Advertisement

Coral Reefs

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 613–622 | Cite as

Habitat preferences of a corallivorous reef fish: predation risk versus food quality

  • R. M. BrookerEmail author
  • P. L. Munday
  • I. M. Mcleod
  • G. P. Jones
Report

Abstract

Many animals preferentially select a habitat from a range of those potentially available. However, the consequences of these preferences for distribution and abundance, and the underlying basis of habitat preferences are often unknown. The present study, conducted at Great Keppel Island, Australia, examined how distribution and abundance of an obligate corallivorous filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, relates to coral architecture and diversity. The main drivers of the distribution and abundance of O. longirostris among reefs were coral species richness and availability of branching coral. Feeding territories had a higher percentage of Acropora coral than surrounding habitat. In addition, feeding territories had a higher percentage of the structurally important branching coral, Acropora nobilis, and a primary prey species, Acropora millepora. A series of pair-wise choice experiments in which both structural complexity and coral tissue quality were independently manipulated showed that habitat choice was primarily based on structural complexity and shelter characteristics. In addition, the choice for the preferred coral (A. nobilis) was stronger in the presence of a piscivorous fish. These results indicate that species-diverse coral habitats, which provide sufficient structural complexity along with nutritionally important prey, are essential for population persistence of this small, corallivorous reef fish.

Keywords

Coral reef fish Oxymonacanthus longirostris Habitat selection Acropora Corallivory Predation risk Food quality 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We wish to thank Lizard Island Research Station, Reef HQ aquarium, and members of the Jones and Munday laboratories for assistance. Financial support was provided by the Marine and Tropical Science Research Facility (MTSRF) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. The work described above corresponds to the laws and regulations of Australia under GBRMPA permit G10.33757.1 and animal ethics permit A1399.

References

  1. Almany GR (2004) Does increased habitat complexity reduce predation and competition in coral reef fish assemblages? Oikos 106:275–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson O (1984) Optimal foraging by largemouth bass in structured environments. Ecology 65:851–861CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell JD, Galzin R (1984) Influence of live coral cover on coral-reef fish communities. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 15:265–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bell JD, Westoby M (1986) Abundance of macrofauna in dense seagrass is due to habitat preference, not predation. Oecologia 68:205–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell SS, McCoy ED, Mushinsky HR (1991) Habitat structure: the physical arrangement of objects in space. Chapman & Hall, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bellwood DR, Meyer CP (2009) Searching for heat in a marine biodiversity hotspot. J Biogeogr 36:569–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berumen ML, Pratchett MS (2008) Trade-offs associated with dietary specialization in corallivorous butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae: Chaetodon). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 62:989–994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berumen ML, Pratchett MS, McCormick MI (2005) Within-reef differences in diet and body condition of coral-feeding butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 287:217–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beukers JS, Jones GP (1997) Habitat complexity modifies the impact of piscivores on a coral reef population. Oecologia 114:50–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bonin MC (2012) Specializing on vulnerable habitat: Acropora selectivity among damselfish recruits and the risk of bleaching-induced habitat loss. Coral Reefs 31:287–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bouchon-Navaro Y, Bouchon C (1989) Correlations between chaetodontid fishes and coral communities of the Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea). Environ Biol Fish 25:47–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brieman L, Friedman JH, Olshen RA, Stone CJ (1984) Classification and regression trees. Chapman & Hall, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Brooker RM, Munday PL, Ainsworth TC (2010) Diets of coral-dwelling fishes of the genus Gobiodon with evidence of corallivory. J Fish Biol 76:2578–2583PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brooker RM, Munday PL, Jones GP (2011) Coral obligate filefish masquerades as branching coral. Coral Reefs 30:803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brooker RM, Jones GP, Munday PL (2013) Prey selectivity affects reproductive success of a corallivorous filefish. Oecologia 172:409–416PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Coker DJ, Graham NAJ, Pratchett MS (2012) Interactive effects of live coral and structural complexity on the recruitment of reef fishes. Coral Reefs 31:919–927CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cole AJ, Pratchett MS (2011) Effects of juvenile coral-feeding butterflyfishes on host corals. Coral Reefs 30:623–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cole AJ, Pratchett MS, Jones GP (2008) Diversity and functional importance of coral-feeding fishes on tropical coral reefs. Fish Fish 9:286–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cowlishaw G (1997) Trade-offs between foraging and predation risk determine habitat use in a desert baboon population. Anim Behav 53:667–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Creel S, Winnie J, Maxwell B, Hamlin K, Creel M (2005) Elk alter habitat selection as an antipredator response to wolves. Ecology 86:3387–3397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Crowe TP, Underwood AJ (1998) Testing behavioural “preference” for suitable microhabitat. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 225:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. De’ath G, Fabricius KE (2000) Classification and regression trees: a powerful yet simple technique for ecological data analysis. Ecology 81:3178–3192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Downes S, Shine R (1998) Heat, safety or solitude? Using habitat selection experiments to identify a lizard’s priorities. Anim Behav 55:1387–1396PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dunn JO (1964) Multiple comparisons using rank sums. Technometrics 6:241–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Elkin CM, Baker RL (2000) Lack of preference for low-predation-risk habitats in larval damselfishes explained by costs of intraspecific interactions. Anim Behav 60:511–521PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Elliott JK, Elliott JM, Mariscal RN (1995) Host selection, location, and association behaviours of anemonefishes in field settlement experiments. Mar Biol 122:377–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Franklin AB, Anderson DR, Gutierrez RJ, Burnham KP (2000) Climate, habitat quality, and fitness in Northern Spotted Owl populations in northwestern California. Ecol Monogr 70:539–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Friedlander AM, Parish JD (1998) Habitat characteristics affecting fish assemblages on a Hawaiian coral reef. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 224:1–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fulton CJ (2007) Swimming speed performance in coral reef fishes: field validations reveal distinct functional groups. Coral Reefs 26:217–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gardiner NM, Jones GP (2005) Habitat specialisation and overlap in a guild of coral reef cardinalfishes (Apogonidae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 305:163–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gilliam JF, Fraser DF (1987) Habitat selection under predation hazard: test of a model with foraging minnows. Ecology 68:1856–1862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Graham NAJ, Nash KL (2013) The importance of structural complexity in coral reef ecosystems. Coral Reefs 32:315–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gregson MA, Pratchett MS, Berumen ML, Goodman BA (2008) Relationships between butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) feeding rates and coral consumption on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 27:583–591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Heithaus MR, Dill LM (2002) Food availability and tiger shark predation risk influence bottlenose dolphin habitat use. Ecology 83:480–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hoekstra JM, Boucher TM, Ricketts TH, Roberts C (2005) Confronting a biome crisis: global disparities of habitat loss and protection. Ecol Lett 8:23–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hourigan TF (1989) Environmental determinants of butterflyfish social systems. Environ Biol Fish 25:61–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Huey RB (1991) Physiological consequences of habitat selection. Am Nat 137:S91–S115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hughes TP, Bellwood DR, Connolly SR (2002) Biodiversity hotspots, centres of endemicity, and the conservation of coral reefs. Ecol Lett 5:775–784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jones GP, McCormick MI, Srinivasan M, Eagle JV (2004) Coral decline threatens fish biodiversity in marine reserves. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 21:8251–8253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kokita T, Nakazono A (1999) Pair territoriality in the longnose filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris. Ichthyol Res 46:297–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kokita T, Nakazono A (2001) Rapid response of an obligately corallivorous filefish Oxymonacanthus longirostris (Monacanthidae) to a mass coral bleaching event. Coral Reefs 20:155–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Korsmeyer KE, Steffensen JF, Herskin J (2002) Energetics of median and paired fin swimming, body and caudal fin swimming, and gait transition in parrotfish (Scarus schlegeli) and triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus). J Exp Biol 205:1253–1263PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Lawton RJ, Pratchett MS (2012) Influence of dietary specialization and resource availability on geographical variation in abundance of butterflyfish. Ecol Evol 2:1347–1361PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lima SL, Dill LM (1990) Behavioural decisions made under risk of predation: a review and prospectus. Can J Zool 68:619–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Martin J, Salvador A (1995) Microhabitat selection by the Iberian Rock lizard, Lacerta monticola: effects on density and spatial distribution of individuals. Biol Conserv 79:303–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McNett JB, Rypstra AL (2000) Habitat selection in a large orb-weaving spider: vegetational complexity determines site selection and distribution. Ecol Entomol 25:423–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Messmer V, Jones GP, Munday PL, Holbrook SJ, Schmitt RJ, Brooks AJ (2011) Habitat biodiversity as a determinant of fish community structure on coral reefs. Ecology 92:2285–2298PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mittelbach GG (1981) Foraging efficiency and body size: a study of optimal diet and habitat use by bluegills. Ecology 62:1370–1386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Munday PL (2004) Habitat loss, resource specialisation, and extinction on coral reefs. Global Change Biol 10:1642–1647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Munday PL, Wilson SK (1997) Comparative efficacy of clove oil and other chemicals in anaesthetization of Pomacentrus amboinensis, a coral reef fish. J Fish Biol 51:931–938Google Scholar
  51. Munday PL, Jones GP, Caley MJ (1997) Habitat specialisation and the distribution and abundance of coral-dwelling gobies. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 152:227–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nemeth RS (1998) The effect of natural variation in substrate architecture on the survival of juvenile bicolour damselfish. Environ Biol Fish 53:129–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Noonan SHC, Jones GP, Pratchett MS (2012) Coral size, health and structural complexity: effects on the ecology of a coral reef damselfish. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 456:127–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Pratchett MS, Berumen ML, Marnane MJ, Eagle JV, Pratchett DJ (2008) Habitat associations of juvenile versus adult butterflyfishes. Coral Reefs 27:541–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Reese ES (1981) Predation on corals by fishes of the family Chaetodontidae: implications for conservation and management of coral reef ecosystems. Bull Mar Sci: 594–604Google Scholar
  56. Sala OE, Chapin FS, Armesto JJ, Berlow E, Bloomfield J, Dirzo R, Huber-Sanwald E, Huenneke LF, Jackson RB, Kinzig A, Leemans R, Lodge DM, Mooney HA, Oesterheld M, Poff NL, Sykes MT, Walker BH, Walker M, Wall DH (2000) Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287:1770–1774PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Singer MC (2000) Reducing ambiguity in describing plant–insect interactions: “preference”, “acceptability” and “electivity”. Ecol Lett 3:159–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Skelhorn J, Ruxton GD (2010) Predators are less likely to misclassify masquerading prey when their models are present. Biol Lett 6:597–599PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Stella JS, Pratchett MS, Hutchings PA, Jones GP (2011) Coral-associated invertebrates: diversity, ecological importance and vulnerability to disturbance. Oceanogr Mar Biol Annu Rev 49:43–104Google Scholar
  60. Tricas TC (1989) Determinants of feeding territory size in the corallivorous butterflyfish, Chaetodon multicinctus. Anim Behav 37:830–841CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Underwood AJ, Chapman MG, Crowe TP (2004) Identifying and understanding ecological preferences for habitat or prey. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 300:161–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Werner EE, Gilliam JF, Hall DJ, Mittlebach GG (1983) An experimental test of the effects of predation risk on the habitat use in fish. Ecology 64:1540–1548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wilson SK, Graham NAJ, Polunin NVC (2007) Appraisal of visual assessments of habitat complexity and benthic composition on coral reefs. Mar Biol 151:1069–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Brooker
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • P. L. Munday
    • 1
    • 2
  • I. M. Mcleod
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. P. Jones
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations