Mangroves as fish habitat: 50 Years of field studies

Craig H. Faunce, Joseph E. Serafy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Mangroves dominate undisturbed natural shorelines of many sub-tropical and tropical regions, yet their utilization by fishes is poorly understood. To provide the first comprehensive list of empirical field studies for comparative and reference purposes, we assembled and quantified aspects of 111 mangrove-fish surveys published between 1955 and 2005. Differences in the location, purpose, methodology, data gathered, and analyses performed among studies have resulted in a fragmented literature making cross-study comparisons difficult, at best. Although the number of published studies has increased over time, a geographical bias in the literature has persisted towards studies performed in the USA and Australia, and against studies performed in Southeast Asia and West Africa. The typical survey design has examined <10 fixed locations on a monthly or bimonthly basis for a period of less than 2 yr. Water temperature and salinity measurements have been the most reported habitat variables; others, such as structural and landscape measures, continue to be rare. Moreover, the focus to date has been on identifying assemblage-level patterns of fish use, with very few studies providing species-specific estimates of abundance, growth, mortality, and secondary production. Unless future studies strive towards obtaining such estimates, gauging the importance of mangroves as fish habitat and their broader contribution to ecosystem diversity and production will remain elusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
StatePublished - Aug 3 2006


  • Essential fish habitat
  • Fishes
  • Mangroves
  • Nursery
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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