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Density and height of Sargassum influence rabbitfish (f. Siganidae) settlement on inshore reef flats of the Great Barrier Reef


Tang, S and Graba-Landry, A and Hoey, AS, Density and height of Sargassum influence rabbitfish (f. Siganidae) settlement on inshore reef flats of the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Reefs, 39 pp. 467-473. ISSN 0722-4028 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00338-020-01908-8


Macroalgal beds have been suggested to be an important settlement habitat for a diversity of reef fishes, yet few studies have considered how the composition or structure of macroalgal beds may influence fish settlement. The aim of this study was to investigate how the physical characteristics of Sargassum beds, a common macroalga on inshore coral reefs, influence the abundance of recently-settled rabbitfishes (Siganidae) on Orpheus Island, Great Barrier Reef. The abundance of recently-settled rabbitfish (< 3 cm total length), the density and height of Sargassum thalli, and benthic composition were quantified within replicate 1-m2 quadrats across 15 mid-reef flat sites. A total of 419 recently-settled rabbitfish from three species (Siganus doliatus, S. lineatus and S. canaliculatus) were recorded across 150 quadrats (range 0–16 individuals m−2), with S. doliatus accounting for the majority (85.2%) of individuals recorded. The abundance of S. doliatus and S. lineatus was greatest at moderate Sargassum densities (ca. 20–30 holdfasts m−2) and generally increased with Sargassum height and the cover of ‘other’ macroalgae. These findings demonstrate the potential importance of the physical characteristics of macroalgal beds to the settlement of rabbitfishes on inshore reef flats.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:macroalgae, herbivory, structural complexity, macroalgal canopy, settlement, coral reef
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Graba-Landry, A (Dr Alexia Graba-Landry)
ID Code:147567
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2021-11-08
Last Modified:2022-01-04

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