A comparison of coral reef and coral community fish assemblages in Pacific Panama and environmental factors governing their structure

Sarah Benfield, Laura Baxter, Hector M. Guzman, James M. Mair

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We compared the reef fish assemblages of two habitats, coral reefs and coral communities (rocky substratum with coral colonies), in the Las Perlas Archipelago in Pacific Panama and attempted to determine associations with habitat variables. We used a modified Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) survey to record fish species and quadrat transects to determine benthic composition. Multivariate non-parametric multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) ordinations were performed in PRIMER and univariate correlations were used to determine relationships. The reef fish of coral communities were significantly more diverse and species rich than those of coral reefs. The two habitats had significantly different species and size composition, but trophic and family groups overlapped between habitats. Topography, exposure, and the percentage cover of branching and massive corals correlated significantly with differences in fish parameters. The reef fish assemblages of this region appear to be determined more by the larger scale structural features that characterize the two habitats than by features that vary over small scales within the habitats. © 2008 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1331-1341
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
    Volume88
    Issue number7
    Early online date22 Jul 2008
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

    Fingerprint

    coral reef
    coral
    environmental factor
    reef
    habitat
    fish
    ordination
    archipelago
    comparison
    transect
    topography

    Keywords

    • Composition
    • Coral
    • Diversity
    • Fish
    • Habitat
    • Reef

    Cite this

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    abstract = "We compared the reef fish assemblages of two habitats, coral reefs and coral communities (rocky substratum with coral colonies), in the Las Perlas Archipelago in Pacific Panama and attempted to determine associations with habitat variables. We used a modified Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) survey to record fish species and quadrat transects to determine benthic composition. Multivariate non-parametric multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) ordinations were performed in PRIMER and univariate correlations were used to determine relationships. The reef fish of coral communities were significantly more diverse and species rich than those of coral reefs. The two habitats had significantly different species and size composition, but trophic and family groups overlapped between habitats. Topography, exposure, and the percentage cover of branching and massive corals correlated significantly with differences in fish parameters. The reef fish assemblages of this region appear to be determined more by the larger scale structural features that characterize the two habitats than by features that vary over small scales within the habitats. {\circledC} 2008 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.",
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    A comparison of coral reef and coral community fish assemblages in Pacific Panama and environmental factors governing their structure. / Benfield, Sarah; Baxter, Laura; Guzman, Hector M.; Mair, James M.

    In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Vol. 88, No. 7, 11.2008, p. 1331-1341.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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