef Symp. 5 (5): 427–432.Google Scholar
  8. Carpenter, K.E., R.I. Miclat, V.D. Albaladego & V.T. Corpuz. 1981. The influence of substrate structure on the local abundance and diversity of Philippine reef fishes. Proc. Int. Coral Reef Symp. 4 (2): 497–502.Google Scholar
  9. Choat, J.H. & J.E. Randall. 1986. A review of the parrotfishes (family Scaridae) of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia with description of a new species. Rec. Aust. Mus. 38: 175–228.Google Scholar
  10. Cox, E.F. 1994. Resource use by corallivorous butterflyfishes (family Chaetodontidae) in Hawaii. Bull. Mar. Sci. 54: 535–545.Google Scholar
  11. De Boer, B.A. 1978. Factors influencing the distribution of the damselfish Chromis cyanea (Poey), Pomacentridae, on a reef at Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. Bull. Mar. Sci. 28: 550–565.Google Scholar
  12. Driscoll, J.W. & J.L. Driscoll. 1988. Pair behaviour and pair spacing in butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae). Env. Biol. Fish. 22: 29–37.Google Scholar
  13. Findley, J.S. & M.T. Findley. 1985. A search for pattern in butterflyfish communities. Amer. Nat. 126: 800–816.Google Scholar
  14. Fowler, A.J. 1990. Spatial and temporal patterns of distribution and abundance of chaetodontid fishes at One Tree Reef, southern GBR. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 64: 39–53.Google Scholar
  15. Galzin, R. 1987. Structure of fish communities of French Polynesian coral reefs. I. Spatial scales. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 41: 129–136.Google Scholar
  16. Grigg, R.W. 1994. Effects of sewage discharge, fishing pressure and habitat complexity on coral ecosystems and reef fishes in Hawaii. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 103: 25–34.Google Scholar
  17. Hobson, E.S. & J.R. Chess. 1978. Trophic relationships among fishes and plankton in the lagoon at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands. U.S. Fish. Bull. 76: 133–153.Google Scholar
  18. Holland, K.N., J.D. Peterson, C.G. Lowe & B.M. Wetherbee. 1993. Movements, distribution and growth rates of the white goatfish Mulloides flavolineatus in a fisheries conservation zone. Bull. Mar. Sci. 52: 982–992.Google Scholar
  19. Hourigan, T.F., T.C. Tricas & E.S. Reese. 1988. Coral reef fishes as indicators of environmental stress in coral reefs. pp. 107–136. In: D.F. Soule & G.S. Keppel (ed.) Marine Organisms as Indicators, Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Jennings, S. & J.M. Lock. 1996. Population and ecosystem effects of fishing. In: N.V.C. Polunin & C.M. Roberts (ed.) Tropical Reef Fisheries, Chapman and Hall, London (in press).Google Scholar
  21. Jennings, S. & N.V.C. Polunin. 1995. Biased underwater visual census biomass estimates for target-species in tropical reef fisheries. J. Fish Biol. (in press).Google Scholar
  22. Jennings, S. & N.V.C. Polunin. 1996. The impacts of fishing on tropical reef ecosystems. Ambio (in press).Google Scholar
  23. Jennings, S., A.S. Brierley & J.W. Walker. 1994. The inshore fish assemblages of the Galapagos archipelago. Biol. Cons. 70: 49–57.Google Scholar
  24. Jennings, S., E.M. Grandcourt & N.V.C. Polunin. 1995. Effects of fishing on the diversity, biomass and trophic structure of Seychelles' reef fish communities. Coral Reefs (in press).Google Scholar
  25. Kaufman, L.S. & J.P. Ebersole. 1984. Microtopography and the organisation of two assemblages of coral reef fishes in the West Indies. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 78: 253–268.Google Scholar
  26. Kulbicki, M. 1988. Patterns in the trophic structure of fish populations across the SW lagoon of New Caledonia. Proc. Int. Coral Reef Symp. 6 (2): 89–94.Google Scholar
  27. Kulbicki, M., G. Mou Tham, P. Thollot & L. Wantiez. 1993. Length-weight relationships of fish from the lagoon of New Caledonia. Naga 2 + 3: 26–30.Google Scholar
  28. Luckhurst, B.E. & K. Luckhurst. 1978. Analysis of the influence of substrate variables on coral reef fish communities. Mar. Biol. 49: 317–323.Google Scholar
  29. Ogden, J.C. & N.S. Buckman. 1973. Movements, foraging groups and diurnal migrations of the striped parrotfish Scarus croicensis Bloch (Scaridae). Ecology 54: 587–596.Google Scholar
  30. Patton, M.L., R.S. Grove & R.F. Harman. 1985. What do natural reefs tell us about designing artificial reefs in southern California. Bull. Mar. Sci. 37: 279–298.Google Scholar
  31. Polunin, N.V.C. 1984. Marine fishes of the Seychelles. pp. 171–191. In: D.R. Stoddart (ed.) Biogeography and Ecology of the Seychelles Islands, Dr W. Junk, Publishers, The Hague.Google Scholar
  32. Polunin, N.V.C. & C.M. Roberts 1993. Greater biomass and value of target coral-reef fishes in two small Caribbean marine reserves. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 100: 67–76.Google Scholar
  33. Randall, J.E. & J. van Egmond. 1994. Marine fishes from the Seychelles: 108 new records. Zool. Verh., Leiden 297: 43–83.Google Scholar
  34. Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen & R.C. Steene. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press, Bathurst. 507 pp.Google Scholar
  35. Risk, M.J. 1972. Fish diversity on a coral reef in the Virgin Islands. Atoll Res. Bull. 153: 1–6.Google Scholar
  36. Roberts, C.M. & R.F.G. Ormond. 1987. Habitat complexity and coral reef fish diversity and abundance on Red Sea fringing reefs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 41: 1–8.Google Scholar
  37. Russ, G.R. 1984a. Distribution and abundance of herbivorous grazing fishes in the central Great Barrier Reef: 1. Level of variability across the entire continental shelf. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 20: 23–34.Google Scholar
  38. Russ, G.R. 1984b. Distribution and abundance of herbivorous grazing fishes in the central Great Barrier Reef: II. Patterns of zonation of mid-shelf and outershelf reefs. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 20: 35–44.Google Scholar
  39. Russ, G.R. 1991. Coral reef fisheries: effects and yields. pp. 601–635. In: P.F. Sale (ed.) The Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs, Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  40. Sale, P.F. 1991. Reef fish communities: open nonequilibrial systems, pp. 564–598. In: P.F. Sale The Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs, Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  41. Samoilys, M. & G.M. Carlos. 1992. Development of an underwater visual census method for assessing shallow water reef fish stocks in the south-west Pacific. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Cairns. 100 pp.Google Scholar
  42. Sano, M., M. Shimizu & Y. Nose. 1987. Long-term effects of destruction of hermatypic corals by Acanthaster planci infestation on reef fish communities at Iriomote Island, Japan. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 37: 191–199.Google Scholar
  43. Sutton, M. 1985. Patterns of spacing in a coral reef fish in two habitats on the Great Barrier Reef. Anim. Behav. 33: 1332–1337.Google Scholar
  44. Talbot, F.H. 1965. A description of the coral structure of Tutia Reef (Tanganyika Territory, East Africa) and its fish fauna. J. Zool. 145: 431–470.Google Scholar
  45. Thresher, R.E. 1983. Environmental correlates of the distribution of planktivorous fishes in the One Tree Reef lagoon. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 10: 137–145.Google Scholar
  46. Tricas, T.C. 1989. Determinants of feeding territory size in the corallivorous butterflyfish, Chaetodon multicinctus. Anim. Behav. 37: 830–840.Google Scholar
  47. Watson, R.A., G.M. Carlos & M.A. Samoilys. 1995. Bias introduced by the non-random movement of fish in visual transect surveys. Ecol. Model. 77: 205–214.Google Scholar
  48. Williams, D.McB. 1982. Patterns in the distribution of fish communities across the central Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 1: 35–43.Google Scholar
  49. Williams, D.McB. 1991. Patterns and processes in the distribution of coral reef fishes. pp. 437–474. In: P.F. Sale. (ed.) The Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs, Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Jennings
    • 1
  • David P. Boullé
    • 2
  • Nicholas V. C. Polunin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine Sciences and Coastal ManagementThe UniversityNewcastle-upon-TyneUK
  2. 2.Seychelles Fishing AuthorityMahéSeychelles

Personalised recommendations