• Fish and Coral Community Structure Are Related on Shallow Water Patch Reefs near San Salvador, Bahamas

      Walter, Ryan P.; Haynes, James M.; The College at Brockport (2006-01-01)
      We measured abundance and diversity of fishes and corals at three patch reef complexes near San Salvador, Bahamas, and examined relationships among species and ecological measures of fish and coral community structure. Generalized Discriminant Analyses indicated which ecological variables distinguished reefs and which fish and coral species accounted for observed differences among reefs. Canonical Correlation Analysis revealed relationships between fish and coral species at each reef. Reefs with the greatest coral cover had the highest abundance and species richness of fishes. These results add to studies describing relationships between reef fishes and corals, and establish a benchmark for fish and coral community structures and relationships near San Salvador in the Bahamas during a time of region-wide declines of Caribbean corals.
    • Fish Assemblages Associated with Coral Patch Reef Communities at San Salvador, Bahamas

      Walter, Ryan P.; The College at Brockport (2002-09-01)
      The coral reef ecosystems of tropical seas provide the greatest diversity of all aquatic realms in terms of sheer numbers of species as well as microhabitats. Over the last 30 years, reef fish ecologists have attempted to eludicate processes accounting for the great biodiversity among fishes found on coral reefs. Theories and models ranging from recruitment-based stochastic nonequilibria! assemblages to models based solely on habitat structure have been proposed and debated. However, it is widely accepted that both recruitment and post-settlement processes shape an assemblage of reef fish. My study examined the reef fish assemblages of three contrasting patch coral reefs at San Salvador, Bahamas, and examined the potential role of each - reef's coral community in structuring its fish assemblage. The three reefs were found to differ in terms of coral cover and dominant coral species, but not coral species richness or diversity (H'). Significant differences were also found among fish assemblages, in terms of mean fish counts, species richness, diversity, and counts within families and feeding guilds. The patch reefs at Rice Bay consistently showed lower fish abundance and ??so showed the lowest coral cover. A number of correlations were found linking fish variables with coral variables, especially at relatively impoverished Rice Bay, suggesting associations between reef fish abundance and coral habitat variables such as scleractinian and total coral cover. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) revealed relationships between fish species abundances and select coral variables at Rice Bay and Lindsay Reef. However, establishing strong relationships among fish community and coral community characteristics remains elusive. ii
    • Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) Invade San Salvador, Bahamas: Early Population Characteristics, and Comparisons of the Coral and Fish Communities on Shallow Patch Reefs in 2001 and 2007

      Alexander, Amanda K.; The College at Brockport (2011-08-01)
      Biological invaders are a leading contributor to global losses of biodiversity. A recent invader to the waters surrounding San Salvador, Bahamas, the red lionfish, Pterois volitans, was first reported in 2006; by 2009 they were common in waters 2 - 40 m deep around the island. Among the 5,078 fish observed on shallow patch reefs in 2007, only two were P. volitans; they were much more prevalent in deeper water along San Salvador's "wall." Captured P. volitans ranged in size from 19-32 cm, all longer than maturity length. Pallid goby ( Coryphopterus eidolon), black cap basslet ( Gramma melacara) and red night shrimp (Rynchocienetes rigens) were the most commonly identified stomach contents. My study in 2007 also collected data on coral communities and fish assemblages at three patch reef complexes (Rice Bay, Rocky Point, Lindsay Reef), during the initial phase of the invasion, and compared the results to a similar study done in 2001, before P. volitans colonized San Salvador. Scleractinian and, therefore, total coral species richness decreased significantly from 2001 to 2007; however, coral percentage cover increased significantly by ~50% from 2001 to 2007, probably due to a more precise estimation procedure rather than a real increase in coral cover. Significantly more fish species and numbers were observed in 2007 than in 2001, again probably due to a difference in counting procedures (2.25 more and increasing population of P. volitans on San Salvador's reef ecosystem are uncertain at this time; future monitoring of lionfish and potential changes in coral and fish communities on the patch reefs of San Salvador is recommended.