MEPS 514:207-215 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11032

Recovery of grouper assemblages indicates effectiveness of a marine protected area in Southern Brazil

A. B. Anderson1, R. M. Bonaldo2, D. R. Barneche3, C. W. Hackradt4, F. C. Félix-Hackradt5, J. A. García-Charton6, S. R. Floeter1,*

1Laboratório de Biogeografia e Macroecologia Marinha, Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC, 88010-970, Brazil
2Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, 05508-900, Brazil
3Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
4Centro de Formação em Ciências Ambientais, Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia, Porto Seguro, BA, 45810-970, Brazil
5Centro de Formação em Ciências, Tecnologia e Inovação, Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia, Itabuna, BA, 45613-204, Brazil
6Departamento de Ecología e Hidrología, Universidad de Murcia, Campus Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Top predators have a strong influence on the structure and dynamics of marine ecosystems. These organisms have been largely used as indicators of the effectiveness of marine protected areas (MPAs). In Brazil, the impact of fisheries on reef species, such as groupers and sea basses, and the importance of local marine reserves in the maintenance of these fish communities are still poorly understood. Here we assessed the assemblage of groupers and sea basses (Epinephelidae and Serranidae) inside and outside the Arvoredo Marine Reserve (AR), a MPA in Santa Catarina State, southern Brazil. Density and biomass of 13 fish species (7 Epinephelidae and 6 Serranidae) were recorded. The most abundant groupers were Epinephelus marginatus and Mycteroperca acutirostris, while Serranus flaviventris and S. balwini were the most abundant sea basses. Grouper biomass was significantly higher inside the reserve, indicating the effectiveness of this MPA for target and threatened species, such as E. marginatus. In contrast, biomass of sea basses was higher outside the MPA, as a possible result of prey release effect. Despite the higher biomass of groupers inside AR, spearfishing records from the 1960s indicate that there is still a long way to a full recovery of the biomass of top predators, especially groupers and sharks. Thus, a more effective enforcement and longer-term protection are necessary to restore fish stocks and ecosystem health in these reefs.


KEY WORDS: Top predators · Reef fishes · Epinephelidae · Serranidae · Fisheries · Conservation · Rocky reef · Southwestern Atlantic


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Cite this article as: Anderson AB, Bonaldo RM, Barneche DR, Hackradt CW, Félix-Hackradt FC, García-Charton JA, Floeter SR (2014) Recovery of grouper assemblages indicates effectiveness of a marine protected area in Southern Brazil. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 514:207-215. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11032

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