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Free Content Annual Recruitment Surveys of Coral Reef Fishes are Good Indicators of Patterns of Settlement

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End-of-season counts offish recruits (young-of-the-year) on one nearshore, three mid-shelf and one outer shelf reef on the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) over 2 years were compared to estimates of settlement based on 4 six-weekly censuses of the same sites in each year. The end-of-season recruitment surveys yielded relative patterns of recruitment between years and among reefs that were remarkably close to those determined from the six-weekly counts. For 23 out of 24 species examined, there was a significant correlation between the net total gain of recruits, determined from the six-weekly counts, and the number of recruits censused at the end of the season. We conclude that end-of-year recruitment surveys are a robust technique for determining relative patterns of early post-settlement distributions among reefs and between years in the central GBR. Most of the species censused, primarily pomacentrids and labrids, have relatively low post-settlement mortality rates. This, and annual recruitment patterns on the GBR which tend to be the result of a few very discrete pulses of settlement, often coherent over large distances, are likely to be the key to the success of the technique.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1994

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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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