Short-term responses of fishes to macroalgal overgrowth on coral rubble on a degraded reef at Iriomote Island, Japan
Visual surveys along belt transects were conducted at Iriomote Island (Ryukyu Islands, Japan) to determine the responses of a fish assemblage to a large increase in the fleshy macroalga, Sargassum sp., on a former coral reef degraded by an outbreak of the coral-feeding starfish, Acanthaster planci. An area with a dense bed of the macroalga on a flat plain of coral rubble and a neighboring unstructured rubble area without macroalgae were censused annually in October from 1997 to 1999. Mean percentage cover of Sargassum fronds per transect in the algal area increased from 8.7 (1997) to 36.0% (1999). Species richness and density of adult fishes were significantly greater in the algal area than in the rubble area, although the absolute increases were relatively small. The numbers of adult fish species and individuals did not increase significantly with the increasing Sargassum cover. Similar results were obtained for juvenile fishes. These results show a weak numerical response by the fish assemblage to macroalgal overgrowth on the degraded reef.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2001-05-01
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