Conventional tagging and acoustic telemetry of a small surgeonfish, Zebrasoma flavescens, in a structurally complex coral reef environment
Passive acoustic telemetry and conventional tag/re-sight techniques were used to study daily movement patterns of adult yellow tang, Zebrasoma flavescens, over a period of months. Range testing and visual observations revealed the limitations of using small acoustic transmitters to monitor movements of small coral reef fish in a topographically complex and noisy coral reef environment. Visual observations of conventionally tagged and albino fish suggest individuals return each day to forage over the same few hundred m2 of shallow, turf algae dominated boulder and reef flat habitat for periods of at least weeks to months. Acoustic telemetry data suggest lower frequency of repeated use of daytime foraging, nighttime refuge and sunset spawning sites. However, integration of observation and acoustic telemetry data revealed that many fish were not detected while they were within the empirically tested range of the receivers. These observations indicate that data from passive acoustic telemetry can underestimate the frequency and duration of repeated use of specific areas. Yellow tang adults made daily crepuscular migrations of up to 600 m between foraging and spawning or sheltering sites at consistent times relative to sunset and sunrise. While there was high individual variability in migration distance, almost all individuals moved in the same direction (from south to north) at sunset. This study provided valuable information for evaluating ongoing fishery management efforts using marine protected areas in Hawaii.
KeywordsAcanthuridae Aquarium fishery Fish movements Home range Site fidelity Yellow tang
This research was supported in part through a grant from Hawaii’s Fisheries Local Action Strategy through Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources Coral Management funding. This research was also funded in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Science, under awards #NA03NOS4260044, #NA04NOS4260172 and #NA160A2412 to the University of Hawaii for the Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative and in part by a grant/cooperative agreement from NOAA, Project # R/FM-20, sponsored by the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, SOEST, under Institutional Grant No. NA05OAR4171048 from NOAA Office of Sea Grant, Department of Commerce. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its subagencies. UNIHI-SEAGRANT- JC-06-40. Major equipment and logistical support were provided by the Hawaii Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Hawaii. This research also received both financial and logistical support from the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources and generous logistical support from the U.S. National Park Service Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication is for the convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the U.S. Government of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. An NSF Graduate Research Fellowship provided support for J.T.C. D. Allen, S. Beavers, C. Birkeland, K. Boyle, B. Carmen, K. Howard, A. Meyer, C. Meyer, D. Ortiz, C. Smith, A. Taylor, W. Walsh and I. Williams provided field, logistical and/or scientific support throughout the study. We would finally like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their efforts to improve this manuscript.
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