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Mar Pollut Bull. 2013 May 15;70(1-2):73-80. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.02.014. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Determining trigger values of suspended sediment for behavioral changes in a coral reef fish.

Author information

  • 1ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia. amelia.wenger@my.jcu.edu.au

Abstract

Sediment from land use increases water turbidity and threatens the health of inshore coral reefs. This study performed experiments with a damselfish, Pomacentrus moluccensis, in four sediment treatments, control (0 mg l⁻¹), 10 mg l⁻¹ (∼1.7 NTU), 20 mg l⁻¹ (∼3.3 NTU) and 30 mg l⁻¹ (∼5 NTU), to determine when sediment triggers a change in habitat use and movement. We reviewed the literature to assess how frequently P. moluccensis would experience sub-optimal sediment conditions on the reef. Preference for live coral declined from 49.4% to 23.3% and movement between habitats declined from 2.1 to 0.4 times between 20 mg l⁻¹ and 30 mg l⁻¹, suggesting a sediment threshold for behavioral changes. Inshore areas of the Great Barrier Reef, P. moluccensis may encounter sub-optimal conditions between 8% and 53% of the time. Changes in these vital processes may have long-term effects on the persistence of populations, particularly as habitat loss on coral reefs increases.

PMID:
23465624
DOI:
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.02.014
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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