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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Two fish species from the temperate reef community studied, East Atlantic peacock wrasse Symphodus tinca (foreground) and common two-banded seabream Diplodus vulgaris (background). Photo: Adam Gouraguine

Gouraguine A, Melián CJ, Reñones O, Hinz H, Baxter H, Cardona L, Moranta J


Implications of using different metrics for niche analysis in ecological communities


Behavioural observations of fish on coral and temperate reefs measured in situ were used to estimate realised niche (RN) sizes and overlaps using different metrics: Total Area of convex hull and the Standard Ellipse Area. Depending solely on the metric used, large differences in RN sizes and their overlaps were observed. It was also determined that the accuracy of each method is dependent on sampling effort. We demonstrated that either measurement metric can be successfully used for RN analysis; however explicit selection of one or the other bears important ecological implications. Representing the RNs using both methods with sufficient sample numbers is advisable to fully capture the behavioural niche dimensions of fish assemblages in coral and temperate reefs.


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