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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 450:131-145 (2012)  -  DOI:

Fish−habitat associations in New Zealand: geographical contrasts

Russell G. Cole1,*, Niki K. Davey1, Glen D. Carbines2,4, Rob Stewart3

1National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd., PO Box 893, Nelson 7040, New Zealand
2National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd., PO Box 6414, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
3National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd., PO Box 14-901, Wellington 14901, New Zealand
4Present address: Saltwater Science Ltd., PO Box 89234, Torbay, North Shore, Auckland 0742, New Zealand

ABSTRACT: Relationships between fishes and habitat variables were assessed by transect counts and manipulative experiments on subtidal rocky reefs in 3 poorly known regions of New Zealand (eastern Bay of Plenty, western Cook Strait, and eastern Stewart Island). Canonical correspondence analysis successfully described associations between fishes and habitat features. Depth, topographic complexity, and macroalgal canopy cover were most consistently identified as influencing fish abundance. Experimental macroalgal clearances at eastern Bay of Plenty (short term) and western Cook Strait (longer term) indicated that Notolabrus celidotus used areas comprising macroalgal canopy more than cleared areas, whereas Parapercis colias and N. fucicola were more active in cleared areas. Effects of canopy clearance on fish activity were most obvious in summer at Cook Strait. Orthogonal manipulations of canopy and topographic complexity at a distant site (Tasman Bay) produced similar results for 2 species, indicating geographic generality of habitat models for N. celidotus and P. colias.

KEY WORDS: Temperate reef fishes · Macroalgae · New Zealand · Experiments · Topographic complexity

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Cite this article as: Cole RG, Davey NK, Carbines GD, Stewart R (2012) Fish−habitat associations in New Zealand: geographical contrasts. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 450:131-145.

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