| Ecology and fishing impacts on aquarium fishes on mesophotic reefs in Hawaii - :16024 | National Ocean Service (NOS)
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Ecology and fishing impacts on aquarium fishes on mesophotic reefs in Hawaii
  • Published Date:
Filetype[PDF-1.59 MB]

  • Corporate Authors:
    Coral Reef Conservation Program (U.S.) ; United States, National Ocean Service, ;
  • Description:
    Reef fish community structure and habitat associations are well documented for shallow coral reefs (<20m) but are largely unknown in deeper extensions of reefs (mesophotic reefs; >30m). We examined reef fish community structure and benthic composition at depth intervals from 3-40m in West Hawaii. Reef fish species richness and abundance peaked between 12-20m. Fish community structure changed slowly with depth, with more than 85% of species observed at mesophotic depths also found in shallow reef habitats. Depth-related differences appear to be linked more closely with species' feeding behavior than with taxonomic structure, as the relative abundance of herbivorous fishes decreased and planktivorous fishes increased with depth. More than 51% of the variation in reef fish community structure was explained by depth, while only 17% was explained by differences in sites, indicating depth plays a predominant role in structuring communities. Habitat analyses show that coral cover peaks from 12-20m and deeper depths are dominated by sand and macroalgal cover. Peaks in coral cover correspond with peaks in reef fish richness and density, suggesting that changes in community composition with depth are likely a result of habitat structure and availability.

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  • Funding:
    Funding: NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, National Ocean Service, NA13NOS4820026,; project number: 198.;
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