Mangroves enhance the biomass of coral reef fish communities in the Caribbean

Mumby, Peter J., Edwards, Alasdair J., Arias-Gonzalez, J. Ernesto, Lindeman, Kenyon C., Blackwell, Paul G., Gall, Angela, Gorczynska, Malgosia I., Harborne, Alastair R., Pescod, Claire L., Renken, Henk, Wabnitz, Colette C. C. and Llewellyn, Ghislane (2004) Mangroves enhance the biomass of coral reef fish communities in the Caribbean. NATURE, 427 6974: 533-536. doi:10.1038/nature02286


Author Mumby, Peter J.
Edwards, Alasdair J.
Arias-Gonzalez, J. Ernesto
Lindeman, Kenyon C.
Blackwell, Paul G.
Gall, Angela
Gorczynska, Malgosia I.
Harborne, Alastair R.
Pescod, Claire L.
Renken, Henk
Wabnitz, Colette C. C.
Llewellyn, Ghislane
Title Mangroves enhance the biomass of coral reef fish communities in the Caribbean
Journal name NATURE   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-0836
1476-4687
Publication date 2004-02-01
Year available 2004
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/nature02286
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 427
Issue 6974
Start page 533
End page 536
Total pages 4
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Abstract Mangrove forests are one of the world's most threatened tropical ecosystems with global loss exceeding 35% (ref. 1). Juvenile coral reef fish often inhabit mangroves(2-5), but the importance of these nurseries to reef fish population dynamics has not been quantified. Indeed, mangroves might be expected to have negligible influence on reef fish communities: juvenile fish can inhabit alternative habitats and fish populations may be regulated by other limiting factors such as larval supply or fishing(6). Here we show that mangroves are unexpectedly important, serving as an intermediate nursery habitat that may increase the survivorship of young fish. Mangroves in the Caribbean strongly influence the community structure of fish on neighbouring coral reefs. In addition, the biomass of several commercially important species is more than doubled when adult habitat is connected to mangroves. The largest herbivorous fish in the Atlantic, Scarus guacamaia, has a functional dependency on mangroves and has suffered local extinction after mangrove removal. Current rates of mangrove deforestation are likely to have severe deleterious consequences for the ecosystem function, fisheries productivity and resilience of reefs. Conservation efforts should protect connected corridors of mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs.
Formatted abstract
Mangrove forests are one of the world's most threatened tropical ecosystems with global loss exceeding 35% (ref. 1). Juvenile coral reef fish often inhabit mangroves2, 3, 4, 5, but the importance of these nurseries to reef fish population dynamics has not been quantified. Indeed, mangroves might be expected to have negligible influence on reef fish communities: juvenile fish can inhabit alternative habitats and fish populations may be regulated by other limiting factors such as larval supply or fishing6. Here we show that mangroves are unexpectedly important, serving as an intermediate nursery habitat that may increase the survivorship of young fish. Mangroves in the Caribbean strongly influence the community structure of fish on neighbouring coral reefs. In addition, the biomass of several commercially important species is more than doubled when adult habitat is connected to mangroves. The largest herbivorous fish in the Atlantic, Scarus guacamaia, has a functional dependency on mangroves and has suffered local extinction after mangrove removal. Current rates of mangrove deforestation are likely to have severe deleterious consequences for the ecosystem function, fisheries productivity and resilience of reefs. Conservation efforts should protect connected corridors of mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs.
Keyword Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
MULTIDISCIPLINARY SCIENCES
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 24 Nov 2010, 00:37:19 EST