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Free Content Trophic structure, diversity and abundance of fishes of the deep reef (30–300m) at Enewetak, Marshall Islands

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Semi-quantitative, timed censuses of fish abundance and diversity were made off Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands at depths from 30 to 180 m, by means of the RSV Makali'i, and supplemented by a series of qualitative dives at various points around the atoll to depths of 300 m. Analysis of data indicate a monotonic depth-associated decline in number of species seen, a peak in total population density between 90 and 120 m, and abrupt declines between 75 and 90 m in community diversity and proportional representation of shallow water species. Each of six trophic groups exhibited a different depth distribution, about the abundances of coralivores, herbivores, benthic predators and cleaners correlated across depths. Data suggest the occurrence of a single faunal assemblage of reef fishes from the surface to approximately 250 m, which can, however, be profitably divided into three communities: a shallow fore reef community (0 to 75–90 m) characterized by high diversity and high densities of fishes, a middle fore reef community (75–90 to 120 m) dominated by a few species of planktivores and characterized by a high percentage of species that do not normally occur closer to the surface, and a deep fore reef community (120 to roughly 250 m) characterized by very low levels of fish diversity and abundance.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1986

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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