p>A group of fish known as wrasses increased and then peaked in diversity and numbers after 10 years and then their abundance declined, perhaps as a result of competition with triggerfish for the same invertebrate prey. One species of triggerfishthe orange-lined triggerfishbecame dominant in the parks with the longest fishing bans, actively excluding other competitors from territories.
Triggerfish are important in another respect; they feed on sea urchins, which in turn feed on the reef-building algae on which the entire reef system depends. When fishing eliminates species that prey on sea urchins, the invertebrates can severely impact the entire system, so keeping sea urchins in check is vital to coral reefs.
Overall, the time frame needed by surgeonfish and tangs, triggerfish, rabbitfish, and the coral-building algae to completely rebuild their populations to pre-fishing levels may exceed the length of the study.
Decisions made by managers to close areas to fishing in an effort to save fish populations can be unpopular but necessary, added McClanahan. What this study has shown us is that many fish populations take long periods of time to recover fully, and that permanent bans on fishing in some parks are necessary if were to conserve healthy coral reef systems.
Contact: John Delaney
Wildlife Conservation Society 11-Jul-2007Page: 1 2 Related biology news :1
. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk2
. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows3
. Pollution causes 40 percent of deaths worldwide, study finds4
. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer5
. New study suggests Concord grape juice may provide protection against breast cancer6
. Preclinical study links gene to brain aneurysm formation7
. In limiting life span, study finds booming bacteria innocent8
. Multicenter study nets new lung tumor-suppressor gene9
. MIT study: Maturity brings richer memories10
. Chickadee, nutchatch presence in conifers increases tree growth, says CU-Boulder study11
. Phase II study of therapeutic vaccine shows efficacy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer