The relationship among microhabitat characteristics, recruitment and adult abundance in the stoplight parrotfish, Sparisoma Viride, at three spatial scales
Most of the fishes on coral reef produce pelagic larvae, and as a result, benthic, adult populations are dependent upon recruitment of individuals from the plankton. This study investigated the relationship between microhabitat characteristics and recruitment of Sparisoma viride (Scaridae), across three spatial scales. Analysis of 1.0 m2 quadrats showed that within a habitat, S. viride recruits associated with club-finger coral, Porites porites (live + dead) more than would be expected at random. At a medium spatial scale, abundance of S. viride recruits differed among 12 sites in four habitats on the Tague Bay reef, St. Croix, U.S.V.I. In general, recruitment was higher to the back reef that to the reef crest, reef slope and reef base. Recruitment was also higher to the reef slope than to the reef crest or reef base. Variation in mean abundance of recruits among sites and habitats was correlated with the percent cover of Porites in 2 yrs. At a larger spatial scale, the percent cover of Porites at 10 sites located on three islands (St. Croix, St. John, and Virgin Gorda) explained 66–81% of the variation in mean recruit abundance in 3 of 4 yrs. Contemporary adult abundance was correlated with mean recruitment at this spatial scale. These result suggest that the benthic environment plays a role in the replenishment of adult populations on local reef patches. Likewise, microhabitat characteristics that affect recruitment may influence adult abundance at large spatial scales.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1998
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