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Deep-reef fish communities of the Great Barrier Reef shelf-break: trophic structure and habitat associations

Sih, Tiffany L, Daniell, James J, Bridge, Thomas CL, Beaman, Robin J, Cappo, Mike and Kingsford, Michael J 2019, Deep-reef fish communities of the Great Barrier Reef shelf-break: trophic structure and habitat associations, Diversity, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 1-32, doi: 10.3390/d11020026.

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Title Deep-reef fish communities of the Great Barrier Reef shelf-break: trophic structure and habitat associations
Author(s) Sih, Tiffany LORCID iD for Sih, Tiffany L orcid.org/0000-0001-8347-6087
Daniell, James J
Bridge, Thomas CL
Beaman, Robin J
Cappo, Mike
Kingsford, Michael J
Journal name Diversity
Volume number 11
Issue number 2
Article ID 26
Start page 1
End page 32
Total pages 32
Publisher MDPI
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publication date 2019-02
ISSN 1424-2818
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Biodiversity Conservation
Ecology
Biodiversity & Conservation
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
deep reefs
shelf-break habitats
BRUVS
multibeam bathymetry
fish-habitat associations
trophic structure
Summary The ecology of habitats along the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) shelf-break has rarely been investigated. Thus, there is little understanding of how associated fishes interact with deeper environments. We examined relationships between deep-reef fish communities and benthic habitat structure. We sampled 48 sites over a large depth gradient (54–260 m) in the central GBR using Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations and multibeam sonar. Fish community composition differed both among multiple shelf-break reefs and habitats within reefs. Epibenthic cover decreased with depth. Deep epibenthic cover included sponges, corals, and macro-algae, with macro-algae present to 194 m. Structural complexity decreased with depth, with more calcified reef, boulders, and bedrock in shallower depths. Deeper sites were flatter and more homogeneous with softer substratum. Habitats were variable within depth strata and were reflected in different fish assemblages among sites and among locations. Overall, fish trophic groups changed with depth and included generalist and benthic carnivores, piscivores, and planktivores while herbivores were rare below 50 m. While depth influenced where trophic groups occurred, site orientation and habitat morphology determined the composition of trophic groups within depths. Future conservation strategies will need to consider the vulnerability of taxa with narrow distributions and habitat requirements in unique shelf-break environments.
Language eng
DOI 10.3390/d11020026
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 0301 Analytical Chemistry
0805 Distributed Computing
0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering
0502 Environmental Science and Management
0602 Ecology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30148499

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.