Characterization of tropical near-shore fish communities by coastal habitat status on spatially complex island systems

Vanessa L. Nero, Kathleen Sealey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a protocol for characterizing near-shore fish habitat as well as fish communities for Andros Island, Bahamas, a complex coastal-reef island system. Benthic assessments and beach seine surveys were carried out at sites varying in coastal and benthic characteristics. Temporal variability affected fish community composition, indicating that attempts to characterize a fish community should include sampling evenly across tides, times of day, and seasons. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that each site harbored a unique fish community, with the greatest variability within each site attributed to seasonal changes. Measures of diversity (Shannon-Weiner Index and number of species) were markedly different at sites with varying coverage of seagrass and macro-algae and extents of disturbance. Total abundance of fishes was positively related to the percent of bare sand. We suggest that thorough sampling of coastal fish communities can be applied to comparative and long-term studies. This protocol for the characterization of complex island habitats can be applied to ecological studies aimed at understanding the responses of fishes to small-scale changes in coastal areas and habitat structure due to land use and shoreline alterations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-444
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Volume73
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

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habitat
fish
habitats
algae
Bahamas
beaches
tides
reefs
macroalga
land use
fish communities
sand
habitat structure
sampling
seagrass
community composition
shoreline
tide
reef
beach

Keywords

  • Beach seines
  • Community composition
  • Sampling
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

Cite this

Characterization of tropical near-shore fish communities by coastal habitat status on spatially complex island systems. / Nero, Vanessa L.; Sealey, Kathleen.

In: Environmental Biology of Fishes, Vol. 73, No. 4, 01.08.2005, p. 437-444.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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