Microhabitat characteristics of Stegastes planifrons and S. adustus territories

Microhabitat characteristics of Stegastes planifrons and S. adustus territories Stegastes adustus and Stegastes planifrons are two species of damselfishes commonly found in the Caribbean. These territorial fishes have been widely studied due to their major ecological role on coral reef in controlling the growth of macroalgae that compete with corals for space and, inversely, on their deleterious role in destroying coral tissues to impulse the development of algae. However, few studies were conducted on the biotic and abiotic components of their territories. In the present study, territory size and surfaces of benthic components (macroalgae, algal turf, massive corals, branching corals, Milleporidae, sponges, sand and rubbles) were estimated for the two species at two contrasted sites. At Ilet Pigeon site (IP), the two damselfishes were found at different depth and exhibited different territory sizes. S. adustus defended a larger territory characterized by massive corals, sand and Milleporidae, while S. planifrons territories were smaller, deeper and characterized by branching corals, sponges and rubble. At Passe-à-Colas site (PC), the two fish species coexisted in the same depth range and defended territories of similar size. Their territories presented higher proportions of macroalgae, but smaller surfaces of Milleporidae than at IP. At PC, the main difference between the two species was a higher surface of massive corals inside S. planifrons territories than S. adustus territories. Differences in microhabitat characteristics between the two Stegastes seemed mostly site related. This resulted from the high plasticity of two species, allowing them to persist on Caribbean coral reefs after the decline of most branching acroporids, their former favorite habitats. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Environmental Biology of Fishes Springer Journals

Microhabitat characteristics of Stegastes planifrons and S. adustus territories

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature
Subject
Life Sciences; Freshwater & Marine Ecology; Zoology; Animal Systematics/Taxonomy/Biogeography; Environment, general; Nature Conservation
ISSN
0378-1909
eISSN
1573-5133
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10641-017-0709-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Stegastes adustus and Stegastes planifrons are two species of damselfishes commonly found in the Caribbean. These territorial fishes have been widely studied due to their major ecological role on coral reef in controlling the growth of macroalgae that compete with corals for space and, inversely, on their deleterious role in destroying coral tissues to impulse the development of algae. However, few studies were conducted on the biotic and abiotic components of their territories. In the present study, territory size and surfaces of benthic components (macroalgae, algal turf, massive corals, branching corals, Milleporidae, sponges, sand and rubbles) were estimated for the two species at two contrasted sites. At Ilet Pigeon site (IP), the two damselfishes were found at different depth and exhibited different territory sizes. S. adustus defended a larger territory characterized by massive corals, sand and Milleporidae, while S. planifrons territories were smaller, deeper and characterized by branching corals, sponges and rubble. At Passe-à-Colas site (PC), the two fish species coexisted in the same depth range and defended territories of similar size. Their territories presented higher proportions of macroalgae, but smaller surfaces of Milleporidae than at IP. At PC, the main difference between the two species was a higher surface of massive corals inside S. planifrons territories than S. adustus territories. Differences in microhabitat characteristics between the two Stegastes seemed mostly site related. This resulted from the high plasticity of two species, allowing them to persist on Caribbean coral reefs after the decline of most branching acroporids, their former favorite habitats.

Journal

Environmental Biology of FishesSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 13, 2017

References

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