Latitude and live coral cover independently affect Chaetodontid and Pomacanthid fish community distribution in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, India
- 113 Downloads
Empirical evidence indicates that for two reef fish groups, chaetodontids and pomacanthids, live coral cover and latitude determine the local abundance and species richness patterns. Most studies have considered the influence of either live coral cover or latitude in isolation, and the interactive effects that are likely to influence the geographical distribution in species richness and diversity has not been explored. In this study we explored the relationship between (1) species richness and latitude, and (2) species richness and benthic variables, (3) species diversity and latitude and (4) species diversity and benthic variables for butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) and angelfish (Pomacanthidae) at 75 sites across 51 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar (A & N) archipelago. A total of 30 species of chaetodontids belonging to four genera and 13 species of pomacanthids belonging to nine genera were recorded. We found that live coral cover and latitude were the best predictors for explaining variation in the distribution of these fish communities across the A & N archipelago. This is probably because of the high dependence of these two fish groups on live coral cover and Nicobar’s geographical proximity to the Coral Triangle, which is considered to be the center of origin of coral reefs and supports high biodiversity. Our results show that despite the high dependence of chaetodontids and pomacanthids on live coral cover, reduction of live coral cover due to a series of disturbance events had limited influence on species richness of these two fish groups, indicating that broad geographical trends are important in explaining variation in species richness for chaetodontid and pomacanthid fish groups.
KeywordsAndaman and Nicobar Islands Coral reefs Fish fauna Conservation Chaetodontids and pomacanthids Island biogeography
The study was conducted with funding from the Research Fellowship Program, Wildlife Conservation Society and Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (DST/INSPIRE/04/2014/001534). We thank the Department of Environment and Forests, Port Blair for granting us permits to carry out this work. The Divisional Forest Officer, Mr. B.P. Yadav, Dr. Ravichndran provided us field assistants and a boat for reef surveys. We thank M. Gangal, R. Arthur, T. Alcoverro, N. Kelkar for the support and advice. The Andaman and Nicobar Island’s Environmental Team (ANET) and Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) helped with SCUBA equipment and field logistics. Saw John, Saw Berny, Saw Alexander, Saw Sawda, Tanvi Vaidyanathan and Sahir Advani assisted in field surveys.
Compliance with ethical standards
The Department of Environment and Forests, a branch of the Andaman and Nicobar Administration issued permits to carry out this study. The protocol set by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change was followed and no collection of coral or any other biological specimens, breakage or damage to coral reefs was done during the study. High-resolution photographs were used to study benthic characteristics of the reef.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Allen GR, Steene RC, Allen M (1988) A guide to angelfishes & butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research, PerthGoogle Scholar
- Almeida-Neto M, Machado G, Pinto-da-Rocha R, Giaretta AA (2006) Harvestman (Arachnida: Opiliones) species distribution along three Neotropical elevational gradients: an alternative rescue effect to explain Rapoport's rule? Jou Biogeo 33(2):361–375. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01389.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Arthur R (2000) Coral bleaching and mortality in three Indian reef regions during an el Nino southern oscillation event. Curr Sci 79:1723–1729Google Scholar
- Bakus G, Arthur R, Ekaratne S, Jinendradasa SS (2000) India and Sri Lanka. In coral reefs of the Indian Ocean: their conservation. Oxford press., New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Crosby MP, Reese ES, Berumen ML (2013) Corallivorous butterflyfishes as ambassadors of coral reefs. Biology of butterflyfishes pp:247–226Google Scholar
- Darling ES, Graham NA, Januchowski-Hartley FA, Nash KL, Pratchett MS, Wilson SK (2017) Relationships between structural complexity, coral traits, and reef fish assemblages. Coral Reefs:1–15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-017-1539-z
- Devy DS, Yoganand TRK, Ganesh TP (1994) Reserve size and implications for the conservation of biodiversity in the Andaman Islands. Proceedings IUFRO Symposium, Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 27th -Sept. 2nd, 1994.287–301Google Scholar
- Fortin MJ, Dale MR (2005) Spatial analysis: a guide for ecologists. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Froese R, Pauly D (2014) FishBase. World Wide Web Electron Publication. www.fishbase.org. Accessed 8 Dec 2014
- Jones GP, Syms C (1998) Disturbance, habitat structure and the ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Aust J Ecol 23:287–297. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.1998.tb00733.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Krishnan P, Roy SD, George G, Srivastava RC, Anand A, Murugesan S, Kaliyamoorthy M, Vikas N, Soundararajan R (2011) Elevated sea surface temperature during may 2010 induces mass bleaching of corals in the Andaman. Curr Sci 100:117Google Scholar
- Lieske E, Myers R (2001) Coral reef fishes: indo-Pacific and Caribbean. Princeton University Press, Princeton revised ednGoogle Scholar
- Mondal T, Raghnathan C, Venkataraman K (2013) Bleaching: the driving force of Scleractinian new recruitment at little Andaman Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Proc Natl Acad Sci, India, Sect B Biol Sci (Oct–Dec 2013) 83(4):585–592. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40011-013-0168-8 83:585–592 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pande P, Kothari K, Singh S (1991) Directory of National Parks and sanctuaries in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Management status and profile. Pages 1-171. Indian Institute of Public Administration, new DehliGoogle Scholar
- Patankar V, D’Souza E, Kumaraguru AK, Arthur R (2012) Distance-related thresholds and influence of the 2004 tsunami on damage and recovery patterns of coral reefs in the Nicobar Islands. Curr Sci 102:1199–1205Google Scholar
- Pillai CSG (1983) Structure and genetic diversity of recent Scleractinia of India. J Mar Biol Assoc India 25:78–90Google Scholar
- Ramachandran S, Anitha S, Balamurugan V, Dharanirajan K, Vendhan KE, Divien MIP, Vel AS, Hussain IS, Udayaraj A (2005) Ecological impact of the tsunami on Nicobar islands (Camorta, Katchal, Nancowry and Trinkat). Curr Sci 89:195–200Google Scholar
- Reese ES (1981) Predation on corals by fishes of the family Chaetodontidae: implications for conservation and Management of Coral Reef Ecosystems. Bull Mar Sci 31:594–604Google Scholar
- Sankaran R, Andrews H, Vaughan A (2005) The ground beneath the waves. In: Kaul R, Menon V (eds) Post-tsunami impact assessment of wildlife and their habitats in India. Wildlife Trust of India, Sacon, Anet, IFAW, New Delhi, pp 1–103Google Scholar
- Singh HS (2003) Marine protected areas in India. Ind Jou Mar Sci 32:226–233Google Scholar
- Vijayakumar SP, Menezes RC, Jayarajan A, Shanker K (2016) Glaciations, gradients, and geography: multiple drivers of diversification of bush frogs in the western Ghats escarpment. Proc Royal Soc B: Bio Sci 283(1836). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.1011
- Wood S, Baums IB, Paris CB, Ridgwell A, Kessler WS, Hendy EJ (2016) El Nino and coral larval dispersal across the eastern Pacific marine barrier. Nat Commun 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/mcomms12571