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Habitat driven responses of reef fish: temporal change, niche partitioning and selection

Gouraguine, Adam (2018) Habitat driven responses of reef fish: temporal change, niche partitioning and selection. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Shallow water tropical and temperate marine habitats are changing dramatically in response to many stressor-driven effects. The change in turn threatens the associated fish communities relying on their maintenance for habitat provision. At present, a much better understanding of the interaction between changing habitats and the associated fish is necessary. To address the lack of understanding of the habitat – fish association, mechanisms which underpin the habitat driven responses of reef fish were examined, from entire communities down to species level, across tropical and temperate ecosystems. Using a highly biodiverse ecosystem as the model system, effects of changing habitat on the associated fish community were observed, consequently demonstrating how important, in terms of shelter and food resources, the overall habitat is in structuring the fish community. Furthermore, patterns of habitat use of certain fish species within and across tropical and temperate ecosystems were examined. Variation in the size of the habitat used and its overlap between species within systems, and uniform patterns in habitat use and comparable fish habitat size and overlap across systems, were discovered. By looking at fish habitat use within systems, invaluable knowledge was gained on ecological interactions between habitat and fish on a small scale. At the same time, detection of similar mechanisms of fish habitat use across ecosystems indicates to possible uniform response of fish communities to habitat change at a large-scale. Finally, by looking at fish habitat selection using olfaction, in a temperate model system, a range of subtle behavioural responses displayed during habitat selection were detected. These results highlighted the extent of complexity of the mechanisms used in fish habitat selection and the ubiquitous importance of the habitat and its properties for the associated fish. In addition to, and based on the ecological significance of the findings, a number of potential management and conservational applications of the research were given within the thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Biological Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Adam Gouraguine
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2018 08:12
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2018 08:12
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22278

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