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Isolated reefs support stable fish communities with high abundances of regionally fished species

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dc.contributor Indian Ocean Marine Res Ctr
dc.contributor Australian Institute Of Marine Science
dc.contributor Oceans Inst
dc.contributor Govt Western Australia
dc.contributor Australian Inst Marine Sci
dc.contributor Western Australian Fisheries & Marine Res Labs
dc.contributor Curtin University
dc.contributor Dept Biodivers Conservat & Attract
dc.contributor Government Of Western Australia
dc.contributor Marine Sci Program
dc.contributor Univ Western Australia
dc.contributor Curtin Univ
dc.contributor University Of Western Australia
dc.contributor Sch Mol & Life Sci
dc.contributor Dept Primary Ind & Reg Dev HEYWARD, ANDREW BIRT, MATTHEW J. CURE, KATHERINE NEWMAN, STEPHEN J. MEEKAN, MARK SPEED, CONRAD GOETZE, JORDAN GILMOUR, JAMES WILSON, SHAUN HARVEY, EUAN S. 2021-04-04T18:50:09Z 2021-04-04T18:50:09Z 2021-04-19T05:26:52Z 2021-04-04T18:50:09Z 2021-04-04T18:50:09Z 2021-04-19T05:26:52Z 2021-03-16
dc.identifier.citation Birt MJ, Cure K, Wilson S, Newman SJ, Harvey ES, Meekan M, Speed C, Heyward A, Goetze J, Gilmour J (2021) Isolated reefs support stable fish communities with high abundances of regionally fished species. Ecology and Evolution (early online)
dc.identifier.issn 2045-7758
dc.description.abstract Anthropogenic impacts at isolated and inaccessible reefs are often minimal, offering rare opportunities to observe fish assemblages in a relatively undisturbed state. The remote Rowley Shoals are regarded as one of the healthiest reef systems in the Indian Ocean with demonstrated resilience to natural disturbance, no permanent human population nearby, low visitation rates, and large protected areas where fishing prohibitions are enforced. We used baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) to quantify fish assemblages and the relative abundance of regionally fished species within the lagoon, on the slope and in the mesophotic habitat at the Rowley Shoals at three times spanning 14 years and compared abundances of regionally fished species and the length distributions of predatory species to other isolated reefs in the northeast Indian Ocean. Fish assemblage composition and the relative abundance of regionally fished species were remarkably stable through time. We recorded high abundances of regionally fished species relative to other isolated reefs, including globally threatened humphead Maori wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) and bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum). Length distributions of fish differed among habitats at the Rowley Shoals, suggesting differences in ontogenetic shifts among species. The Cocos (Keeling) Islands typically had larger-bodied predatory species than at the Rowley Shoals. Differences in geomorphology, lagoonal habitats, and fishing history likely contribute to the differences among remote reefs. Rowley Shoals is a rare example of a reef system demonstrating ecological stability in reef fish assemblages during a time of unprecedented degradation of coral reefs.
dc.description.sponsorship Santos and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Grant/Award Number: RSA20170606; Woodside Energy Limited; Shell Australia Pty Limited; INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG Project; Global FinPrint
dc.language English
dc.subject Ecology
dc.subject Bruvs
dc.subject Fish Assemblages
dc.subject Stereo&#8208
dc.subject Temporal Stability
dc.subject Environmental Sciences & Ecology
dc.subject Evolutionary Biology
dc.subject Remote Reefs
dc.subject Baselines
dc.subject Endangered Fish
dc.title Isolated reefs support stable fish communities with high abundances of regionally fished species
dc.type journal article
dc.identifier.doi 10.1002/ece3.7370
dc.identifier.wos WOS:000629262600001

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