Reef microhabitats mediate fish feeding intensity and agonistic interactions at Príncipe Island Biosphere Reserve, Tropical Eastern Atlantic

Angela Marina Canterle, Lucas Teixeira Nunes, Luisa Fontoura, Hugulay Albuquerque Maia, Sergio Ricardo Floeter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The benthic assemblage of reefs provides an important resource of food and habitat for reef fishes. However, how benthic composition mediates reef fishes' biotic interactions at isolated environments such as oceanic islands remains largely unknown. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of four different reef microhabitats over biological interactions of fishes in an understudied oceanic island, Príncipe Island. For that, we recorded a total of 46 Underwater Remote Videos (RUVs) to document benthic composition and fishes' trophic and agonistic interactions. We used benthic cover estimates to group the samples into four microhabitats (dominated by epilithic algal matrix [EAM], sand/rock, corals and sponges), then quantified fishes' trophic and agonistic interactions in each microhabitat. All microhabitats presented a different structure of trophic and agonistic interactions of the fish assemblage. Feeding pressure (FP) and agonistic interactions were higher on the EAM microhabitat and lower in coral microhabitat. Herbivores were the main responsible group for the FP in all microhabitats. Territorial damselfishes used microhabitats differently for both trophic and agonistic interactions. We demonstrated that reef fish diversity and intensity of biotic interactions varied according the spatial distribution of benthic resources, which suggests that benthic composition plays an important role on structuring biological interactions at isolated reef systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12609
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Ecology
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • agonistic interactions
  • biodiversity hotspot
  • Gulf of Guinea
  • oceanic islands
  • trophic interactions

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