Passive acoustic telemetry reveals highly variable home range and movement patterns among unicornfish within a marine reserve

A. Marshell, J. S. Mills, K. L. Rhodes, J. McIlwain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Marine reserves are the primary management tool for Guam's reef fish fishery. While a build-up of fish biomass has occurred inside reserve boundaries, it is unknown whether reserve size matches the scale of movement of target species. Using passive acoustic telemetry, we quantified movement patterns and home range size of two heavily exploited unicornfish Naso unicornis and Naso lituratus. Fifteen fish (N. unicornis: n = 7; N. lituratus: n = 4 male, n = 4 female) were fitted with internal acoustic tags and tracked continuously over four months within a remote acoustic receiver array located in a decade-old marine reserve. This approach provided robust estimates of unicornfish movement patterns and home range size. The mean home range of 3. 2 ha for N. unicornis was almost ten times larger than that previously recorded from a three-week tracking study of the species in Hawaii. While N. lituratus were smaller in body size, their mean home range (6. 8 ha) was over twice that of N. unicornis. Both species displayed strong site fidelity, particularly during nocturnal and crepuscular periods. Although there was some overlap, individual movement patterns and home range size were highly variable within species and between sexes. N. unicornis home range increased with body size, and only the three largest fish home ranges extended into the deeper outer reef slope beyond the shallow reef flat. Both Naso species favoured habitat dominated by corals. Some individuals made predictable daily crepuscular migrations between different locations or habitat types. There was no evidence of significant spillover from the marine reserve into adjacent fished areas. Strong site fidelity coupled with negligible spillover suggests that small-scale reserves, with natural habitat boundaries to emigration, are effective in protecting localized unicornfish populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-642
Number of pages12
JournalCoral Reefs
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

Fingerprint

Acanthuridae
marine park
telemetry
home range
acoustics
Naso
range size
reefs
site fidelity
reef
philopatry
fish
body size
habitats
acoustic array
Guam
habitat
emigration
Hawaii
habitat type

Keywords

  • Acanthuridae
  • Acoustic telemetry
  • Guam
  • Home range
  • Marine reserves
  • Movement patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

Passive acoustic telemetry reveals highly variable home range and movement patterns among unicornfish within a marine reserve. / Marshell, A.; Mills, J. S.; Rhodes, K. L.; McIlwain, J.

In: Coral Reefs, Vol. 30, No. 3, 09.2011, p. 631-642.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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