Focusing the Recruitment of Juvenile Fishes on Coral Reefs
This study quantitatively examined the role that aspect ratio plays on the recruitment of fishes on coral reefs. High aspect ratio reefs have significantly greater numbers of fishes recruiting to them than do low aspect ratio reefs. A low-cost method of increasing reef aspect ratio is through the use of small, tautline moored, midwater fish aggregation devices. Utilizing this technology we demonstrated that the recruitment of juvenile fishes to the demersal habitat may be focused to specific sites. Once in the demersal habitat, predation may be high so the design and scale of the benthic habitat beneath the mid water fish aggregation devices must be considered. Benthic habitat covering areas much greater than 2 m2 of substratum probably allows demersal predators to take up residence and impact the new recruits. The use of midwater fish aggregation devices that serve to focus the recruitment may attract and aggregate coastal pelagic species that also may be predators on the new recruits. Thus the technology suggests possibilities for the improvement of recruitment, but the scale and dispersion of the artificial habitat must be given careful consideration. If correctly applied, the technology may be useful in the restoration of coral reef fish resources.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 September 1994
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