Inter-Research > MEPS > v698 > p95-109  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 698:95-109 (2022)  -  DOI:

Changes in fish assemblages after marine heatwave events in West Hawai‘i Island

Amy Y. Olsen1,2 *, Shawn Larson2, Jacqueline L. Padilla-Gamiño3, Terrie Klinger1

1School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98105, USA
2Seattle Aquarium, Seattle, Washington 98101, USA
3School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98105, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Marine heatwaves are prolonged events of anomalously warm water that affect diverse marine habitats and their associated biota. Evidence shows that anthropogenic climate change is increasing the frequency and duration of marine heatwaves and that coral reef systems are sensitive to the thermal stress imposed by these heatwaves. In this study, we examined fish community response to consecutive marine heatwaves (2014-2015) by analyzing changes in fish assemblages in Hawai‘i over 11 yr (2009-2019). Subtidal video survey data were collected in 3 areas on the west side of the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Fish were counted and identified to species or genus, then assigned to one of 7 functional groups: predators, secondary consumers, planktivores, corallivores, scrapers, grazers or browsers. Our study revealed 4 key findings. We show that all fish assemblages changed significantly in each area after the marine heatwaves. Across all 3 areas, the 3 most abundant functional groups (planktivores, grazers and secondary consumers) drove the observed changes in the community. Following the marine heatwaves, fish abundance increased in 2 areas with fewer fishing regulations. In the most protected area, fish abundance remained high and diversity indices were significantly higher post-marine heatwaves. Our results support the hypothesis that marine heatwaves can cause shifts in fish assemblages and that the precise nature of these shifts can vary over relatively short spatial scales that may coincide with scales of management.

KEY WORDS: Thermal stress · Fish biodiversity · Bleaching · Coral reef · Functional groups · Disturbance · Community ecology

Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material
Cite this article as: Olsen AY, Larson S, Padilla-Gamiño JL, Klinger T (2022) Changes in fish assemblages after marine heatwave events in West Hawai‘i Island. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 698:95-109.

Export citation
Share:    Facebook - - linkedIn

 Previous article Next article