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Habitat distribution and species diversity of chaetodontid and pomacentrid fishes near Bimini, Bahamas

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Abstract

The relative abundance of chaetodontid and pomacentrid fishes in 8 habitats, ranging in depth from 0.5 to 17 m, was determined by visual counting of free-swimming fish in the field. Habitat widths and overlaps were determined using weighting factors, developed by Colwell and Futuyma (1971), which account for the different degree of uniqueness of each habitat. The average habitat widths and the average habitat overlaps were greater for the chaetodontids than the pomacentrids. This was due, in part, to the greater use of habitat structure by the pomacentrids, and it is hypothesized that this is because they are the more vulnerable to predation. The juveniles and adults reached peak abundance in different habitats for at least some of the species, and this may further reduce the habitat-overlap values for adults of some pairs of species. It is clear, however, that the ability of the species in these families to coexist is largely due to factors operating within habitats rather than to a large degree of habitat specialization.

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Communicated by M.R. Tripp, Newark

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Clarke, R.D. Habitat distribution and species diversity of chaetodontid and pomacentrid fishes near Bimini, Bahamas. Marine Biology 40, 277–289 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00390882

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Keywords

  • Relative Abundance
  • Species Diversity
  • Weighting Factor
  • Large Degree
  • Habitat Structure