Spatial Distribution Patterns and Coexistence of a Group of Territorial Damselfishes from the Great Barrier Reef
Abstract:To test a hypothesis that resource partitioning is less important to the small- and large-scale coexistence of similar species of reef fishes than are the chance elements involved in patterns of mortality, recruitment, and space-creation, the patterns of spatial distribution of a set of damselfishes were examined on both large and small scales. The data show a greater degree of within and between habitat segregation than was previously thought to exist. Space partitioning is thus of significance to large- and small-scale coexistence in many cases. While the “chance” hypothesis remains relevant to those cases in which resource partitioning is not evident among actively competing species, the existing data also fit alternative, more conventional hypotheses. Competitively interacting species may also differ in the extent to which their populations are space limited and reliant on external agencies to create new space.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 1980
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