Benthic structure drives butterflyfish species composition and trophic group abundance
- Subject Areas
- Biodiversity, Ecology, Marine Biology
- fish assemblages, benthic composition, turnover, disturbance, Chaetodontidae
- © 2019 Barbosa et al.
- This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
- Cite this article
- 2019. Benthic structure drives butterflyfish species composition and trophic group abundance. PeerJ Preprints 7:e27491v2 https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27491v2
Corals provide structure and food sources vital for the maintenance of coral reef fish diversity. However, coral reefs are currently under threat from climate change, which has led to the largest recorded loss of live coral. The loss of live coral, and corresponding shift in reef benthic composition, are predicted to impact the abundance and composition of coral reef fish species and communities. In this study, we investigate the effect of changes in reef benthic composition (eg. live coral, dead coral, algae), on the diversity and composition in an assemblage of butterflyfish species, in Faafu Atoll in the Maldives after the 2016 bleaching event. We show that differences in community composition of butterflyfish are associated to benthic structure, reflecting species feeding preferences. Interestingly, however, we also show that lower coral cover is not associated to lower abundance and species richness of butterflyfish. Our results suggest that maintenance of coral reef structure after a disturbance provides key microhabitats to accommodate non-corallivorous butterflyfish, thus maintaining abundance and species richness. Overall our study provides support for regulation of richness and abundance of coral reef fish assemblages to short term changes in coral reef benthic composition after disturbance via turnover in composition.
Figure 5 is duplicated in the previous version. We correct this mistake in the revised version of the MS.
Butterflyfish species trophic composition
List of butterflyfish species observed during visual census and their classification of trophic group. Classification was based on published references regarding species feeding preference.
This file contains the raw data