More coral, more fish? Contrasting snapshots from a remote Pacific atoll
In contrast to the general pattern of decreasing coral cover reported for many parts of the Indo-Pacific region, live coral cover increased 6–7 fold at Mataiva between 1981 and 2012, and fish density nearly doubled.
The strong positive relationships between live coral cover and fish diversity and abundance noted in 1981, when coral cover rarely exceeded 10%, were no longer present in 2012, when coral cover rarely fell below this value. Ove the combined range of coral cover observed in the 1981 and 2012 snapshots, there is a rapidly asymptotic relationship between coral and fish. Our results suggest that fish diversity and abundance might accumulate rapidly up to a threshold of approximately 10% live coral cover. Such a relationship would have implications for our expectations of resistance and recovery of reef fish communities facing an increasingly severe regim of coral reef disturbances.
Paru le 26/02/15