Marine Biology

, Volume 157, Issue 7, pp 1499–1511 | Cite as

Differential movement patterns and site fidelity among trophic groups of reef fishes in a Hawaiian marine protected area

  • Carl G. Meyer
  • Yannis P. Papastamatiou
  • Timothy B. Clark
Original Paper


We tracked the long-term movements of 70 parrotfishes, surgeonfishes and goatfishes captured inside a small (1.3 km2) marine protected area (MPA: Kealakekua Bay Marine Life Conservation District, Hawaii) by implanting them with small transmitters and deploying underwater monitoring devices inside the bay and along 100 km of the adjacent west Hawaii coastline. Individual fish were detected inside Kealakekua Bay for up to 612 days but many were detected for much shorter periods (median = 52 days). There were species-specific differences in the scale of movements and habitats used, but most fish utilized between 0.2 and 1.6 km of coastline, and individuals of each species showed some degree of diel habitat shift. A wide variety of reef fishes captured inside the MPA swam back and forth across an MPA boundary intersecting continuous reef (i.e., this boundary was porous to reef fish movements), but only 1 of 11 species tagged crossed a wide sandy channel inside Kealakekua Bay suggesting that this feature may function as a natural barrier to movements. Results indicate relatively small MPAs (<2 km of coastline) could provide effective, long-term protection for multi-species assemblages of reef fishes provided that boundaries are situated along major habitat breaks (e.g., large sand channels between reefs) that may serve as natural barriers to reef fish movements. It is crucial that a multi-species approach be used when assessing MPA effectiveness.


Home Range Reef Fish Trophic Group Coral Reef Fish Acoustic Monitoring 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This paper is funded in part by a grant from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Project #R/EL-45, which is sponsored by the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, SOEST, under Institutional Grant No. NA05OAR4171048 from NOAA Office of Sea Grant, Department of Commerce. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its subagencies. UNIHI-SEAGRANT-JC-07-20. Additional funding was provided by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (NOAA Coral Grant NA05NMF4631041). This work was carried out in accordance with the animal use protocols of the University of Hawaii (protocol #05-054).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl G. Meyer
    • 1
  • Yannis P. Papastamatiou
    • 1
  • Timothy B. Clark
    • 2
  1. 1.Hawaii Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaCoconut Island, KaneoheUSA
  2. 2.Department of Zoology, Edmonson HallUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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