Larval supply to a marine reserve and adjacent fished area in the Soufrière Marine Management Area, St Lucia, West Indies

Authors

  • H. Valles,

    Corresponding author
    1. Natural Resource Management Programme (NRM), University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, P.O. Box 64, Bridgetown, Barbados
      ‡Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Fax: +1 246 424 4204; email: nrm@uwichill.edu.bb
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  • S. Sponaugle,

    1. Marine Biology and Fisheries, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, U.S.A.
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  • H. A. Oxenford

    1. Natural Resource Management Programme (NRM), University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, P.O. Box 64, Bridgetown, Barbados
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‡Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Fax: +1 246 424 4204; email: nrm@uwichill.edu.bb

Abstract

A total of 76 reef fish species from 31 families was collected at two coral reef sites, one in a marine reserve and the other in an adjacent fished area of the Soufrière Marine Management Area (SMMA) in St. Lucia. Five families (Scaridae, Pomacentridae, Synodontidae, Apogonidae and Blennidae) dominated the collections at both sites while species of high commercial value were rare. Monthly patterns of larval supply differed among selected species, but overall trends were similar between the two sites for most species. However, despite the geographical proximity of the two sites, the fished area received a consistently higher abundance and diversity of larvae than the marine reserve throughout the study period. Patterns in larval supply generally were reflected in the settlement patterns of Stegastes partitus. Results suggest that local-scale variation in hydrodynamic and or biological features is influencing the arrival and hence settlement of larvae at the reef.

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