Methods that enhance larval settlement are required to examine the importance of recruitment in the dynamics of coral reef fish populations. Although it is known that larval reef fishes are attracted to light, here we show for the first time that a light-attraction device positioned
above patch reefs at Lizard Island (Great Barrier Reef) significantly increased the number of fish settling on the reefs below. The device was a modified light trap with a tube allowing the vertical movement of larvae from the trap to the reef. The number of species of settling fishes, and
the abundance and diversity of immigrant fishes were also greater on the light-enhanced reefs. By comparison, the alternative technique of enhancing recruitment using surface buoys moored to reefs was unsuccessful. Further studies are now required to determine whether enhanced recruitment
using light-attractors leads to a longer-term increase in population size, as opposed to temporarily concentrating juveniles on the reef.
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