Seagrass patch size affects fish responses to edges

Smith, Timothy M., Hindell, Jeremy S., Jenkins, Greg P. and Connolly, Rod M. 2010, Seagrass patch size affects fish responses to edges, Journal of animal ecology, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 275-281, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2009.01605.x.

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Title Seagrass patch size affects fish responses to edges
Author(s) Smith, Timothy M.ORCID iD for Smith, Timothy M.
Hindell, Jeremy S.
Jenkins, Greg P.
Connolly, Rod M.
Journal name Journal of animal ecology
Volume number 79
Issue number 1
Start page 275
End page 281
Total pages 7
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2010-01
ISSN 0021-8790
Keyword(s) edge effects
landscape structure
patch size
Summary 1. Patch area and proximity of patch edge can influence ecological processes across patchy landscapes and may interact with each other. Different patch sizes have different amounts of core habitat, potentially affecting animal abundances at the edge and middle of patches. In this study, we tested if edge effects varied with patch size.

2. Fish were sampled in 10 various-sized seagrass patches (114–5934 m2) using a small (0·5 m2) push net in three positions within each patch: the seagrass edge, 2 m into a patch and in the middle of a patch.

3. The two most common species showed an interaction between patch size and the edge–interior difference in abundance. In the smallest patches, pipefish (Stigmatopora nigra) were at similar densities at the edge and interior, but with increasing patch size, the density at the edge habitat increased. For gobies (Nesogobius maccullochi), the pattern was exactly the opposite.

4. This is the first example from a marine system of how patch size can influence the magnitude and pattern of edge effects.

5. Both patch area and edge effects need to be considered in the development of conservation and management strategies for seagrass habitats.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2009.01605.x
Field of Research 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
050102 Ecosystem Function
050104 Landscape Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, The Authors
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