Booth, DJ, Beretta, G, Brown, L & Figueira, W 2018, 'Predicting Success of Range-Expanding Coral Reef Fish in Temperate Habitats Using Temperature-Abundance Relationships', Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 5.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
An 18-year database of coral reef fish expatriation poleward in South East Australia was
used to estimate persistence of coal reef fish recruits on temperate reefs. Surveys have
identified over 150 coral reef fish species recruiting to temperate reefs at latitudes of
34◦S (Sydney) and 60 species to 37◦S (Merimbula) with 20 and 5 species respectively
overwintering in at least 1 year over the study duration. We developed indices of
vulnerability of key species to drops in water temperatures, by relating drops in
abundances of species to temperature drops. Twenty species were ranked according
to their temperature vulnerability. Overall, the families Chaetodontidae (butterflyfishes),
Acanthuridae (surgeonfishes), Labridae (wrasses) and Pomacetnridae (damselfishes) had
similar cold-water tolerance. However, there was considerable variability within families,
for instance in the Pomacentridae, species from the genus Abudefduf appeared to
have better cold-temperature tolerance than the other species. Predicted minimum
overwintering temperature varied from 15.6◦C to 19.8◦C, with some species showing
lower Tzero at Merimbula, the more poleward location. There was general concordance
between a species' tolerance to cold-water and its tendency to occur as an overwinter
but also notable exceptions. So while this work demonstrates the potential utility of
tolerance to seasonal temperature drops as a means to predict range expansion
capacity of vagrant species, the exceptional cases serve to highlight alternative factors.
Specifically, tolerance to seasonal cooling of water is not the only important factor
when predicting the range expansion capacity of a species. Factors affecting the
general abundance of the vagrants, such as habitat suitability and competitor/predator
environments will also be critical where overwinter survival becomes a lottery.
Booth, DJ, Figueira, WF, Gregson, MA & Beretta, G 2007, 'Occurrence of tropical fishes in temperate southeastern Australia: role of the East Australian Current', Estuarine Coastal And Shelf Science, vol. 72, no. 1-2, pp. 102-114.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Dispersal of larval propagules is the major mechanism facilitating connectivity of marine populations. However, only a fraction of larvae settle in suitable habitat. For coral reef fishes, many larvae are advected away from coral reefs, often despite strong behavioural mechanisms (including swimming), and some may travel long distances away from the tropics. Here we document the occurrence of tropical reef fishes along the southeast coast of Australia between 2003 and 2005 and evaluate the role of the East Australian Current (EAC) in driving this pattern. In total we observed 47 species of tropical fishes from 11 families during the summer recruitment season (January to May) at locations spanning most of the length of the New South Wales coast (28° S37.5° S latitude, not, vert, similar1700 km from the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef). Southern locations tended to have reduced richness and density relative to northern ones. In general, the southward extent of distribution of the most commonly observed species was well explained by their planktonic larval durations. Recruitment events tended to be much more episodic in Merimbula (37° S) than Sydney (34° S), but there was little evidence for interannual similarity in the spatial patterns of recruitment of individual species with exception of the numerical dominance of Abudefduf vaigiensis and Abudefduf sexfasciatus (Pomacentridae) at the Sydney location and of Chaetodon auriga and Chaetodon flavirostris (Chaetodontidae) at the Merimbula location. Despite strong evidence for the role of the EAC in the transport of these species at a coastal scale, we found little evidence that individual recruitment events were correlated with local increases in water temperature that would be associated with EAC ingress.
Booth, DJ & Beretta, G 2004, 'Influence of recruit condition on food competition and predation risk in a coral reef fish', Oecologia, vol. 140, no. 2, pp. 289-294.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Settlement rate is considered to be a major determinant of the population structure of coral reef fishes. In this study, the effects of larval physiological condition on survival, predation risk and competitive ability are assessed for a small damselfish, Pomacentrus moluccensis. New settlers were collected and fed for 5 days to produce high and low condition (measured as lipid) treatment fish. In a field experiment, pairs (one high and one low condition fish) were transplanted to corals. Persistence over 2 weeks was much higher (100% vs. 25%) in high condition fish. In mixed groups in the laboratory, high condition fish were both aggressively dominant and consumed more of a limiting prey source than low condition fish. In addition, low condition fish were shown to be at much higher risk of predation. All of the low condition fish but only 33% of high condition fish in mixed groups were consumed by fish predators, and in a separate experiment, 73% of feeding strikes by predators were directed at low condition fish. Quality of new settlers can have an important influence on subsequent juvenile survival. The mechanisms for this effect are likely to include a combination of effects of condition on food competition and predation risk.
Booth, DJ, Kingsford, MJ, Doherty, PJ & Beretta, G 2000, 'Recruitment of Damselfishes in One Tree Island Lagoon: Persistent Interannual Spatial Patterns', Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 202, no. 0, pp. 219-230.
The spatial and temporal patterns of distribution of new settlers of 23 species of damselfish (Pomacentridae) within One Tree Island lagoon, southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) were measured for 3 summers to assess the persistence of spatial patterns of recruitment. Overall recruitment was 3 times higher in 1993/1994 than 1994/1995, and 1.5 times higher than 1999. In general, recruitment decreased towards the lagoon centre, even though habitat availability was not lower there on average, suggesting that most fish settled at outer sites as they were advected from adjacent waters. There was also great variation in numbers of recruits among outer sites. Patterns of recruitment to continuous reef and patch reef habitats also differed among species, suggesting habitat selection at this broad level. For example, Pomacentrus nagasakiensis was primarily found on patch reefs, while P. moluccensis was largely found on continuous reef. One site (Shark Alley) received the highest number of recruits of most species during the study, and this pattern has been observed in studies since 1975. Despite interannual variability in abundance of potential settlers and differences in the habitat preferences of some species, therefore, some sites on the reef can receive relatively high numbers of settlers over decadal time scales. This consistency of spatial pattern may be due to local topography and oceanography at Shark Alley, which appear to favour the input of potential settlers. The availability of live coral may also be important, but species which showed no preferences for live cover also recruited at high levels at this site. The attributes of Shark Alley were compared with those at other sites. Overall, sites that clustered on the basis of oceanographic and habitat features also had similar recruitment, suggesting that these features may be useful in predicting recruitment hotspots on reefs elsewhere.
Booth, DJ & Beretta, G 1994, 'Seasonal Recruitment, Habitat Associations And Survival Of Pomacentrid Reef Fish In The United-States-Virgin-Islands', Coral Reefs, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 81-89.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Patterns of distribution and abundance of coral reef fish depend in part on recruitment of a pelagic larval stage, on subsequent dispersal among habitats, and survival of new recruits. We studied recruitment of five species of Stegastes and two species o