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


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.


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



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).


  1. Bollard S, Pinault M, Quod JP, Boissin E, Hemery L, Conand C (2013) Biodiversity of echinoderms on underwater lava flows with different ages, from the piton de La Fournaise (reunion island, Indian ocean). Cah Biol Mar 54:491–497Google Scholar
  2. Bortone SA, Kimmel JJ, Bundrick CM (1989) A comparison of three methods for visually assessing reef fish communities: time and area compensated. North Gulf Sci 10:85–96Google Scholar
  3. Caswell H, Cohen JE (1991) Communities in patchy environments: a model of disturbance, competition, and heterogeneity. In: Kolasa J, Pickett ST (eds) Ecological Heterogeneity, New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, p 97–122Google Scholar
  4. Chabanet P, Moyne-Picard M, Pothin K (2005) Cyclones as mass-settlement vehicles for groupers. Coral Reefs 24:138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crochelet E, Chabanet P, Pothin K, Lagabrielle E, Roberts J, Pennober G, Lecompte-Finiger R, Petit M (2013) Validation of a fish larvae dispersal model with otolith data in the western Indian ocean and implications for marine spatial planning in data-poor regions. Ocean Coast Manag 86:13–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dufour V, Galzin R (1993) Colonization patterns of reef fish larvae to the lagoon at Moorea island, french Polynesia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 102:143–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dufour V, Riclet E, Lo-Yat A (1996) Colonization of reef fishes at Moorea island, French Polynesia: temporal and spatial variation of the larval flux. Marshes Freshw Res 47:413–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Durville P, Bosc P, Galzin R, Conand C (2002) Colonization of a fringing reef of reunion island by coral fish larvae. Acta Oceanol Sin 25:23–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Edgar GJ, Barrett NS, Morton AJ (2004) Biases associated with the use of underwater visual census techniques to quantify the density and size-structure of fish populations. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 308:269–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fricke R, Mulochau T, Durville P, Chabanet P, Tessier E, Letourneur Y (2009) Annotated checklist of the fish species (Pisces) of La Réunion, including a Red List of threatened and declining species. Stuttg Beitr Naturkd A 2:1–168Google Scholar
  11. Gill AC, Kemp JM (2002) Widespread indo-pacific shore-fish species: a challenge for taxonomists, biogeographers, ecologists, and fishery and conservation managers. Environ Biol Fish 65:165–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Godwin JR, Kosaki RK (1989) Reef fish assemblages on submerged lava flows of three different ages. Pac Sci 43:289–301Google Scholar
  13. Harmelin-Vivien ML, Bouchon C (1976) Feeding behavior of some carnivorous fishes (Serranidae and Scorpaenidae) from Tulear (Madagascar). Mar Biol 37:329–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Letourneur Y (1996) Dynamics of fish communities on reunion fringing reefs, Indian Ocean. II. Patterns of temporal fluctuations. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 195:31–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Letourneur Y, Chabanet P, Vigliola L, Harmelin-Vivien M (1998) Mass-settlement and post-settlement mortality of Epinephelus merra (Pisces: Serranidae) on Réunion coral reefs. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 78:307–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mishina H, Gonzares B, Pagaliawan H, Moteki M, Kohno H (2006) Reproductive biology of blacktip grouper, Epinephelus fasciatus, in Sulu Sea, Philippines. Mer 44:23–31Google Scholar
  17. Myers RF (1999) Micronesian reef fishes: a comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia, 3rd revised and expanded edition. Coral Graphics, BarrigadaGoogle Scholar
  18. Odum EP (1969) The strategy of ecosystem development. Science 164:262–270Google Scholar
  19. Pinault M (2013) Évaluation de la fonctionnalité de récifs artificiels à vocation non extractive, dans un contexte d’habitats naturels fragmentés – Côte nord-ouest de l’île de La Réunion. Cybium 37:262Google Scholar
  20. Pinault M, Chabanet P, Loiseau N, Durville P, Galzin R, Quod JP (2013a) Influence des facteurs environnementaux sur la structure des peuplements ichtyologiques côtiers de l’île de La Réunion (Sud-Ouest de l’océan Indien). Cybium 37:95–109Google Scholar
  21. Pinault M, Loiseau N, Chabanet P, Durville P, Magalon H, Quod JP, Galzin R (2013b) Marine fish communities in shallow volcanic habitats. J Fish Biol 82:1821–1847CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Pinault M, Bissery C, Gassiole G, Magalon H, Quod JP, Galzin R (2014) Fish community structure in relation to environmental variation in coastal volcanic habitats. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2014.06.005
  23. R development Core Team (2008) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical. Computing, Vienna, Austria.
  24. Rafail SZ (1972) A statistical study of length-weight relationship of eight Egyptian fishes. Bull Inst Oceanogr Fish 2:136–156Google Scholar
  25. Robertson DR, Polunin NV, Leighton K (1979) The behavioral ecology of three Indian Ocean surgeonfishes (Acanthurus lineatus, A. leucosternon and Zebrasoma scopas): their feeding strategies, and social and mating systems. Environ Biol Fish 4:125–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shapiro DY (1987) Reproduction in groupers. In: Polovina JY, Ralston S (eds) Tropical snappers and groupers: biology and fisheries management. Westview Press, Boulder, pp 295–327Google Scholar
  27. Soler O, Dumont S, Le Goff G (1997) Atlas climatique de La Réunion. Météo France, Sainte-ClotildeGoogle Scholar
  28. Vigouroux N, Williams-Jones AE, Wallace P, Staudacher T (2009) The november 2002 eruption of piton de la Fournaise, Réunion: tracking the pre-eruptive thermal evolution of magma using melt inclusions. Volcanol 71:1077–1089CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Walsh WJ (1983) Stability of a coral reef fish community following a catastrophic storm. Coral Reefs 2:49–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Willis TJ (2001) Visual census methods underestimate density and diversity of cryptic reef fishes. J Fish Biol 59:1408–1411CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations