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Scale-dependent patterns of variability of a grazing parrotfish (Leptoscarus vaigiensis) in a tropical seagrass-dominated seascape
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
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2011 (English)In: Marine Biology, ISSN 0025-3162, E-ISSN 1432-1793, Vol. 158, no 7, 1483-1495 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although herbivorous fish form critical linkages between primary producers and higher trophic levels, the major factors regulating their spatial structure in seagrass systems remain poorly understood. The present study examined the parrotfish Leptoscarus vaigiensis in seagrass meadows of a tropical embayment in the western Indian Ocean. Stomach content analysis and direct field observations showed that L. vaigiensis is an efficient grazer, feeding almost exclusively on seagrass leaves. Seagrass shoot density was highly correlated to all density variables (total, juvenile and subadult) and juvenile biomass of L. vaigiensis, while subadult biomass was predicted by distance to neighbouring coral habitat. Moreover, density and biomass of predatory fish (piscivores) were predicted by seagrass canopy height and the distribution patterns of predators followed those of L. vaigiensis. Hence, factors at local (seagrass structural complexity and feeding mode) and landscape scale levels (seascape context and distribution of piscivores) likely mutually structure herbivorous fish communities. The findings underscore the importance of incorporating multiple scale-dependent factors when managing coastal seagrass ecosystems and their associated key species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 158, no 7, 1483-1495 p.
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-66998DOI: 10.1007/s00227-011-1665-zISI: 000291922200005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-66998DiVA: diva2:470032
Note
5Available from: 2011-12-28 Created: 2011-12-22 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ecological connectivity in East African seascapes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecological connectivity in East African seascapes
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves constitute a complex mosaic of habitats referred to as the tropical seascape. Great gaps exist in the knowledge of how these systems are interconnected. This thesis sets out to examine ecological connectivity, i.e. the connectedness of ecological processes across multiple scales, in Zanzibar and Mafia Island, Tanzania. Paper I examined the current knowledge of interlinkages and their effect on seascape functioning, revealing that there are surprisingly few studies on the influences of cross-habitat interactions and food-web ecology. Furthermore, 50% of all fish species use more than one habitat and 18% of all coral reef fish species use mangrove or seagrass beds as juvenile habitat in Zanzibar. Paper II examined the seascape of Menai Bay, Zanzibar using a landscape ecology approach and studied the relationship between fish and landscape variables. The amount of seagrass within 750m of a coral reef site was correlated with increased invertebrate feeder/piscivore fish abundance, especially Lethrinidae and Lutjanidae, which are known to perform ontogenetic and feeding migrations. Within patch seagrass cover was correlated with nursery species abundance. Paper III focused on a seagrass-dominated seascape in Chwaka Bay, Zanzibar and showed that small-scale habitat complexity (shoot height and density) as well as large-scale variables such as distance to coral reefs affected abundance and distribution of a common seagrass parrotfish Leptoscarus vaigiensis. Paper IV studied the connectivity and functional role of two snappers (Lutjanus fulviflamma and L. ehrenbergii) using stable isotopes (δ15N and δ13C) and found that connectivity between habitats was maintained by ontogenetic and foraging migrations by these species. The thesis concludes that ecological connectivity and multi-habitat usage by fish is a general and important characteristic in the Western Indian Ocean and should be considered in management planning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 2012. 39 p.
Keyword
fish, functional group, food-web interactions, nursery, coral, seagrass, mangrove, landscape ecology
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75194 (URN)978-91-7447-477-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-05-25, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2012-05-03 Created: 2012-04-11 Last updated: 2013-04-08Bibliographically approved

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