Delineating optimal settlement areas of juvenile reef fish in Ngederrak Reef, Koror state, Republic of Palau

  • Victor S. Ticzon
  • Greg Foster
  • Laura T. David
  • Peter J. Mumby
  • Badi R. Samaniego
  • Val Randolf Madrid


Establishing the effectiveness of habitat features to act as surrogate measures of diversity and abundance of juvenile reef fish provides information that is critical to coral reef management. When accurately set on a broader spatial context, microhabitat information becomes more meaningful and its management application becomes more explicit. The goal of the study is to identify coral reef areas potentially important to juvenile fishes in Ngederrak Reef, Republic of Palau, across different spatial scales. To achieve this, the study requires the accomplishment of the following tasks: (1) structurally differentiate the general microhabitat types using acoustics; (2) quantify microhabitat association with juvenile reef fish community structure; and (3) conduct spatial analysis of the reef-wide data and locate areas optimal for juvenile reef fish settlement. The results strongly suggest the importance of branching structures in determining species count and abundance of juvenile reef fish at the outer reef slope of Ngederrak Reef. In the acoustic map, the accurate delineation of these features allowed us to identify reef areas with the highest potential to harbor a rich aggregation of juvenile reef fish. Using a developed spatial analysis tool that ranks pixel groups based on user-defined parameters, the reef area near the Western channel of Ngederrak is predicted to have the most robust aggregation of juvenile reef fish. The results have important implications not only in management, but also in modeling the impacts of habitat loss on reef fish community. At least for Ngederrak Reef, the results advanced the utility of acoustic systems in predicting spatial distribution of juvenile fish.


Acoustics Microhabitat complexity ImageLab Juvenile reef fish 



The authors would like to express their gratitude to Dr. Shiela Marcos, Eileen Peñaflor, and David Idip for their invaluable assistance in the conduct of the field work. Funding was provided by the World Bank-Global Environment Facility-Coral Reef Targeted Research-Remote Sensing Working Group, and the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor S. Ticzon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Greg Foster
    • 3
  • Laura T. David
    • 2
  • Peter J. Mumby
    • 4
  • Badi R. Samaniego
    • 5
  • Val Randolf Madrid
    • 6
  1. 1.Animal Biology Division, Institute of Biological SciencesUniversity of the Philippines—Los Baños, CollegeLagunaPhilippines
  2. 2.Ocean Color and Coastal Oceanography Laboratory, Marine Science InstituteUniversity of the Philippines—DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines
  3. 3.National Coral Reef InstituteNova Southeastern University Oceanographic CenterDania BeachUSA
  4. 4.Marine Spatial Ecology Laboratory, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of QueenslandSt. Lucia BrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.School of Environmental Science and ManagementUniversity of the Philippines—Los Baños, CollegeLagunaPhilippines
  6. 6.Institute of Computer ScienceUniversity of the Philippines—Los Baños, CollegeLagunaPhilippines

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