I investigated the ability of predators to influence the patterns of species richness and abundance of non-piscivorous fishes on small, artificial reefs replenished by natural recruitment. Periodic removal of predators effectively reduced the species richness and abundance of predators on removal reefs. The difference between the number of predators on control and removal reefs was greatest immediately following the removal of predators and attenuated between removals. During periods of recruitment, species richness and total abundance of recently-recruited, non-piscivorous fishes were generally greater on predator-removal reefs than on control reefs. Species richness and total abundance of resident non-piscivorous fishes were not affected by the removal of predators in the first year of the experiment. Both abundance and species richness of residents, however, were greater on the removal reefs during the second year of the experiment. The difference in the responses of the two age classes to the removal of predators suggests that predators may affect community patterns of older age classes through time-lagged effects on the survivorship of younger age classes. At the end of the experiment, species richness was positively related to abundance for recruits and residents. The effects of removing piscivorous fishes on the abundance of non-piscivorous fishes were similar for species considered separately. A greater number of species of recruit and resident fishes were more abundant on reefs from which predators had been removed. These data suggest that predators can play an important role in structuring communities of fishes on coral reefs.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Physical Sciences ; 2 - Environmental Science ; 3 - Ecology
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Aquatic Science
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics