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Diel and Tidal Movements by Fish and Decapods Linking Tropical Coastal Ecosystems

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Ecological Connectivity among Tropical Coastal Ecosystems

Abstract

Short-term movements of fishes and decapods can lead to regular changes in biomass, diversity, mortality, predation, and flux of energy between adjacent ecosystems. At low latitudes the day-night cycle is relatively stable and uniformly affects activity rhythms of marine organism at all longitudes. In contrast, tidal ranges and tidal types differ significantly between coasts and regions. On coasts with weak tides, twilight migrations connect adjacent habitats. On tidal coasts, migrations are tightly coupled to the interactive effect of the diel and tidal cycles which results in complex but predictable patterns of change within and between ecosystems. Diel and tidal migrations share several similarities (connection of resting and feeding sites, sequence of species and size groups, site fidelity, homing, constant pathways). The spring-neap tide cycle and its interaction with the diel cycle is a key factor influencing regular short-term variations on tidal coasts. The home range of a species on a macrotidal coast may be an order of magnitude greater than that of conspecifics from a microtidal coast, suggesting a need for larger marine parks on macrotidal coasts. Regional comparisons, e.g., between the Caribbean and the Indo-West Pacific, often disregard the significant tidal differences inherent to the ecosystems. It is suggested here that broad-scale comparisons must be redefined; regional comparisons should focus on geographical regions with similar tidal regimes, or on systems with different tidal regimes but with similar species communities.

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Acknowledgments

I am grateful to I Nagelkerken for the invitation to contribute to this book and I thank two anonymous reviewers, the editor, and G Castellanos-Galindo for their helpful comments.

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Krumme, U. (2009). Diel and Tidal Movements by Fish and Decapods Linking Tropical Coastal Ecosystems. In: Nagelkerken, I. (eds) Ecological Connectivity among Tropical Coastal Ecosystems. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2406-0_8

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