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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 239:287-299 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps239287

Changes in trophic community structure of shore fishes at an industrial site in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea

M. A. Khalaf1, M. Kochzius2,*

1Marine Science Station, PO Box 195, Aqaba, Jordan
2Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology‹ZMT, Fahrenheitstrasse 6, 28359 Bremen, Germany
*Corresponding author. Present address: Biotechnology and Molekular Genetics, UFT-FB2, University of Bremen, Leobener Strasse, 28359 Bremen, Germany. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: The semi-enclosed Gulf of Aqaba is under high pressure by urban and industrial pollution, shipping and port activities as well as tourism. Off the Jordanian Red Sea coast, the trophic community structure of shore fishes was determined on coral reefs in front of an industrial area (disturbed), in a marine reserve and site without industry or port activities (undisturbed), as well as in a seagrass-dominated bay. Planktivores were the most abundant feeding guild on coral reefs as well as in the seagrass-dominated bay. The relative abundance of feeding guilds other than planktivores seems to be strongly influenced by the benthic habitat. Multivariate analysis clearly separated disturbed from undisturbed sites, whereas univariate measures, such as species richness, diversity and evenness did not reveal any negative impact of disturbance. The disturbance of the coral reefs led to changes in the fish community through the reduction of total fish abundance by 50%, increased total abundance of herbivorous and detritivorous fishes, decreased total abundance of invertebrate- and fish-feeders, and increased relative abundance of planktivorous fishes.

KEY WORDS: Trophic community structure · Pollution · Shore fishes · Coral reef · Seagrass meadow · Red Sea

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