The Relation of Microhabitat to Variation in Recruitment of Young-of-Year Coral Reef Fishes
Abstract:Despite their importance at smaller scales, microhabitat characteristics appear to have only a minor influence on recruitment of reef fishes at scales of >50 m. Abundance of young-of-year (YOY) recruits of 104 species was measured in late summer of 3 yrs at three sites on each of seven reefs of the Capricorn-Bunker Group, south- ern Great Barrier Reef. Abundance of all YOY recruits and of each of the 15 most common species varied substantially, with numerous interactions between year and either reef or site (within reefs). Sites varied in substratum composition, but these differences did not explain much of the pattern in reef fish recruitment. When microhabitat principal components were included as covariates, 14 of the 16 analyses still showed significant spatio-temporal interactions, and all 16 exhibited significant recruitment variation. Redundancy analysis of the fish assemblage revealed 51.6% of the variation in recruitment could be explained: 18.6% by spatio-temporal scales, 6.7% by microhabitat, and 26.3% shared by spatio-temporal and microhabitat variables. Responses to microhabitat, at or soon after settlement, help determine distribution of recruits at small scales, but factors other than microhabitat appear to play major roles in determining the spatial and temporal variation in recruitment of coral reef fishes at larger spatial scales.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2005-01-01
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