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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 475:303-307 (2013)  -  DOI:

Fish larvae prefer coral over algal water cues: implications of coral reef degradation

David Lecchini1,*, Viliame P. Waqalevu1, Eric Parmentier2, Craig A. Radford3, Bernard Banaigs4

1USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, CRIOBE, Laboratoire d’Excellence CORAIL, Moorea 97829, French Polynesia
2Laboratoire de Morphologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, University of Liege, Liege 4000, Belgium
3Leigh Marine Laboratory, University of Auckland, Warkworth 0941, New Zealand
4Laboratoire de Chimie des Biomolécules et de l’Environnement (EA 4215), University of Perpignan, Perpignan 66860, France

ABSTRACT: Many marine reef fishes have pelagic larval stages that develop in offshore waters. These larvae face the great challenge of relocating to patchily distributed reef environments in a vast oceanic matrix. We explored how chemical cues emitted from coral versus algal reefs attract fish larvae at Rangiroa Atoll (French Polynesia). Experiments with 2-channel choice chambers showed that during the recruitment stage, 7 of the 10 fish species studied preferred water from reefs dominated by coral compared to reefs dominated by algae (e.g. Aulostomus chinensis, Chromis viridis, Ptereleotris microlepis, and Sargocentron spiniferum). Only Zebrasoma veliferum preferred water from reefs dominated by algae. Overall, olfactory cues could play an important role in directing pelagic larval stage fishes to a suitable reef on which they can settle.

KEY WORDS: Sensory mechanisms · Habitat selection · Chemical cues

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Cite this article as: Lecchini D, Waqalevu VP, Parmentier E, Radford CA, Banaigs B (2013) Fish larvae prefer coral over algal water cues: implications of coral reef degradation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 475:303-307.

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