Research by Melita Samoilys shows that the Chagos Archipelago provides a valuable benchmark for understanding impacts on reef fish assemblages in the absence of fishing.
Here live coral, recently dead coral and reef rugosity were primary drivers of fish species’ abundance lending support to our understanding that climate-induced changes in reef habitat directly impact fish populations.
These impacts were notably seen in parrotfishes and surgeonfishes, but not always negatively, with some parrotfish species responding positively to degraded reefs.
The study examined fish assemblages and associated benthic variables across five atolls within the Chagos Archipelago, where fishing pressure is largely absent, to better understand causal relationships between fish populations and benthic communities. Read this research article online or Download PDF