Recolonisation and recruitment of fishes to intertidal rockpools at Wellington, New Zealand

Trevor J. Willis*, Clive D. Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A study of recolonisation of rockpools by intertidal fishes on the Wellington south coast, New Zealand, found the assemblage to be resilient and seasonally stable. A total of 26 species from nine families were recorded, dominated by the Tripterygiidae (triplefins) and Gobiesocidae (clingfishes). A pattern of alternating species dominance occurred, with the triplefins Bellapiscis medius and Forsterygion lapillum being numerically dominant in summer, but becoming less common in winter and replaced as dominants by the clingfishes Trachelochismus pinnulatus and Gastroscyphus hectoris. Juvenile recruits of eleven species occurred in the samples from spring to early summer, however only the aforementioned four species recruit to the intertidal zone in large numbers. The speed of rockpool recolonisation by fishes after extractive sampling is seasonally dependent, being quicker in the summer than winter. In general, recolonisation takes at least one month, but probably fewer than three. While stochastic factors influence assemblage composition in the short term, overall regulation of the fish assemblage of rockpools appears to be primarily deterministic, resulting in an essentially predictable taxonomic structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-343
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


  • Assemblage structure
  • Disturbance
  • Resilience
  • Rockpool fishes
  • Seasonal variability
  • Temperate reefs


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