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Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 1–6 | Cite as

A deep nursery for juveniles of the zebra angelfish Genicanthus caudovittatus

  • Eran BrokovichEmail author
  • Shai Einbinder
  • Salit Kark
  • Nadav Shashar
  • Moshe Kiflawi
Brief Communication

Abstract

Juveniles of many coral reef fish species are thought to either follow the same bathymetric distribution patterns as the adults, or to occupy shallower waters. However, our knowledge base suffers a dearth of data from the deep reefs (>40 m). In a recent survey of the deep reefs of the northern Gulf of Aqaba (<65 m), we examined the bathymetric distribution of 26 diurnal zooplanktivorous species. In sharp contrast to the general trend known from the literature and from this research, the abundance of juvenile zebra angelfish, Genicanthus caudovittatus, peaked at deeper waters (60–65 m) compared with the adults (30 m). This suggests that the deeper reefs may serve as nursery grounds for the zebra angelfish. Peak juvenile abundance coincided with relatively low predator abundances. This raises the question, which factors constrain the bathymetric distribution of the remaining species. Our findings stress the potential importance of deep coral reef research for understanding the ecological patterns and processes that govern reef community structure.

Keywords

Bathymetric distribution Deep coral reef Fish distribution Habitat partitioning Technical diving 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was enabled thanks to the support of a Rufford Small Grant for Nature Conservation to EB. This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 740/04 to SK and No. 550/03 to NS). We thank Oded Ben-Shaprut for his deep diving instruction and research assistance. We wish to thank three anonymous reviewers for their insightful remarks.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eran Brokovich
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shai Einbinder
    • 1
    • 3
  • Salit Kark
    • 2
  • Nadav Shashar
    • 1
    • 4
  • Moshe Kiflawi
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.The Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences of EilatEilatIsrael
  2. 2.The Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Institute of Life SciencesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Institute of Life SciencesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  4. 4.Departement of Life SciencesBen Gurion UniversityBeer-ShevaIsrael

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