Habitat change mediates the response of coral reef fish populations to terrestrial run-off

Christopher J. Brown, Stacy D. Jupiter, Hsien-Yung Lin, Simon Albert, Carissa Klein, Joseph M. Maina, Vivitskaia J. D. Tulloch, Amelia S. Wenger, Peter J. Mumby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Coastal fish populations are typically threatened by multiple human activities, including fishing pressure and run-off of terrestrial pollution. Linking multiple threats to their impacts on fish populations is challenging because the threats may influence a species directly, or indirectly, via its habitats and its interactions with other species. Here we examine spatial variation in abundance of coral reef fish across gradients of fishing pressure and turbidity in Fiji. We explicitly account for multiple pathways of influence to test the alternative hypotheses that (1) habitat moderates predation by providing shelter, so habitat loss only affects prey fish populations if there are abundant predators, (2) habitat change co-drives biomass of both prey and predator functional groups. We examined responses of 7 fish functional groups and found that habitat change co-drives both predator and prey responses to turbidity. Abundances of all functional groups were associated with changes in habitat cover; however, the responses of their habitats to turbidity were mixed. Planktivore and piscivore abundance were lower in areas of high turbidity, because cover of their preferred habitats was lower. Invertivore, browser and grazer abundance did not change strongly over the turbidity gradient, because different components of their habitats exhibited both increases and decreases with turbidity. The effects of turbidity on fish populations were minor in areas where fish populations were already depleted by fishing. These findings suggest that terrestrial run-off modifies the composition of reef fish communities indirectly by affecting the benthic habitats that reef fish use.

LanguageEnglish
Pages55-68
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume576
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2017

Fingerprint

coral reefs
coral reef
turbidity
runoff
habitat
fish
habitats
functional group
fishing
predator
predators
reefs
reef
planktivore
piscivore
Fiji
habitat loss
habitat destruction
shelter
anthropogenic activities

Keywords

  • Coral reef fisheries
  • Fiji
  • Integrated coastal management
  • Land-use change
  • Trophic-cascade

Cite this

Brown, Christopher J. ; Jupiter, Stacy D. ; Lin, Hsien-Yung ; Albert, Simon ; Klein, Carissa ; Maina, Joseph M. ; Tulloch, Vivitskaia J. D. ; Wenger, Amelia S. ; Mumby, Peter J. / Habitat change mediates the response of coral reef fish populations to terrestrial run-off. In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. 2017 ; Vol. 576. pp. 55-68.
@article{3e530ab0684c495194f3f5bb5975ee5a,
title = "Habitat change mediates the response of coral reef fish populations to terrestrial run-off",
abstract = "Coastal fish populations are typically threatened by multiple human activities, including fishing pressure and run-off of terrestrial pollution. Linking multiple threats to their impacts on fish populations is challenging because the threats may influence a species directly, or indirectly, via its habitats and its interactions with other species. Here we examine spatial variation in abundance of coral reef fish across gradients of fishing pressure and turbidity in Fiji. We explicitly account for multiple pathways of influence to test the alternative hypotheses that (1) habitat moderates predation by providing shelter, so habitat loss only affects prey fish populations if there are abundant predators, (2) habitat change co-drives biomass of both prey and predator functional groups. We examined responses of 7 fish functional groups and found that habitat change co-drives both predator and prey responses to turbidity. Abundances of all functional groups were associated with changes in habitat cover; however, the responses of their habitats to turbidity were mixed. Planktivore and piscivore abundance were lower in areas of high turbidity, because cover of their preferred habitats was lower. Invertivore, browser and grazer abundance did not change strongly over the turbidity gradient, because different components of their habitats exhibited both increases and decreases with turbidity. The effects of turbidity on fish populations were minor in areas where fish populations were already depleted by fishing. These findings suggest that terrestrial run-off modifies the composition of reef fish communities indirectly by affecting the benthic habitats that reef fish use.",
keywords = "Coral reef fisheries, Fiji, Integrated coastal management, Land-use change, Trophic-cascade",
author = "Brown, {Christopher J.} and Jupiter, {Stacy D.} and Hsien-Yung Lin and Simon Albert and Carissa Klein and Maina, {Joseph M.} and Tulloch, {Vivitskaia J. D.} and Wenger, {Amelia S.} and Mumby, {Peter J.}",
year = "2017",
month = "8",
day = "3",
doi = "10.3354/meps12221",
language = "English",
volume = "576",
pages = "55--68",
journal = "Marine Ecology Progress Series",
issn = "0171-8630",
publisher = "Inter-Research",

}

Brown, CJ, Jupiter, SD, Lin, H-Y, Albert, S, Klein, C, Maina, JM, Tulloch, VJD, Wenger, AS & Mumby, PJ 2017, 'Habitat change mediates the response of coral reef fish populations to terrestrial run-off', Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 576, pp. 55-68. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12221

Habitat change mediates the response of coral reef fish populations to terrestrial run-off. / Brown, Christopher J.; Jupiter, Stacy D.; Lin, Hsien-Yung; Albert, Simon; Klein, Carissa; Maina, Joseph M.; Tulloch, Vivitskaia J. D.; Wenger, Amelia S.; Mumby, Peter J.

In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 576, 03.08.2017, p. 55-68.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Habitat change mediates the response of coral reef fish populations to terrestrial run-off

AU - Brown, Christopher J.

AU - Jupiter, Stacy D.

AU - Lin, Hsien-Yung

AU - Albert, Simon

AU - Klein, Carissa

AU - Maina, Joseph M.

AU - Tulloch, Vivitskaia J. D.

AU - Wenger, Amelia S.

AU - Mumby, Peter J.

PY - 2017/8/3

Y1 - 2017/8/3

N2 - Coastal fish populations are typically threatened by multiple human activities, including fishing pressure and run-off of terrestrial pollution. Linking multiple threats to their impacts on fish populations is challenging because the threats may influence a species directly, or indirectly, via its habitats and its interactions with other species. Here we examine spatial variation in abundance of coral reef fish across gradients of fishing pressure and turbidity in Fiji. We explicitly account for multiple pathways of influence to test the alternative hypotheses that (1) habitat moderates predation by providing shelter, so habitat loss only affects prey fish populations if there are abundant predators, (2) habitat change co-drives biomass of both prey and predator functional groups. We examined responses of 7 fish functional groups and found that habitat change co-drives both predator and prey responses to turbidity. Abundances of all functional groups were associated with changes in habitat cover; however, the responses of their habitats to turbidity were mixed. Planktivore and piscivore abundance were lower in areas of high turbidity, because cover of their preferred habitats was lower. Invertivore, browser and grazer abundance did not change strongly over the turbidity gradient, because different components of their habitats exhibited both increases and decreases with turbidity. The effects of turbidity on fish populations were minor in areas where fish populations were already depleted by fishing. These findings suggest that terrestrial run-off modifies the composition of reef fish communities indirectly by affecting the benthic habitats that reef fish use.

AB - Coastal fish populations are typically threatened by multiple human activities, including fishing pressure and run-off of terrestrial pollution. Linking multiple threats to their impacts on fish populations is challenging because the threats may influence a species directly, or indirectly, via its habitats and its interactions with other species. Here we examine spatial variation in abundance of coral reef fish across gradients of fishing pressure and turbidity in Fiji. We explicitly account for multiple pathways of influence to test the alternative hypotheses that (1) habitat moderates predation by providing shelter, so habitat loss only affects prey fish populations if there are abundant predators, (2) habitat change co-drives biomass of both prey and predator functional groups. We examined responses of 7 fish functional groups and found that habitat change co-drives both predator and prey responses to turbidity. Abundances of all functional groups were associated with changes in habitat cover; however, the responses of their habitats to turbidity were mixed. Planktivore and piscivore abundance were lower in areas of high turbidity, because cover of their preferred habitats was lower. Invertivore, browser and grazer abundance did not change strongly over the turbidity gradient, because different components of their habitats exhibited both increases and decreases with turbidity. The effects of turbidity on fish populations were minor in areas where fish populations were already depleted by fishing. These findings suggest that terrestrial run-off modifies the composition of reef fish communities indirectly by affecting the benthic habitats that reef fish use.

KW - Coral reef fisheries

KW - Fiji

KW - Integrated coastal management

KW - Land-use change

KW - Trophic-cascade

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85026869059&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - https://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/title/1509329973455/89083

U2 - 10.3354/meps12221

DO - 10.3354/meps12221

M3 - Article

VL - 576

SP - 55

EP - 68

JO - Marine Ecology Progress Series

T2 - Marine Ecology Progress Series

JF - Marine Ecology Progress Series

SN - 0171-8630

ER -