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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Small Marine Protected Areas in Fiji Provide Refuge for Reef Fish Assemblages, Feeding Groups, and Corals

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Author(s):
Bonaldo, Roberta M. ; Pires, Mathias M. ; Guimaraes Junior, Paulo Roberto ; Hoey, Andrew S. ; Hay, Mark E.
Total Authors: 5
Document type: Journal article
Source: PLoS One; v. 12, n. 1 JAN 25 2017.
Web of Science Citations: 21
Abstract

The establishment of no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) on coral reefs is a common management strategy for conserving the diversity, abundance, and biomass of reef organisms. Generally, well-managed and enforced MPAs can increase or maintain the diversity and function of the enclosed coral reef, with some of the benefits extending to adjacent nonprotected reefs. A fundamental question in coral reef conservation is whether these benefits arise within small MPAs (< 1 km(2)), because larval input of reef organisms is largely decoupled from local adult reproduction. We examined the structure of fish assemblages, composition of fish feeding groups, benthic cover, and key ecosystem processes (grazing, macroalgal browsing, and coral replenishment) in three small (0.5-0.8 km(2)) no-take MPAs and adjacent areas where fisheries are allowed (non-MPAs) on coral reefs in Fiji. The MPAs exhibited greater species richness, density, and biomass of fishes than non-MPAs. Furthermore, MPAs contained a greater abundance and biomass of grazing herbivores and piscivores as well as a greater abundance of cleaners than fished areas. We also found differences in fish associations when foraging, with feeding groups being generally more diverse and having greater biomass within MPAs than adjacent non-MPAs. Grazing by parrotfishes was 3-6 times greater, and macroalgal browsing was 3-5 times greater in MPAs than in non-MPAs. On average, MPAs had 260-280% as much coral cover and only 5-25% as much macroalgal cover as their paired non-MPA sites. Finally, two of the three MPAs had three-fold more coral recruits than adjacent non-MPAs. The results of this study indicate that small MPAs benefit not only populations of reef fishes, but also enhance ecosystem processes that are critical to reef resilience within the MPAs. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 09/54422-8 - Structure and coevolutionary dynamics in mutualistic networks
Grantee:Paulo Roberto Guimarães Junior
Support type: Research Grants - Young Investigators Grants
FAPESP's process: 12/24432-4 - Do feeding interactions of reef fishes persist on degraded coral reefs?
Grantee:Roberta Martini Bonaldo
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate