Reef fish community structure on coastal islands of the southeastern Brazil: the influence of exposure and benthic cover
- 672 Downloads
Patterns of community structure in the marine environment are strongly influenced by population relationships to biotic and physical gradients. The aim of this work is to explore the relationships of tropical rocky reef fish assemblages to wave exposure and benthic coverage in a gradient of distance from the coast. The study was conducted on the Guarapari Islands, southeastern Brazilian coast. Fish were sampled by underwater visual census (166 transects) and benthic cover was estimated with quadrats (223 replicates). Two main kinds of habitats were found to be derived from the close interrelation between exposure and benthic coverage: (1) exposed areas subjected to major hydrodynamic forcing, and (2) sheltered or moderately exposed areas. The first group is associated with mid-water schooling species like planktivorous labrids and Chromis, piscivorous Caranx, as well as gregarious omnivores like Abudefduf and Diplodus. In terms of benthic composition, macroalgae and encrusting calcareous algae prevail in this high-energy habitat. The second group is characterized by site-attached and reef associated species like territorial pomacentrids, invertebrate feeders such as Halichoeres poeyi and Chaetodon striatus, and small cryptobenthic fishes (e.g. blenniids and labrisomids). Turf algae, zoanthids and massive corals dominate this environment. Environmental plasticity is also common with some genera showing high abundances in all habitats (e.g. Holocentrus, Haemulon, Acanthurus). Examples of the coupling of food availability and fish abundance were found. Planktivores, territorial herbivores, macroalgae browsers and spongivores were positively related with the abundance of their preferred food items along the exposure gradient. Within-family analyses of Pomacentridae and Labridae showed that niche partitioning is likely occurring and seems to be mediated by swimming ‘ability’ and associated feeding performance.
KeywordsRocky shore Wave exposure gradient Feeding behavior Reef fish
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
We thank the support from the Floeter, Krohling and Gasparini families all along the way. Essential financial support from Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, Fundação O Boticário de Proteção à Natureza and PADI Project AWARE Foundation. Vitor Vidal, Júlio Yaber (Atlantes), Silvia Gandolfi, J-C Joyeux for helping in fieldwork. Viviane Testa, Osmar Luiz- Júnior, Ivan Sazima, Phil Munday and David Bellwood for exchanging ideas. This work was part of the first author's PhD Thesis and was partly conducted while S.R.F. was a Postdoctoral Associate at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a center funded by NSF (Grant DEB-0072909) and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
- Aburto-Oropeza O, Balart E (2001) Community structure of reef fish in several habitats of a rocky reef in the Gulf of California. Mar Ecol 22: 283–305Google Scholar
- Castro BM, Miranda LB (1998) Physical oceanography of the western Atlantic continental shelf located between 4 °N and 34 °S. In: Robinson AR, Brink KH (eds) The Sea, Volume 11. John Wiley and Sons, New York, pp 209–252Google Scholar
- Dominici-Arosemena A, Wolff M (2006) Reef fish community structure in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (Panama´): living on a relatively stable rocky reef environment. Helgol Mar Res DOI: 10.1007/s10152-006-0045-4Google Scholar
- Dutra GF, Allen GR, Werner T, McKenna SA (eds) (2005) A Rapid Marine Biodiversity Assessment of the Abrolhos Bank, Bahia, Brazil. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 38. Conservation International, Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
- Ebeling AW, Hixon MA (1991) Tropical and temperate reef fishes: comparison of community structure. In: Sale PF (eds) The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 509–563Google Scholar
- Ekau W, Knoppers B (1999) An introduction to the pelagic system of the North-East and East Brazilian shelf. Archive Fishery Mar Sci 47:113–132Google Scholar
- Floeter SR, Halpern BS, Ferreira CEL (2006). Effects of fishing and protection on Brazilian reef fishes. Biol Conserv 128:391–402Google Scholar
- Hammer WM, Jones MS, Carleton JH, Hauri IR, Williams DMcB (1988) Zooplankton, planktivorous fish, and water currents on a windward reef face: great Barrier Reef, Australia. Bull Mar Sci 42:459–479Google Scholar
- Hobson ES, Chess JR (1978) Trophic relationships among fishes and plankton in the lagoon at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands. Fisheries Bull 76:133–153Google Scholar
- Hobson ES (1991) Trophic relationships of fishes specialized to feed on zooplankters above coral reefs. In: Sale PF (eds) The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 69–95Google Scholar
- Jones GP, Ferrell DJ, Sale PF (1991) Fish predation and its impact on the invertebrates of coral reefs and adjacent sediments. In: Sale PF (eds) The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 156–179Google Scholar
- Munday PL (2002) Does variability determine geographical-scale abundances of coral-dwelling fishes? Coral Reefs 21:105–116Google Scholar
- Perry C, Larcombe P (2002) Special issue of coral reefs, on marginal and non reef-building coral environments. Coral Reefs 21:324Google Scholar
- Randall JE (1967) Food habits of reef fishes of the West Indies. Stud Trop Oceanogr 5:665–847Google Scholar
- Russ GR (2003) Grazer biomass correlates more strongly with production than with biomass of algal turfs on a coral reef. Coral Reefs 22:63–67Google Scholar
- Underwood AJ (1997) Experiments in ecology: their logical design and interpretation using analysis of variance. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Williams DMcB (1991) Patterns and processes in the distribution of coral reef fishes. In: Sale PF (eds) The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 437–474Google Scholar
- Zar JH (1999) Biostatiscal analysis. Prentice Hall, New JerseyGoogle Scholar