Fish communities and juvenile habitat associated with non-native Rhizophora mangle L. in Hawai‘i
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There are many well-documented ecosystem services for which mangroves have received protection globally; however, in Hawai‘i, where no species of mangroves are native, these services have not been thoroughly evaluated. Twelve permanently open stream mouth estuaries on O‘ahu were sampled from September to October 2014. Abiotic factors and fish community data were correlated with percent mangrove cover and the Landscape Development Intensity Index to examine potential relationships among mangroves, humans, and fish communities. The three most abundant species, of 20 species caught, were Kuhlia xenura, Mugil cephalus, and Mulloidichthys flavolineatus. Of these three native species, 99% of the individuals caught were juveniles indicating the overall importance of stream mouth estuaries as juvenile habitat. Non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis of fish community data showed that K. xenura, M. cephalus, and Lutjanus fulvus were more abundant in shallower sites with lower salinity and higher percent mangrove cover. Stream mouth estuaries with mangroves are important juvenile habitats for the native K. xenura and M. cephalus and the non-native Osteomugil engeli. These species, two of which are important in recreational and subsistence fisheries, will be most likely affected by mangrove removal based on abundance and distribution in mangrove-dominated stream mouth estuaries.
KeywordsLandscape development intensity index Kuhlia xenura Mugil cephalus Stream mouth estuaries Juvenile abundance Invasive species
We would like to thank our field assistants C. Wong, A. Gunkel, T. Marcoux, T. Matthews, D. Lampe, L. Tarpley, E. Boekman, and T. Wilder. This work would not have been possible without their help. We would also like to thank Keith Korsmeyer and Eric Gilman for their collaboration and expertise, David Hyrenbach with Hawai‘i Pacific University for reviewing and advising on statistical analyses, and Troy Shimoda with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) for assisting with fish identification.
Research funding and equipment was provided by Hawai‘i Pacific University.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Co-author Susan Carstenn (Hawai‘i Pacific University), Eric Gilman (Lead Fisheries Science Advisor, The Nature Conservancy), and Keith Korsmeyer served on Stacia Goecke’s Master’s thesis committee and provided advisement on this research.
Protocols followed Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) regulations HAR section §13-75-12.4 or special provisions granted in a special activity permit provided by the State of Hawai‘i DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources. Effort was taken to respect the welfare of animals caught for this study. Handling was minimized as much as possible. Fish were maintained in a well-aerated, cool environment after being caught and then were re-released into the environment after being weighed and measured.
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