The effectiveness of different meso-scale rugosity metrics for predicting intra-habitat variation in coral-reef fish assemblages

Harborne, Alastair R., Mumby, Peter J. and Ferrari, Renata (2012) The effectiveness of different meso-scale rugosity metrics for predicting intra-habitat variation in coral-reef fish assemblages. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 94 2: 431-442. doi:10.1007/s10641-011-9956-2


Author Harborne, Alastair R.
Mumby, Peter J.
Ferrari, Renata
Title The effectiveness of different meso-scale rugosity metrics for predicting intra-habitat variation in coral-reef fish assemblages
Journal name Environmental Biology of Fishes   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0378-1909
1573-5133
Publication date 2012-06-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10641-011-9956-2
Volume 94
Issue 2
Start page 431
End page 442
Total pages 12
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Habitat structure is frequently an important variable affecting species’ abundances and diversity, and identifying the key aspects and spatial scales of habitat complexity is critical for understanding the ecology and conservation of a range of communities. Many coral-reef fishes are intimately linked with benthic habitat structure, and previous research has demonstrated rugosity as an important predictive variable of assemblage parameters. However, these studies typically consider rugosity at small scales, amalgamate multiple habitat features, or are semi-quantitative. This study considers meso-scale rugosity (within 51 plots of 25 m2 on a Belizean forereef) generated by varying coral densities, heights, and complexities. Seven rugosity metrics were calculated for each plot, and were regressed against each of 11 fish assemblage parameters. Intra-habitat variability of each fish parameter was significantly positively or curvilinearly correlated to at least one metric of meso-scale rugosity, but the metric generating the strongest correlation varied. The abundance of small fishes, and consequently most of the assemblage statistics (e.g., total fish abundance and diversity) were best predicted by the number of tall (>50 cm) corals. The abundance of damselfishes, parrotfish biomass, the abundances of medium-sized and large fishes, and total fish biomass were curvilinearly related to mean coral height. The abundances of wrasses and surgeonfishes were most strongly correlated with the number of corals within a plot. Because coral-generated meso-scale rugosity is an important factor influencing intra-habitat variation in fishes, it should be explicitly considered when investigating fish-habitat relationships and predicting the impacts of coral mortality on ecosystem processes and services.
Keyword Belize
Coral reef
Fish ecology
Habitat complexity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 12 November 2011

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 18 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 19 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 29 May 2012, 09:27:46 EST by System User on behalf of School of Biological Sciences