Effects of a marine reserve on recruitment of grunts (Pisces: Haemulidae) at Barbados, West Indies

Mark Tupper*, Francis Juanes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The effects of a non-extractive marine reserve on the recruitment dynamics of haemulid fishes and their predators on Barbados coral reefs were studied using visual census and mark-recapture methods. Size and abundance of piscivores (including large adult grunts) known to prey on grunts were greater within the reserve than on adjacent reefs, whereas size and abundance of older juvenile grunts did not differ between protected and exploited reefs. Recruitment and early juvenile abundance were lower within the reserve and were inversely related to predator density (including adult conspecifics). Patterns in density of new recruits may also have been influenced by oceanographic patterns of supply of larvae. Thus, although protection has a significant positive effect on the size and abundance of large carnivorous fishes, higher predation pressure within a reserve may serve to reduce juvenile recruitment within the reserve. At some size/age, cumulative recruitment due to lower size-specific predation mortality results in higher density within the reserve. This increased density is maintained by the absence of fishing mortality within the reserve. Despite maintaining high spawning biomass of several large, commercially exploited species that may export larvae to downstream areas, the Barbados Marine Reserve appears to be a local sink for juvenile grunts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Volume55
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999

Keywords

  • Conservation biology
  • Predation
  • Priority effects
  • Reef fish
  • Settlement
  • Source-sink dynamics
  • Survival

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