Spatial behavior of two coral reef fishes within a Caribbean marine protected area

Garcia, J.; Mourier, J.; Lenfant, P.

Marine Environmental Research 109: 41-51


ISSN/ISBN: 1879-0291
PMID: 26100078
DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2015.06.004
Accession: 058882561

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A better understanding of the key ecological processes of marine organisms is fundamental to improving design and effective implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine biodiversity. The movement behavior of coral reef fish is a complex mechanism that is highly linked to species life-history traits, predation risk and food resources. We used passive acoustic telemetry to study monthly, daily and hourly movement patterns and space use in two species, Schoolmaster snapper (Lutjanus apodus) and Stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride). We investigated the spatial overlap between the two species and compared intra-specific spatial overlap between day and night. Presence-absence models showed different diel presence and habitat use patterns between the two species. We constructed a spatial network of the movement patterns, which showed that for both species when fish were detected by the array of receivers most movements were made around the coral reef habitat while occasionally moving to silt habitats. Our results show that most individuals made predictable daily crepuscular migrations between different locations and habitat types, although individual behavioral changes were observed for some individuals across time. Our study also highlights the necessity to consider multiple species during MPA implementation and to take into account the specific biological and ecological traits of each species. The low number of fish detected within the receiver array, as well as the intraspecific variability observed in this study, highlight the need to compare results across species and individuals to be used for MPA management.