Spatial distribution of parrotfishes and groupers in an Okinawan coral reef: size-related associations in relation to habitat characteristics.

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Author: Atsushi Nanami
Date: Sept. 3, 2021
From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 7,847 words
Lexile Measure: 1370L

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Abstract :

Parrotfishes (Labridae: Scarini) and groupers (Epinephelidae) are important fish groups that are regarded as the fisheries targets of primary importance in coral reefs. In order to establish ecosystem-based management of these two fish groups, clarifying the spatial distribution relative to habitat characteristics is of central importance. The present study investigated the spatial distributions of 12 parrotfishes species and seven groupers species in relation to environmental characteristics in an Okinawan coral reef. Ten out of the 12 parrotfish species and all seven grouper species showed species-specific spatial distributions. Four substrate types in the inner reefs (branching Acropora, bottlebrush Acropora, dead branching Acropora, and dead bottlebrush Acropora), three substrate types in the exposed reefs (massive coral, other coral, and calcium carbonate substratum), and water depth showed significant associations with the spatial distribution of fishes. Among the 12 parrotfish species, two species (Scarus spinus and S. forsteni) and four species (S. psittacus, S. hypselopterus, S. dimidiatus and S. ghobban) were primarily found in exposed reefs and inner reefs, respectively. Among the seven grouper species, two species (Cephalopholis argus and C. urodeta) and two other species (C. miniata and Epinephelus ongus) were primarily found in exposed reefs and inner reefs, respectively. Size-related spatial distribution was also found for three parrotfish species (Chlorurus microrhinos, Scarus rivulatus and S. hypselopterus), indicating that smaller-sized and larger-sized individuals were respectively found at sites with greater coverage of substrates with fine structure (live bottlebrush Acropora and dead bottlebrush Acropora) and coarse structure (live branching Acropora, dead branching Acropora and calcium carbonate substratum). The present study suggested that the spatial distribution of parrotfishes and groupers is not necessarily associated with the higher coverage of living corals, but positively associated with high substrate complexity. Thus, actual spatial distributional patterns of species should be considered to select candidate sites for protection and conservation for the two fish groups.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A674159029