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Free Content Coral Reef Fish Assemblages at Banco Chinchorro, Mexican Caribbean

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As part of the characterization studies for the management plan of the Banco Chinchorro biosphere reserve, an atoll-like reef off the Caribbean coast of Mexico, fish assemblages and abundances by trophic groups were analyzed. Over the course of three years 384 visual censuses, in 20 × 2-m transects, were conducted in a series of strata previously defined by coral structure and development. The known (mainly non-cryptic) ichthyofauna of Chinchorro consists of 163 species. Twenty-four of these (in ten families, contributing 3.29% of the recorded individuals) are regularly captured by fishery cooperatives operating within Chinchorro. Deep or shallow zones with good reef development tended to have more species and a higher fish density; these zones are located in four (out of 17) regions, which have been proposed for conservation. Six trophic groups were distinguished: benthophagous fishes (Haemulidae, Labridae) were the most abundant group (37.6%), followed by planktivores (27.4%) and omnivores (20.0%) (mainly Pomacentridae). Herbivores (Acanthuridae, Scaridae) were intermediate in abundance (12.2%), and higher trophic levels (piscivores and ichthyobenthophagous fishes: Serranidae, Lutjanidae, Carangidae) had the lowest densities (below 2%). Overfishing may have affected fish communities at Chinchorro; this was inferred because commercial fish populations are scarce and individuals are small.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-07-01

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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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