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Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 98, Issue 2, pp 705–711 | Cite as

Mass-settlement of the Indian ocean black-tip grouper Epinephelus oceanicus (Lacepède, 1802) in a shallow volcanic habitat following a tropical storm

  • Mathieu Pinault
  • Jean-Pascal Quod
  • René Galzin
Article

Abstract

The active selection of recent volcanic habitats by juvenile fish following a cyclone could explain the unusual mass-settlement of the Indian Ocean blacktip grouper Epinephelus oceanicus observed on 25 May 2006, few weeks after tropical storm Diwa on the latest lava flows of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano at Reunion Island. Following a cyclonic depression, shallow underwater habitats are devoid of resident fishes, including predators, favouring juvenile fish survival. Otherwise, the recent origin of the volcanic habitats, which vary in age, could facilitate the spatial segregation of adult and juvenile fish on the lava flows, reducing intraspecific competition and adult aggression toward juveniles. Regional characteristics of larval recruitment could also contribute to the infrequency of the described event; the isolated situation of the island would be expected to result in an average density of fish post-larvae 0.25 % to 1 % of that seen on some reefs in the Pacific. The supposed origin of juvenile groupers in the neighbouring island of Mauritius should encourage Reunionese managers to look beyond their own jurisdictions to adopt a collaborative approach to conservation of the entire connected network.

Keywords

Cyclone Volcanic habitat Post-larval recruitment Spatial segregation Habitat selection Connectivity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful for the helpful critique by anonymous referees who read an earlier draft of this study. This research was conducted with the approval of the Grice (Interprofessional Working Group on Ethics Committees for animal experimentation/Groupe de Réflexion Interprofessionnel sur les Comités d'Ethique appliquée à l’expérimentation animale).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathieu Pinault
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean-Pascal Quod
    • 3
  • René Galzin
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, CRIOBE & CBETMUniversity of PerpignanPerpignanFrance
  2. 2.Laboratory of Marine Ecology (ECOMAR)University of Reunion IslandSaint-Denis Reunion IslandFrance
  3. 3.Agency for Marine Research and Exploitation (ARVAM)Sainte-Clotilde Reunion IslandFrance
  4. 4.Laboratory of Excellence ‘CORAIL’MooreaFrench Polynesia

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