Coral Reefs

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 291–305 | Cite as

Effects of habitat, wave exposure, and marine protected area status on coral reef fish assemblages in the Hawaiian archipelago

  • A. M. FriedlanderEmail author
  • E. K. Brown
  • P. L. Jokiel
  • W. R. Smith
  • K. S. Rodgers


The relationships between fish assemblages, their associated habitat, and degree of protection from fishing were evaluated over a broad spatial scale throughout the main Hawaiian islands. Most fish assemblage characteristics showed positive responses to protection whether it was physical (e.g. habitat complexity), biological (e.g. coral cover growth forms), or human-induced (e.g. marine reserves). Fish biomass was lowest in areas of direct wave exposure and highest in areas partially sheltered from swells. Higher values for fish species richness, number of individuals, biomass, and diversity were observed in locations with higher substrate complexity. Areas completely protected from fishing had distinct fish assemblages with higher standing stock and diversity than areas where fishing was permitted or areas that were partially protected from fishing. Locations influenced by customary stewardship harbored fish biomass that was equal to or greater than that of no-take protected areas. Marine protected areas in the main Hawaiian islands with high habitat complexity, moderate wave disturbance, a high percentage of branching and/or lobate coral coupled with legal protection from fishing pressure had higher values for most fish assemblage characteristics.


Reef fish assemblages Marine protected areas Essential fish habitat Hawaiian archipelago Community-based management 



This work was supported with funds from the Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative (NOAA/NOS) and the US Geological Survey to the Hawaii Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program. The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and the Oceanic Institute provided additional support for this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Friedlander
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • E. K. Brown
    • 3
  • P. L. Jokiel
    • 3
  • W. R. Smith
    • 3
  • K. S. Rodgers
    • 3
  1. 1.NOAA/NOS/National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science–Biogeography ProgramWaimanaloUSA
  2. 2.Oceanic InstituteWaimanaloUSA
  3. 3.Hawaii Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring ProgramHawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii at ManoaKaneoheUSA

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