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Ecological versatility and its importance for the distribution and abundance of coral reef wrasses
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
2012 (English)In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, ISSN 0171-8630, E-ISSN 1616-1599, Vol. 461, 151-163 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ecological versatility, the degree to which organisms fully exploit the available resources, is an important component of ecological and evolutionary theory. However, patterns and consequences of versatility in coral reef fish have received little attention. Using a comparative approach, this study tested the consequences of ecological versatility on the distribution and abundance of juvenile wrasses (family: Labridae) in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea. Resource use was examined along 4 different resource axes (horizontal distribution or reef zone, vertical distribution or depth, microhabitat and diet). Stepwise multiple regressions were used to test for relationships between niche breadth and patterns of abundance and distribution. Most exhibited a degree of apparent specialisation on at least one resource, but none were specialised along all resource axes. In terms of juvenile diet, the majority of species exhibited a high reliance on harpacticoid copepods. Microhabitat specialisation was associated with low local abundance and narrow distribution among depth zones. However, diet and macrohabitat specialisation were poor predictors of local abundance, and no relationships between local abundance, and local and regional distribution were observed. We conclude that the relationship between versatility and abundance/distribution is dependent on the resource in question. A greater understanding of the degree of ecological versatility in relation to different resources is necessary to predict how reef fishes will respond to escalating human impacts on coral reefs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 461, 151-163 p.
Keyword [en]
Coral reef fish, Depth distribution, Diet, Habitat use, Harpacticoid copepods, Specialisation, Labridae
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81305DOI: 10.3354/meps09788ISI: 000307354700012OAI: diva2:560787


Available from: 2012-10-15 Created: 2012-10-15 Last updated: 2012-10-15Bibliographically approved

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Berkström, Charlotte
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