Critical swimming speed of settlement-stage coral reef fishes from the Caribbean: a methodological and geographical comparison
We measured the critical swimming abilities (Ucrit) of late-stage larvae of 46 species from 21 families of marine fishes from Belize, Central America, and we tested the robustness of the Ucrit technique to variations in methodology. We found no significant effect of sampling method, or experimental method (i.e., varying the length of the time interval and varying the number of fish in the chamber), and conclude that Ucrit is relatively robust to variations in methodology. Furthermore, we compared the Ucrit estimates of six species to previously published Ucrit estimates from the same species collected in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In all cases fishes from the Turks and Caicos Islands swam faster than fishes from Belize, and these differences were not due to differences in size of the fishes between the two locations. We conclude that differences in Ucrit between fishes from the Turks and Caicos Islands and Belize are real and could be due to either geographic isolation between the two locations or some temporal effect of sampling. Spatial-temporal variation in Ucrit must be considered when comparing or combining intra-specific data from different studies, and may play a role in the spatial-temporal variability in the ecology of settlement-stage coral reef fishes.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2007
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