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Changes in Structure of Coral Reef Fish Communities by Destruction of Hermatypic Corals: Observational and Experimental Views

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Title: Changes in Structure of Coral Reef Fish Communities by Destruction of Hermatypic Corals: Observational and Experimental Views
Authors: Sano, Mitsuhiko
Shimizu, Makoto
Nose, Yukio
Issue Date: Jan 1984
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Sano M, Shimizu M, Nose Y. 1984. Changes in structure of coral reef fish communities by destruction of hermatypic corals: observational and experimental views. Pac Sci 38(1): 51-79.
Abstract: Population outbursts of the crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster
planci, have drastically altered communities in many coral reef areas of
the Indo-west Pacific since the late 1960s. To understand the pattern of changes
in fish communities on damaged coral colonies, direct observations and field
experiments were carried out in inshore waters at Minatogawa, Okinawa Island
(26°16' N, 127°42' E), in 1979 and 1980. From experiments on the effects of coral
death and on the effects of decreased structural complexity of coral branches on
fish communities using five colonies of staghorn coral, Acropora sp., we were
able to predict the following changes in fish communities resulting from the
destruction of living corals by Acanthaster. Coral polyp feeders completely
disappear from dead coral colonies due to absence of their food; and the
numbers of resident species and individuals decrease due to the reduction in living
space or shelter when the structural complexity of dead coral colonies is decreased
by bio- and physical erosion. Consequently, fish species diversity also
decreases. These predicted changes are consonant with those directly observed
on nine natural dead staghorn coral colonies.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/755
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 38, Number 1, 1984



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