Many species of coral reef fish undertake ontogenetic migrations between seagrass beds, mangroves, and coral reefs. A recent study from the Caribbean found that the availability of mangrove nursery habitat had a striking impact on the community structure and biomass of reef fish in their adult, coral reef habitat. The biomass of several species more than doubled when the reefs were connected to rich mangrove resources (defined as having at least 70 km of fringing Rhizophora mangle within a region of 200 km 2 ). Here, the results of this large-scale empirical study are translated into a series of algorithms for use in natural resource management planning. Four algorithms are described that identify (i) the relative importance of mangrove nursery sites, (ii) the connectivity of individual reefs to mangrove nurseries, (iii) areas of nursery habitat that have an unusually large importance to specific reefs, and (iv) priority sites for mangrove reforestation projects. The algorithms generate a connectivity matrix among mangroves and coral reefs that facilitates the identification of connected corridors of habitats within a dynamic planning environment (e.g., reserve selection algorithms).
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2006
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