SS1.10 Marine Protected Areas: Critical tools for Marine Biodiversity Conservation
Date: Monday, June 10, 2002
Time: 3:00:00 PM
Location: Esquimalt
 
SemmensBX, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, semmens@u.washington.edu
Brumbaugh, D, B, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA, brumba@amnh.org
Drew, J, , Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, USA, jdrew@wcs.org
 
COUPLING HABITAT AND HOME RANGE SIZE IN REEF FISH: IMPLICATIONS FOR MARINE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
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Effective conservation of mobile species hinges on matching the size of protected areas with organisms' movement patterns. Reef fish can be highly mobile; furthermore, their mobility varies among species and across habitats. To accurately characterize the patterns of movement in reef fish, it is necessary to consider the effect of habitat characteristics. We visually surveyed movements of blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), a common herbivorous Caribbean reef fish, over two distinct habitat types: pavement and reef crest. Surveys were conducted on Andros Island, Bahamas, during August 2000. Global Positioning System units were used to spatially reference the location of fish at regular time intervals. A minimum convex polygon home-range analysis indicated that the average home-range of blue tang on pavement was more than twice as large as the home-range of tang on reef-crest. Our results suggest that home-range size is inversely related to biogenic structure. Given the heterogeneity of reefs, and current rates of environmental change, a description of fish movement as a function of habitat is an important management tool.