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Strong effects of coral species on the diversity and structure of reef fish communities: a multi-scale analysis


Komyakova, V and Jones, GP and Munday, PL, Strong effects of coral species on the diversity and structure of reef fish communities: a multi-scale analysis, PLoS ONE, 13, (8) Article e0202206. ISSN 1932-6203 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Komyakova et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202206


While there is increasing evidence for habitat specialization in coral reef fishes, the extent to which different corals support different fish communities is not well understood. Here we quantitatively assess the relative importance of different coral species in structuring fish communities and evaluate whether sampling scale and coral colony size affect the perceived strength of fish-habitat relationships. Fish communities present on colonies of eight coral species (Porites cylindrica, Echinopora horrida, Hydnophora rigida, Stylophora pistillata, Seriatopora hystrix, Acropora formosa, A. tenuis and A. millepora) were examined in the Lizard Island lagoon, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Additionally, the differences in fish communities supported by three coral species (P. cylindrica, E. horrida, H. rigida) were investigated at three spatial scales of sampling (2x2 m, 1x1 m, 0.5x0.5 m). Substantial differences in fish communities were observed across the different coral species, with E. horrida and H. rigida supporting the most fish species and individuals. Coral species explained more of the variability in fish species richness (20.953.6%), than in fish abundance (015%). Most coral species supported distinctive fish communities, with dissimilarities ranging from 50 to 90%. For three focal coral species, a greater amount of total variation in fish species richness and fish abundance was evident at a larger scale of sampling. Together, these results indicate that the structure of reef fish communities is finely tuned to coral species. Loss of preferred coral species could have profound effects on reef fish biodiversity, potentially more so than would be predicted on the basis of declining coral cover alone.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:corals, fish-coral associations, habitat complexity, coral reef fishes
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Komyakova, V (Dr Valeriya Komyakova)
ID Code:137817
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:29
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2020-03-05
Last Modified:2020-04-02
Downloads:15 View Download Statistics

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