Humans and seasonal climate variability threaten large-bodied coral reef fish with small ranges

Camille Mellin, D Mouillot, M Kulbicki, T McClanahan, L Vigliola, Corey Bradshaw, R Brainard, P Chabanet, G Edgar, Damien Fordham, A Friedlander, V Parravicini, Ana Sequeira, R Stuart-Smith, L Wantiez, M Caley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Coral reefs are among the most species-rich and threatened ecosystems on Earth, yet the extent to which human stressors determine species occurrences, compared with biogeography or environmental conditions, remains largely unknown. With ever-increasing human-mediated disturbances on these ecosystems, an important question is not only how many species can inhabit local communities, but also which biological traits determine species that can persist (or not) above particular disturbance thresholds. Here we show that human pressure and seasonal climate variability are disproportionately and negatively associated with the occurrence of large-bodied and geographically small-ranging fishes within local coral reef communities. These species are 67% less likely to occur where human impact and temperature seasonality exceed critical thresholds, such as in the marine biodiversity hotspot: the Coral Triangle. Our results identify the most sensitive species and critical thresholds of human and climatic stressors, providing opportunity for targeted conservation intervention to prevent local extinctions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number10491
    Number of pages9
    JournalNature Communications
    Volume7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2016

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