Dynamics of the Pomacentrid Community on Small Patch Reefs in One Tree Lagoon (Great Barrier Reef)
Abstract:The two existing models of coexistence in coral reef fish communities are both based on the assumption that these fish are generally space-limited and that interactions between individuals are important in determining the number of individuals in a given area. It has been thought that inhibition of juvenile settlement is one way in which interactions determine community structure.
In an experimental investigation of pomacentrid assemblages on small patch reefs, interactions with resident populations did not significantly affect pomacentrid recruitment to the reef. Pre-settling juveniles did select certain reefs in preference to others but selection was not influenced by the number of pomacentrids on the reef. Further, the number of juveniles settling on these reefs was small relative to the number of fish experimentally removed and the total number of pomacentrids present on unmanipulated reefs varied considerably through time. I suggest that during the study period the number of fish on a given reef was primarily dependent on the number of larvae in the plankton, habitat selection by larvae, and post-settlement predation, but independent of competitive interactions within the assemblage. In general, the probability of a given assemblage experiencing resource limitation and resultant competition will be determined by the variable relationship between the availability of juveniles, the attractiveness of the reef to settlers, and local densities of predators.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 1980
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