San Diego State University Department of Biology
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Habitat associations and aggregation of recruit surgeonfishes on Hawaiian coral reefs (funded by NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program; NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation; SDSU Department of Biology)  

For recently settled reef fishes, shelter is an important component of reef habitats that offers protection from predators. The importance of this physical structure was assessed relative to the potential structure provided by associations with conspecific and heterospecific fishesOn the northwest side of the Big Island of Hawaii, Ed DeMartini (NOAA Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center) and Todd Anderson (SDSU) explored the associations of recruits of two surgeonfishes with physical and biological structure  --  the yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) and the goldring surgeonfish (Ctenochaetus strigosus) -- among corals and with associated fishes.

Both surgeonfishes associated strongly with finger coral (Porites compressa) and also aggregated in groups (two or more individuals) at a frequency greater than expected by a random distribution. Because interactions between habitat structure and aggregative behaviors have the potential to importantly modify the survivorship of recruits that may influence year-class strength, they merit further study.


Photos by Julia Leung

This page was last modified on May 10, 2012.  

SDSU Fish Ecology Lab

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