Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Patterns of variation in behaviour within and among reef fish species on an isolated tropical island: influence of exposure and substratum

João Paulo Krajewskia1a2 c1, Sergio R. Floetera3, Geoffrey P. Jonesa2 and Fosca P.P. Leitea1

a1 Departamento de Biologia Animal, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, 13083-970, Brazil

a2 School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia

a3 Departamento de Ecologia e Zoologia, CCB, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC, 88010-970, Brazil

Abstract

Here we studied the activity budgets of nine common reef fish in the oceanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, off north-east Brazil. Species were variable in their behaviour between different sites and similarities in their activity budgets were not necessarily associated with their trophic group. For four species we investigated the relationship of their activity budgets to wave exposure and substratum composition. Staying close to the substratum was positively correlated to wave exposure for most species and foraging was negatively correlated to exposure for two species. By behaving this way, these fish may save energy by avoiding swimming in higher water flux. In contrast to relationships with wave exposure, the responses to substratum composition were species specific. Our results highlight that the activity budgets of fish living in oceanic rocky reefs can be variable and influenced by the local and temporal variation in environmental variables.

(Received October 02 2009)

(Accepted December 14 2009)

(Online publication June 02 2010)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: J.P. Krajewski, Departamento de Biologia Animal, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, 13083-970, Brazil email: jpaulokra@yahoo.com.br