Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Mangroves enhance the biomass of coral reef fish communities in the Caribbean

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter Mumby, Emeritus Professor Alasdair Edwards

Downloads

Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Abstract

Mangrove forests are one of the world's most threatened tropical ecosystems with global loss exceeding 35% (ref. 1). Juvenile coral reef fish often inhabit mangroves, but the importance of these nurseries to reef fish population dynamics has not been quantified. Indeed, mangroves might be expected to have negligible influence on reef fish communities: juvenile fish can inhabit alternative habitats and fish populations may be regulated by other limiting factors such as larval supply or fishing. Here we show that mangroves are unexpectedly important, serving as an intermediate nursery habitat that may increase the survivorship of young fish. Mangroves in the Caribbean strongly influence the community structure of fish on neighbouring coral reefs. In addition, the biomass of several commercially important species is more than doubled when adult habitat is connected to mangroves. The largest herbivorous fish in the Atlantic, Scarus guacamaia, has a functional dependency on mangroves and has suffered local extinction after mangrove removal. Current rates of mangrove deforestation are likely to have severe deleterious consequences for the ecosystem function, fisheries productivity and resilience of reefs. Conservation efforts should protect connected corridors of mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Mumby PJ, Edwards AJ, Arias-Gonzalez JE, Lindeman KC, Blackwell PG, Gall A, Gorczynska MI, Harborne AR, Pescod CL, Renken H, Wabnitz CCC, Llewenyn G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature

Year: 2004

Volume: 427

Issue: 6974

Pages: 533-536

ISSN (print): 0028-0836

ISSN (electronic): 1476-4687

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature02286

DOI: 10.1038/nature02286

PubMed id: 14765193


Altmetrics

Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Actions

Find at Newcastle University icon    Link to this publication


Share