Spatial, temporal and habitat-related variation in the abundance of large predatory fish at One Tree Reef, Australia
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Patterns of abundance of large piscivorous fish (>200 mm TL) were documented at two spatial and four temporal scales within the main lagoon of One Tree Reef on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Grouper (Serranidae), snapper (Lutjanidae) and wrasses (Labridae) were the most abundant large piscivores. On a large scale (hundreds of metres), patterns of predator abundance were consistently greater on the inner edge than centre of the lagoon over a range of temporal scales: days, weeks, months and years. On a small spatial scale (tens of metres), the abundance of large predatory fish was patchy. At both spatial scales, fish were consistently aggregated in particular areas and associated with specific structural features of the reef habitat. Predator abundance was high where live corals were predominant and the topography was more complex. Hence, predation pressure and its potential effects on the distribution and abundance of prey populations, both in time and space, may vary greatly within lagoonal environments.
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