Diurnal temporal patterns of the diversity and the abundance of reef fishes in a branching coral patch in New Caledonia

Type Article
Date 2016-11
Language English
Author(s) Mallet Delphine1, 2, Vigliola Laurent3, Wantiez Laurent2, Pelletier DominiqueORCID1, 4
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Unite Rech Lagons Ecosyst & Aquaculture Durable N, Noumea, New Caledonia.
2 : Univ Nouvelle Caledonie, EA LIVE 4243, Noumea, New Caledonia.
3 : IRD, UMR ENTROPIE, Lab Excellence LABEX Corail, Noumea, New Caledonia.
4 : Lab Excellence LABEX Corail, Perpignan, France.
Source Austral Ecology (1442-9985) (Wiley-blackwell), 2016-11 , Vol. 41 , N. 7 , P. 733-744
DOI 10.1111/aec.12360
WOS© Times Cited 9
Keyword(s) coral reef fish, high-frequency sampling, patterns, temporal variation, underwater video
Abstract Small-scale spatial and temporal variability in animal abundance is an intrinsic characteristic of marine ecosystems but remains largely unknown for most animals, including coral reef fishes. In this study, we used a remote autonomous unbaited video system and recorded reef fish assemblages during daylight hours, 10 times a day for 34 consecutive days in a branching coral patch of the lagoon of New Caledonia. In total, 50 031 fish observations belonging to 114 taxa, 66 genera and 31 families were recorded in 256 recorded videos. Carnivores and herbivore-detritus feeders dominated the trophic structure. We found significant variations in the composition of fish assemblages between times of day. Taxa richness and fish abundance were greater in the early morning and in the late afternoon than during the day. Fourteen taxa displayed well-defined temporal patterns in abundance with one taxon influenced by time of day, six influenced by tidal state and seven influenced by both time of day and tidal state. None of these 14 taxa were piscivores, 10 were herbivore-detritus feeders, three were carnivores and one was plankton feeder. Our results suggest a diel migration from feeding grounds to shelter areas and highlight the importance of taking into account small-scale temporal variability in animal diversity and abundance when studying connectivity between habitats and monitoring communities.
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