CS12 Coral Reefs
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Time: 4:15:00 PM
Location: Colwood
 
Pattengill-SemmensCV, Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Seattle, USA, christy@reef.org
Jeffrey, C, F, NOAA/NOS, Biogeography Program, Silver Spring, USA, chris.jeffrey@noaa.gov
Buja, K, , NOAA/NOS, Biogeography Program, Silver Spring, USA, ken.buja@noaa.gov
Monaco, M, , NOAA/NOS, Biogeography Program, Silver Spring, USA, mark.monaco@noaa.gov
 
BENTHIC HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS OF REEF FISHES: COUPLING HABITATS AND FISH DISTRIBUTIONS
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Tropical nearshore areas often contain a variety of complex, non-uniform habitat, and the spatial distribution of various habitat types often mediates the distribution and abundance of tropical fishes. This study documented the spatial and temporal trends in fish distributions among four regions and 23 management zones of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Fish data collected between 1994 and 2001 by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)ís Fish Survey Project were analyzed to test if fish distributions and abundances varied significantly among regions or with protection. Diversity of benthic habitat types, as a measure of habitat heterogeneity, was then calculated from digitized habitat data and used with REEF data in a GIS to evaluate the distribution of fishes among habitat types. Species richness varied significantly among regions but not among paired protected and unprotected sites or across time. Fish distribution and abundance was non-uniform among benthic habitats for some species, and fish-habitat associations varied among several reef fish taxa. Species occurrence probability maps and spatially-explicit GIS prediction models of fish-habitat associations were developed for several species.