San Diego State University Department of Biology
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Recruit-habitat associations in the Main and Northwest Hawaiian Islands (funded by NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation) 




Several studies have documented relationships between the distribution and abundance of fishes and the habitats in which they reside. Surprisingly, there has been little information on the relationship between young recruits (fish that have recently settled to reefs from a pelagic existence) and coral reef habitats in Hawaii. From 2006 to 2008, Ed DeMartini (NOAA Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center), Todd Anderson (SDSU), Alan Friedlander (Hawaii Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit, University of Hawaii), and Jim Beets (University of Hawaii, Hilo)  documented recruitment and habitat associations of Hawaiian reef fishes in the Main (Big Island, Oahu) and Northwest (Midway Atoll) Hawaiian Islands. 

The Main Hawaiian Islands represent more coral-rich but predator-poor regions while the Northwest Hawaiian Islands are characterized by relatively coral-poor, predator-rich reefs. The most abundant species recorded during this study were wrasses (Labridae) and parrotfishes (Scaridae). Aggregative behavior and habitat associations of recruits were documented as a function of the densities of piscivores and the magnitude of recruitment. Documenting the input of recently settled fishes at locations bracketing the Hawaiian archipelago has provided a better understanding of the recruitment dynamics of Hawaiian coral reef fishes. 

This page was last modified on May 10, 2012.  

SDSU Fish Ecology Lab

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