Effects of habitat and predation on the effectiveness of an MPA network in Hawaii to replenish the aquarium fish, yellow tang Zebrasoma flavescens
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Effects of habitat and predation on the effectiveness of an MPA network in Hawaii to replenish the aquarium fish, yellow tang Zebrasoma flavescens

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    "This proposal examined the spatial characteristics of coral reefs that are associated with the effectiveness of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) network in West Hawaii and the post-settlement processes affecting the demography of aquarium fish. Our results indicate that the geomorphology of the reef, area of reef habitats, and level of habitat complexity were associated with the significant recovery of aquarium fish populations, particularly, yellow tang Zebrasoma flavescens, the most heavily collected aquarium species in Hawaii. For example, locations having large areas of coral-rich and boulder-turf-rich habitats at a range of depths and retention features important for settlement, juvenile survivorship, and adult reproduction supported a higher number of each of the life stages of yellow tang. Recruit densities were higher in finger coral habitats, but not correlative relationship was detected between the abundance of recruits at both high and low levels of finger coral cover in the presence of predators. Furthermore, recruitment rate and years of closure influenced the effectiveness of the network, with more MPAs showing significant increases of yellow tang as years of protection increased and recruitment was consistent. The design of the West Hawaii MPA network was effective at replenishing aquarium fish populations by protecting both newly recruited fish to nearshore reef habitats and foraging and sheltering locations for juveniles and adult breeding populations. Our results demonstrated that guidelines for designing MPA networks should depend on the life history and spatial requirements of the species being protected. Consequently, results from this study suggest that the use of landscape metrics and new technologies, such as remote sensing and geographical information systems, coupled with in situ population sampling can provide managers with the information required to select and manage reef systems for maximum benefit to targeted fish populations".
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