Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 175–187

Variation in fish density, assemblage composition and relative rates of predation among mangrove, seagrass and coral reef habitats

  • Paul M. Chittaro
  • Paolo Usseglio
  • Peter F. Sale
Article

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis for several Caribbean reef fish species that there is no difference in nursery function among mangrove, seagrass and shallow reef habitat as measured by: (a) patterns of juvenile and adult density, (b) assemblage composition, and (c) relative predation rates. Results indicated that although some mangrove and seagrass sites showed characteristics of nursery habitats, this pattern was weak. While almost half of our mangrove and seagrass sites appeared to hold higher proportions of juvenile fish (all species pooled) than did reef sites, this pattern was significant in only two cases. In addition, only four of the six most abundant and commercially important species (Haemulon flavolineatum, Haemulon sciurus, Lutjanus apodus, Lutjanus mahogoni, Scarus iserti, and Sparisoma aurofrenatum) showed patterns of higher proportions of juvenile fish in mangrove and/or seagrass habitat(s) relative to coral reefs, and were limited to four of nine sites. Faunal similarity between reef and either mangrove or seagrass habitats was low, suggesting little, if any exchange between them. Finally, although relative risk of predation was lower in mangrove/seagrass than in reef habitats, variance in rates was substantial suggesting that not all mangrove/seagrass habitats function equivalently. Specifically, relative risk varied between morning and afternoon, and between sites of similar habitat, yet varied little, in some cases, between habitats (mangrove/seagrass vs. coral reefs). Consequently, our results caution against generalizations that all mangrove and seagrass habitats have nursery function.

Keywords

nursery assemblage similarity 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams, A.J., Locascio, J.V., Robbins, B.D. 2004Microhabitat use by a post-settlement stage estuarine fish: Evidence from relative abundance and predation among habitatsJ. Exp. Marine Biol. Ecol.2991733Google Scholar
  2. Alevizon, W.S., Brooks, M.G. 1975The comparative structure of two western Atlantic reef fish assemblagesBull. Marine Sci.25482490Google Scholar
  3. Beck, M.W., Heck, K.L., Able, K.W., Childers, D.L., Efleston, D.B., Gillanders, B.M., Halpern, B., Hays, C.G., Hoshino, K., Minello, T.J., Orth, R.J., Sheridan, P.F., Weinstein, M.P. 2001The identification, conservation, and management of estuarine and marine nurseries for fish and invertebratesBioScience51633641Google Scholar
  4. Blaber, S.J.M., Blaber, T.G. 1980Factors affecting the distribution of juvenile estuarine and inshore fishJ. Fish Biol.17143162Google Scholar
  5. Blaber, S.J.M., Milton, A. 1990Species composition, community structure and zoogeography of fishes of mangrove estuaries in the Solomon IslandsMarine Biol.105259267Google Scholar
  6. Bullard, S.G., Hay, M.E. 2002Plankton tethering to assess spatial patterns of predation risk over a coral reef and seagrass bedMarine Ecol. Progr. Series2251728Google Scholar
  7. Caley, M.J., Carr, M.H., Hixon, M.A., Hughes, T.P., Jones, G.P., Menge, B.A. 1996Recruitment and the local dynamics of open marine populationsAnn. Rev. Ecol. Systemat27477500Google Scholar
  8. Cocheret de la Moriniere, E., I. Nagelkerken, H. van der Meij & G. van der Velde. 2002. What attracts nursery fish to mangroves: Habitat complexity or shade? pp. 117–130. In: E. Cocheret de la Moriniere (ed.) Post-settlement Life Cycle Migrations of Reef Fish in the Mangrove-Seagrass Coral Reef Continuum. Febodruk BV, Enschede. Google Scholar
  9. Cocheret de la Moriniere, E., Pollux, B.J.A., Nagelkerken, I., Hemminga, M.A., Huiskes, A.H.L., Velde, G. 2003Ontogenetic dietary changes or coral reef fishes in the mangrove-seagrass-reef continuum: Stable isotopes and gut-content analysisMarine Ecol. Progr. Series246279289Google Scholar
  10. Costanza, R., d’Arge, R., de Groot, R., Farber, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., Limburg, K., Naeem, S., O’Neill, R., Paruelo, J., Raskin, R.G., Sutton, P., Belt, M. 1997The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capitalNature387253260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cowen, R.K., Lwiza, K.M.M., Sponaugle, S., Paris, C.B., Olson, D.B. 2000Connectivity of marine populations: Open or closedScience287857859CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Dahlgren, C.P., Eggleston, D.B. 2000Ecological processes underlying ontogenetic habitat shifts in a coral reef fishEcology8122272240Google Scholar
  13. Danilowicz, B.S., Sale, P.F. 1999Relative intensity of predation on the French grunt, Haemulon flavolineatum, during diurnal, dusk, and nocturnal periods on a coral reefMarine Biol.133337343Google Scholar
  14. Dennis, G.D. 1992. Island mangrove habitats as spawning and nursery areas for commercially important fishes in the Caribbean. Proceedings of the 41st Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute. pp. 205–225.Google Scholar
  15. Gillanders, B.M. 1997Comparison of growth rates between estuarine and coastal reef populations of Achoerodus viridis (Pisces: Labridae)Marine Ecol. Progr. Series146283287Google Scholar
  16. Ha, D.S. 1996. An investigation of timed-tethering: A method for study of coral reef piscivory. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Windsor. 80 pp. Google Scholar
  17. Halliday, I.A., Young, W.R. 1996Density, biomass and species composition of fish in a subtropical Rhizophora stylosa mangrove forestMarine Freshwater Res.47609615Google Scholar
  18. Heck, J.L., Hays, G., Orth, R.J. 2003Critical evaluation of the nursery role hypothesis for seagrass meadowsMarine Ecol. Progr. Series253123136Google Scholar
  19. Hixon, M.A., Carr, M.H. 1997Synergistic predation, density dependence, and population regulation in marine fishScience277946949Google Scholar
  20. Holbrook, S.J., Schmitt, R.J. 2003Spatial and temporal variation in morality of newly settled damselfish: Patterns, causes and co-variation with settlementOecologia135532541Google Scholar
  21. Jones, G.P., Millcich, M.J., Emsile, M.J., Lunow, C. 1999Self recruitment in a coral reef populationNature402802804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kramer, S.H. 1991Growth, mortality, and movements of juvenile California halibut Paralichthys californicus in shallow coastal and bay habitats of San Diego County, CaliforniaFishery Bull.89195207Google Scholar
  23. Krebs, C.J. 1989Ecological MethodologyHarper and RowNew York, New York654 ppGoogle Scholar
  24. Laroche, J., Baran, E., Rasoanandreasana, N.B. 1997Temporal patterns in a fish assemblage of a semiarid mangrove zone in MadagascarJ. Fish Biol.51320Google Scholar
  25. Leis, J.M., Carson-Ewart, B.M., Hay, A.C., Cato, D.H. 2003Coral-reef sounds enable nocturnal navigation by some reef-fish larvae in some places and at some timesJ. Fish Biol.63724737Google Scholar
  26. McIlwain, J.L. 1997. Hydrodynamic flows and the flux of larval fishes across the crest of Ningaloo reef, western Australia. Proceedings of the 8th International Coral Reef Symposium 2: 1133–1138. Google Scholar
  27. Morton, R.M. 1990Community structure, density and standing crop of fishes in a subtropical Australian mangrove areaMarine Biol.105385394Google Scholar
  28. Mullin, S.J. 1995Estuarine fish populations among red mangrove prop roots of small overwash islandsWetlands15324329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Munro, J.L. & D. Mc B. Williams. 1985. Assessment and management of coral reef fisheries: Biological, environmental and socio-economic aspects. Proceedings of the 5th International Coral Reef Congress 4: 545–581. Google Scholar
  30. Nagelkerken, I., Dorenbosch, M., Verberk, W.C.E.P., Moriniere, E. Cocheret de la, Velde, G. van der 2000aImportance of shallow-water biotopes of a Caribbean bay for juvenile coral reef fishes: Patterns in biotope association, community structure and spatial distributionMarine Ecol. Progr. Series202175192Google Scholar
  31. Nagelkerken, I., Velde, G., Gorissen, M.W., Meijer, G.J., van’t Hof, T., den Hartog, C. 2000bImportance of mangroves, seagrass beds and the shallow coral reef as a nursery for important coral reef fishes, using a visual census techniqueEstuarine Coastal Shelf Sci.513144Google Scholar
  32. Nagelkerken, I., Velde, G. 2002Do non-estuarine mangroves harbor higher densities of juvenile fish than adjacent shallow-water and coral reef habitats in Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)Marine Ecol. Progr. Series245191204Google Scholar
  33. Odum, W.E., Heald, E.J. 1972Tropical analyses of an estuarine mangrove communityBull. Marine Sci.22671768Google Scholar
  34. Parrish, J.D. 1989Fish communities of interacting shallow-water habitats in tropical oceanic regionsMarine Ecol. Progr. Series58143160Google Scholar
  35. Quinn, N.J. & B.J. Kojis. 1985. Does the presence of coral reefs in proximity to a tropical estuary affect the estuarine fish assemblage? Proceedings of the 5th International Coral Reef Congress 5: 445–450. Google Scholar
  36. Roberts, C.M. 1997Connectivity and management of Caribbean coral reefsScience27814541457CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Robertson, A.I., Duke, N.C. 1987Mangroves as nursery sites: Comparisons of the abundance and species composition of fish and crustaceans in mangroves and other nearshore habitats in tropical AustraliaMarine Biol.96193205Google Scholar
  38. Robertson, A.I., Duke, N.C. 1990Recruitment, growth and residence time of fishes in a tropical Australian mangrove systemEstuarine Coastal Shelf Sci.31723743Google Scholar
  39. Robertson, D.R., Green, D.G., Victor, B.C. 1988Temporal coupling of production and recruitment of larvae of a Caribbean reef fishEcology69370381Google Scholar
  40. Shapiro, D.Y., R.S. Appeldoorn, D.A. Hensley & M. Ray. 1997. Water flow and spawning time in a coral reef fish. Proceedings of the 8th International Coral Reef Symposium 2: 1121–1126. Google Scholar
  41. Shulman, M.J. 1985Recruitment of coral reef fishes: Effects of distribution of predators and shelterEcology6610561066Google Scholar
  42. StatSoft, Inc. 2001. STATISTICA (data analysis software system), version 6.Google Scholar
  43. Steele, M.A. 1998The relative importance of predation and competition in two reef fishesOecologia115222232Google Scholar
  44. Stunz, G.W., Minello, T.J., Levin, P.S. 2002Growth of newly settled red drum Sciaenops ocellatus in different estuarine habitat typesMarine Ecol. Progr. Series238227236Google Scholar
  45. Swearer, S.E., Caselle, J.E., Lea, D.W., Warner, R.R. 1999Larval retention and recruitment in an island population of a coral-reef fishNature402799802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Thayer, G.W., Colby, D.R., Jr, W.F. Hettler 1987Utilization of the red mangrove prop root habitat by fishes in south FloridaMarine Ecol. Progr. Series352538Google Scholar
  47. Thollot, P. 1992. Importance of mangroves for Pacific reef fish species, myth or reality? Proceedings of the 7th International Coral Reef Symposium 2: 934–941. Google Scholar
  48. Tolimieri, N. 1998The relationship among microhabitat characteristics, recruitment and adult abundance in the stoplight parrotfish, Sparisoma viride, at three spatial scalesBull. Marine Sci.62253268Google Scholar
  49. Victor, B. 1986Larval settlement and juvenile mortality in a recruitment-limited coral reef fish populationEcol. Monogr.53145160Google Scholar
  50. Vidy, G. 2000Estuarine and mangrove systems and the nursery concept: Which is which? The case of the Sine Saloum system (Senegal).Wetlands Ecol. Manage.83751Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul M. Chittaro
    • 1
  • Paolo Usseglio
    • 1
  • Peter F. Sale
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

Personalised recommendations