CS12 Coral Reefs
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Location: Poster Session - VCC
 
ZuluagaAB, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, anabellazuluaga@hotmail.com
Toledo-Hernandez, C, , University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, 
López-Rivera, M, , University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, 
Sabat, A, M, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, 
 
SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT SELECTION OF CORAL REEF FISH RECRUITS IN WESTERN PUERTO RICO.
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We compared habitat selection in five taxa of coral reef fish recruits within three reefs in Western Puerto Rico. We also measured recruitment of four of these taxa in hard ground habitats at different distances from the shoreline. To quantify recruitment, four aggregators were placed in each of three habitats (sea grass, hard ground, fore reef) and replicated in three reefs. To measure the effect of distance from shoreline on recruitment, we placed four aggregators only within the hard ground habitat at three different distances from the shoreline: nearshore, intermediate and offshore. Aggregators were sampled once a month for a four month period. Paraclinus sp., Haemulon sp., Acanthurus sp., and Thalassoma sp. recruited at significantly higher numbers in the sea grass habitat. S. lepicoelia, showed no preference among habitats. We hypothesized that the preference for the sea grass habitat is a consequence of low predation, high food availability and shelter for the recruits. We found significant differences among reefs, with each taxa exhibiting a different pattern. We also found a significant effect of distance from shoreline on recruitment. Thalassoma sp. recruited at the intermediate and offshore sites and was absent from the nearshore sites. Acanthurus sp. recruited more on the nearshore sites. S. lepicoelia showed no significant differences in recruitment among shoreline sites. This is probably related to the fact that they have demersal eggs and therefore has non planktonic larval stage.