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Distribution of demersal fish assemblages along the west coast of St Lucia: Implications for planning no-take marine reserves

Mitchell, Peter J., Bolam, Stefan G., Close, Hayden L., Garcia, Clement, Monk, Jacquomo and Alliji, Khatija 2021, Distribution of demersal fish assemblages along the west coast of St Lucia: Implications for planning no-take marine reserves, Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, vol. Early View, no. Online Version of Record before inclusion in an issue, doi: 10.1002/aqc.3518.

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Title Distribution of demersal fish assemblages along the west coast of St Lucia: Implications for planning no-take marine reserves
Author(s) Mitchell, Peter J.
Bolam, Stefan G.
Close, Hayden L.
Garcia, Clement
Monk, JacquomoORCID iD for Monk, Jacquomo orcid.org/0000-0002-1874-0619
Alliji, Khatija
Journal name Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Volume number Early View
Issue number Online Version of Record before inclusion in an issue
Total pages 13
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2021
ISSN 1052-7613
1099-0755
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Physical Sciences
Environmental Sciences
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Water Resources
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
biodiversity
Caribbean
coral
fish
marine protected area (MPA)
RDA
seagrass
stereo‐
BRUV
subtidal
stereo-BRUV
Summary Evidence‐based decisions relating to effective marine protected areas as a means of conserving biodiversity require a detailed understanding of the species present. The Caribbean island nation of St Lucia is expanding its current marine protected area network by designating additional no‐take marine reserves on the west coast. However, information on the distribution of fish species is currently limited. This study used baited remote underwater stereo‐video to address this shortcoming by investigating the effects of depth and seabed habitat structure on demersal fish assemblages and comparing these assemblages between regions currently afforded different protection measures. From the 87 stations visited a total of 5,921 fish were observed comprising 120 fish taxa across 22 families. Species richness and total abundance were higher within the highly managed region, which included no‐take reserves. Redundancy analysis explained 17% of the total variance in fish distribution, driven predominantly by the seabed habitats. The redundancy analysis identified four main groups of demersal fishes each associated with specific seabed habitats. The current no‐take marine reserves protected two of these groups (i.e. fishes associated with the ‘soft corals, hard corals or gorgonians’ and ‘seagrass’ groups). Importantly, habitats dominated by sponges, bacterial mats, algal turfs or macroalgae, which also supported unique fish assemblages, are not currently afforded protection via the marine reserve network (based on the five reserves studied). These results imply that incorporation of the full breadth of benthic habitat types present would improve the efficacy of the marine reserve network by ensuring all fish assemblages are protected.
Language eng
DOI 10.1002/aqc.3518
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 05 Environmental Sciences
06 Biological Sciences
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2021, Crown Copyright
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30148636

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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.