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Regional biogeography of shallow reef fish and macro-invertebrate communities in the Galapagos archipelago


Edgar, GJ and Banks, S and Farina, JM and Calvopina, M and Martinez, C, Regional biogeography of shallow reef fish and macro-invertebrate communities in the Galapagos archipelago, Journal of Biogeography, 31, (7) pp. 1107-1124. ISSN 0305-0270 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2004.01055.x


Aim: To delineate biogeographical patterns in Galapagos shallow-water reef fauna at regional scales. Location: Galapagos Islands. Methods: Fishes and macro-invertebrates were quantitatively censused using underwater visual techniques along more than 500 transects at defined depth strata across the Galapagos archipelago. Data were analysed using multivariate techniques to define regional patterns and identify species typical of different regions. Results: Subtidal communities of fishes and macro-invertebrates on shallow reefs differed consistently in species composition across the Galapagos archipelago, with three major biogeographical groupings: (1) the 'far-northern area' containing the islands of Darwin and Wolf, (2) the 'central/south-eastern area', including the east coast of Isabela, and (3) the 'western area', encompassing Fernandina and western Isabela. In addition, the northern islands of Pinta, Marchena and Genovesa form a separate region in the central/south-eastern area, and Bahia Elizabeth and Canal Bolivar separate from other parts of the western area. The far-northern bioregion is characterized by high fish species richness overall, including a high proportion of species of Indo-Pacific origin. However, very few endemic fishes or species with distributions extending south from Ecuador ('Peruvian' species) are present, and the bioregion also possesses relatively low species richness of mobile macro-invertebrate taxa. By contrast, the 'western' bioregion possesses disproportionately high numbers of endemic fish taxa, high numbers of cool-temperate Peruvian fish species, and high invertebrate species richness, but very few species of Indo-Pacific origin. The Bahia Elizabeth/ Canal Bolivar bioregion possesses more endemic species and fewer species with Peruvian affinities than coasts within the western bioregion. The northern bioregion of Pinta, Marchena and Genovesa represents an overlap zone with affinities to both the far-northern and south-eastern islands. The south-eastern bioregion includes species from a variety of different sources, particularly 'Panamic' species with distributions extending north to Central America. Main conclusions: On the basis of congruent divisions for reef fish and macroinvertebrate communities, the Galapagos archipelago can be separated into three major biogeographical areas, two of which can be further subdivided into two regions. Each of these five bioregions possesses communities characterized by a distinctive mix of species derived from Indo-Pacific, Panamic, Peruvian and endemic source areas. The conservation significance of different regions is not reflected in counts of total species richness. The regions with the lowest overall fish species richness possess a temperate rather than tropical climate and highest levels of endemism.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
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:Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
ID Code:31074
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:117
Deposited By:TAFI - Zoology
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2005-05-21

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