Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 11, pp 2437–2447 | Cite as

Predator biomass, prey density, and species composition effects on group size in recruit coral reef fishes

  • Edward E. DeMartini
  • Todd W. Anderson
  • Alan M. Friedlander
  • James P. Beets
Original Paper


Group incidence and size are described for recruit parrotfishes, wrasses, and damselfishes on Hawaiian reefs over 3 years (2006–2008) at sites spanning the archipelago (20–28°N, 155–177°W). Coral-poor and coral-rich areas were surveyed at sites with both low (Hawaii Island) and high (Midway Atoll) predator densities, facilitating examination of relations among predator and recruit densities, habitat, and group metrics. Predator and recruit densities varied spatially and temporally, with a sixfold range in total recruit densities among years. Group (≥2 recruits) metrics varied with time and tracked predator and recruit densities and the proportion of schooling species. Groups often included heterospecifics whose proportion increased with group size. A non-saturating relationship between group size and recruit density suggests that the anti-predator benefits of aggregation exceeded competitive costs. Grouping behavior may have overarching importance for recruit survival–even at high recruit densities–and merits further study on Hawaiian reefs and elsewhere.


Group Size Reef Fish Back Reef Group Incidence Rugose Coral 
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.



Financial support of EED during 2006–2010 was provided by the NOAA Fisheries, Office of Habitat Conservation, Coral Reef Conservation Program. Funds for TWA in 2007 and 2008 were provided by a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant. R. Larson and B. Zgliczynski assisted with field surveys in 2008. We also gratefully acknowledge the logistical support provided by Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures, Waikoloa, Hawaii, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. The NOAA National Ocean Service, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument Office, issued permits to conduct studies at Midway Atoll during 2006–2008. We thank R. Humphreys, D. Kobayashi, and three anonymous reviewers for constructive criticisms that improved drafts of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

227_2011_1745_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1240 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward E. DeMartini
    • 1
  • Todd W. Anderson
    • 2
  • Alan M. Friedlander
    • 3
  • James P. Beets
    • 4
  1. 1.NOAA FisheriesPacific Islands Fisheries Science CenterAieaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Coastal and Marine InstituteSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.U. S. Geological Survey, Hawaii Cooperative Fishery Research Unit and Department of ZoologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.Department of Marine ScienceUniversity of Hawaii at HiloHiloUSA

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