Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Just Accepted

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Reef fishes at a remote tropical island (Principe Island, Gulf of Guinea): disentangling taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity patterns with depth

Fernando Tuya , Aketza Herrero-Barrencua , Nestor Bosch , Antonio Abreu , Ricardo Haroun


The ecology of reef fishes varies with depth, though patterns in diversity remain largely undescribed, in particular the complementarity of their taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic facets. We studied patterns of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity of fishes on 21 reefs, from 3 to 31 m depth, at Príncipe Island (Gulf of Guinea). Taxonomic and functional diversity monotonically decreased with depth; the pattern was less accentuated for phylogenetic diversity. Functional diversity saturated at high levels of taxonomic diversity, reflecting redundancy in species traits, particularly at the shallower reefs. Functional diversity increased linearly with phylogenetic diversity, so increasing niche availability seem to translate into a larger diversity of phylogenies. Dissimilarities in the structure and composition of fish assemblages among reefs correlated with differences in depth, including a progressive turnover in species. Depth influenced functional traits of nearshore reef fishes. Trophic breadth decreased with depth; carnivores and planktivorous increased with depth and the opposite occurred for herbivores. Small-sized fusiform fishes dominated on the shallowest reefs. In summary, this study demonstrated decays in biodiversity, from different perspectives, of reef fishes with depth, which are connected with shifts in fish traits.

MF17233  Accepted 12 September 2017

© CSIRO 2017