Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 76, Issue 2–4, pp 221–235 | Cite as

Short-Term Dynamics of Tidepool Fish Community: Diel and Seasonal Variation

Original Paper


Short-term temporal dynamics in a tidepool fish community were quantitatively examined through a series of direct observation at consecutive low tides in a temperate-subtropical intertidal of southwestern Japan. The visual observation was sufficiently effective compared with the capture by anaesthetics and allowed a continual, undisturbed monitoring. Species composition markedly varied between consecutive day versus night in spring-autumn, but not in winter. In contrast, species composition on consecutive days and on consecutive nights was relatively stable all through the year. The pattern of diel change in abundance varied among species and seasons. C. gulosus, Istiblennius sp. and Girella spp. showed the tendency of night-time occurrence, while B. fuscus individuals tended to occur by day. These trends of day–night differences were mainly observed in spring and summer and rarely in winter. Size differences between day and night were detected in B. fuscus, C. gulosus, Istiblennius sp. and Girella spp. This tidepool fish community demonstrated variation in abundance and body size on short time scales, which may be attributable to behavioural differences among species.

Key words

Visual census Fish assemblage Intertidal Rock pool Consecutive tides Sequential sampling 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



We thank all the members of the Amakusa Marine Biological Laboratory, especially M. Kido and K. Tanaka for administrative support and T.␣Sameshima for technical support. Part of this research was supported by the 21st century COE programme from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Technology and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant-In Aid numbers 14255013 and 14340246 to MT).


  1. Almada VC, Faria C (2004) Temporal variation of rocky intertidal resident fish assemblages—patterns and possible mechanisms with a note on sampling protocols. Rev Fish Biol Fisher 14:239–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arakaki S, Tokeshi M (2005) Microhabitat selection in intertidal gobiid fishes: species- and size-associated variation. Mar Biol Res 1:39–47Google Scholar
  3. Berger A, Mayr M (1992) Ecological studies on two intertidal New Zealand fishes, Acanthoclinus fuscus and Forsterygion nigripenne robustum. New Zeal J Mar Fresh Res 26:359–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Booth DJ (1991) The effects of sampling frequency on estimates of recruitment of the domino damselfish Dascyllus albisella Gill. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 145:149–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Castellanos-Galindo GA, Giraldo A, Rubio EA (2005) Community structure of an assemblage of tidepool fishes on a tropical eastern Pacific rocky shore, Colombia. J Fish Biol 67:392–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Christensen MS, Winterbottom R (1981) A correction factor for, and its application to, visual censuses of littoral fish. S Afr J Zool 16:73–79Google Scholar
  7. Danilowicz BS, Sale PF (1999) Relative intensity of predation on the French grunt, Haemulon flavolineatum, during diurnal, dusk, and nocturnal periods on a coral reef. Mar Biol 133:337–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davis JLD (2000) Spatial and seasonal patterns of habitat partitioning in a guild of southern California tidepool fishes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 196:253–268Google Scholar
  9. Davis JLD (2001) Diel changes in habitat use by two tidepool fishes. Copeia 3:835–841CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dôtu Y (1955) Life history of a goby, Gobius poecilichthys Jordan et Snyder. Sci Bull Fac Agr Kyushu Univ 15:77–86 (in Japanese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  11. Dôtu Y (1957) The life history of the goby, Luciogobius guttatus Gill. Sci Bull Fac Agr Kyushu Univ 16:93–100 (in Japanese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  12. Dufour V, Galzin R (1993) Colonization patterns of reef fish larvae to the lagoon at Moorea Island, French Polynesia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 102:143–152Google Scholar
  13. Faria C, Almada V (1999) Variation and resilience of rocky intertidal fish in western Portugal. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 184:197–203Google Scholar
  14. Gibson RN (1967) Studies on the movements of littoral fish. J Anim Ecol 36:215–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gibson RN (1969) The biology and behaviour of littoral fish. Oceanogr Mar Biol An Annual Rev 7:367–410Google Scholar
  16. Gibson RN (1982) Recent studies on the biology of intertidal fishes. Oceanogr Mar Biol An Annual Rev 20:363–414Google Scholar
  17. Gibson RN (1999) Movement and homing in intertidal fishes. In: Horn MH, Martin KLM, Chotkowski MA (eds) Intertidal fishes; life in two worlds. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 97–125Google Scholar
  18. Gibson RN (2003) Go with the flow: tidal migration in marine animals. Hydrobiologia 503:153–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gibson RN, Yoshiyama RM (1999) Intertidal fish communities. In: Horn MH, Martin KLM, Chotkowski MA (eds) Intertidal fishes; life in two worlds. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 264–296Google Scholar
  20. Gibson RN, Robb L, Burrows MT, Ansell AD (1996) Tidal, diel and longer term changes in the distribution of fishes on a Scottish sandy beach. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 130:1–17Google Scholar
  21. Gibson RN, Pihl L, Burrows MT, Modin J, Wennhage H, Nickell LA (1998) Diel movement of juvenile plaice Pleuronectes platessa in relation to predators, competitors, food availability and abiotic factors on a microtidal nursery ground. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 165:145–159Google Scholar
  22. Griffiths SP (2000) The use of clove oil as an anaesthetic and method for sampling intertidal rockpool fishes. J␣Fish Biol 57: 1453–1464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Griffiths SP (2003) Spatial and temporal dynamics of temperate Australian rockpool ichthyofaunas. Mar Freshwater Res 54: 163–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grossman GD (1982) Dynamics and organization of a rocky intertidal fish assemblage: the persistence and resilience of taxocene structure. Am Nat 119:611–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Grossman GD (1986) Long term persistence in a rocky intertidal fish assemblage. Environ Biol Fish 15:315–317Google Scholar
  26. Gurevitch J, Morrow LL, Wallace A, Walsh JS (1992) A meta-analysis of competition in field experiments. Am Nat 140:539–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gurevitch J, Hedges LV (2001) Meta-analysis. In: SM Scheiner, J Gurevitch (eds) Design and analysis of ecological experiments, 2rd edn. Oxford university press, New York, pp 347–369Google Scholar
  28. Helfman GS (1993) Fish behaviour by day, night and twilight. In: Pitcher TJ (ed) Behaviour of Teleost fishes 2nd edn. Chapman & Hall, London, pp 479–512Google Scholar
  29. Kawamoto NY, Konishi J (1955) Diurnal rhythm in phototaxis of fish. Rep Fac Fisher, Prefectural Univ Mie 2:7–17Google Scholar
  30. Kingsford MJ (2001) Diel patterns of abundance of presettlement reef fishes and pelagic larvae on a coral reef. Mar Biol 138:853–867CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Koop JH, Gibson RN (1991) Distribution and movements of intertidal butterfish Pholis gunnellus. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 71:127–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mahon R, Mahon SD (1994) Structure and resilience of a tidepool fish assemblage at Barbados. Environ Biol Fish 41:171–190Google Scholar
  33. Metaxas A, Scheibling RE (1993) Community structure and organization of tidepools. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 98:187–198Google Scholar
  34. Moring JR (1986) Seasonal presence of tidepool fish species in a rocky intertidal zone of northern California, USA. Hydrobiologia 134:21–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Moring JR (1990) Seasonal absence of fishes in tidepools of a boreal environment (Maine, USA). Hydrobiologia 194:163–168Google Scholar
  36. Nagelkerken I, Dorenbosch M, Verberk WCEP, Cocheret de la Morinière E, van der Velde G (2000) Day–night shifts of fishes between shallow-water biotopes of a Caribbean bay, with emphasis on the nocturnal feeding of Haemulidae and Lutjanidae. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 194:55–64Google Scholar
  37. Norris KS (1963) The functions of temperature in the ecology of the percoid fish Girella nigricans (Ayres). Ecol Monogr 33:23–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Prochazka K (1996) Seasonal patterns in a temperate intertidal fish community on the western coast of South Africa. Environ Biol Fish 45:133–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Richkus WA (1978) A quantitative study of intertidepool movement of the wooly sculpin Clinocottus analis. Mar Biol 49:277–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Robertson DR, Green DG, Victor BC (1988) Temporal coupling of production and recruitment of larvae of a Caribbean reef fish. Ecology 69:370–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Romer GS (1990) Surf zone fish community and species response to a wave energy gradient. J Fish Biol 36:279–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rooker JR, Dennis GD (1991) Diel, lunar and seasonal changes in a mangrove fish assemblage off southwestern Puerto Rico. Bull Mar Sci 49:684–698Google Scholar
  43. Saburomaru T, Tsukahara H (1984) The life history of Girella punctata Gray on the Northern Coast of Fukuoka. Sci Bull Fac Agr Kyushu Univ 39:35–48 (in Japanese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  44. Sasaki T, Hattori J (1969) Comparative ecology of two closely related sympatric gobiid fishes living in tide pools. Jpn J Ichthyol 15:143–155 (in Japanese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  45. Smith TM, Hindell JS (2005) Assessing effects of diel period, gear selectivity and predation on patterns of microhabitat use by fish in a mangrove dominated system in SE Australia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 294:257–270Google Scholar
  46. Thomson DA, Lehner CE (1976) Resilience of a rocky intertidal fish community in a physically unstable environment. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 22:1–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Willis TJ (2001) Visual census methods underestimate density and diversity of cryptic reef fishes. J Fish Biol 59:1408–1411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Willis TJ, Roberts CD (1996) Recolonisation and recruitment of fishes to intertidal rockpools at Wellington, New Zealand. Environ Biol Fish 47:329–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wright JM (1989) Diel variation and seasonal consistency in the fish assemblage of the non-estuarine Sulaibikhat Bay, Kuwait. Mar Biol 102:135–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yoshiyama RM (1981) Distribution and abundance patterns of rocky intertidal fishes in central California. Environ Biol Fish 6:315–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yoshiyama RM, Sassaman C, Lea RN (1986) Rocky intertidal fish communities of California: temporal and spatial variation. Environ Biol Fish 17:23–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yoshiyama RM, Gaylord KB, Philippart MT, Moore TR, Jordan JR, Coon CC, Schalk LL, Valpey CJ, Tosques I (1992) Homing behavior and site fidelity in intertidal sculpins (Pisces: Cottidae). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 160:115–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AMBLKyushu UniversityAmakusaJapan

Personalised recommendations