Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 97, Issue 12, pp 1335–1345 | Cite as

Effects of habitat relocation on fish community structure- a case study

  • Omer Polak
  • Tal Polak
  • Nadav Shashar


Local habitat structure and the environment in which it occurs are some of the key components in the development of fish communities. In this case study we examined a snapshot of their relative role following relocation of four artificial reefs (ARs) from a coral reef environment to a sandy area with adjacent sea grass beds. Monitoring the fish communities on ARs and in the surrounding areas revealed that in their new locations, the ARs contained greater fish richness and abundance, with more diurnal than nocturnal fish, but their feeding guilds were similar to those of fish in the reef location. A multivariate analysis showed that the ARs had distinctly different fish assemblage from those of their surroundings regardless of their location. Nonetheless, we identified an effect of the surroundings on AR fish community assemblage. We propose that on a meso- scale, fish community structure is primarily dependent on the properties of the AR rather than on those of the surrounding environment.


Artificial reef Biodiversity Community composition Habitat contrast Natural reef Red sea 



We would like to thank the volunteers who participated in our dives. Special thanks to Yoni Belmaker, Shimrit Perkol- Finkel, and Shahar Yair for statistical consulting. We also thank Itai Zarhi and Gur Zur for their valuable information and excellent work in relocating the ARs and Patrick Martin for his editorial assistance. Special thanks to Rafi Kent for reviewing the manuscript and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments This work was conducted under the supervision of the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority and complied with all animal care and ethics requirements. This project was supported in part by the USAID- MERC program, and the Halperin and Shechter foundations.

Supplementary material

10641_2014_223_MOESM1_ESM.doc (121 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 121 kb)
10641_2014_223_MOESM2_ESM.doc (62 kb)
ESM 2 (DOC 61.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in EilatEilatIsrael
  4. 4.YerongaAustralia

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