Bachelor Thesis / Bachelorstudents with fieldwork at RSEC
Fish Fauna Diversity in Relation to Habitat Structure at an Isolated Fringing Reef at Masbat Bay, Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt
Katharina Fietz - Bachelor Thesis - September 2009 - University of Hamburg, Section Ichthyology
Diversity of a fish assemblage was determined and compared to substrate structure, to the amount of coral damage, as well as to defined environmental variables on an isolated fringing reef off the coast of Egypt. A total of 95 different species belonging to 35 families were counted in the reef adjacent to the tourist resort town Dahab. Labridae and Pomacentridae dominated fish assemblages in terms of species diversity while Pomacentridae were most abundant with 1262 counted individuals out of a total of 4165. Abiotic cover was the most frequented in substrate analysis followed by life coral cover and algae cover. The reef divided into three main zones: the coral area in the centre showed highest live coral cover dominated by Acropora spp. and highest fish abundance. The area closest to shore showed high algae cover and high abiotic cover and was dominated by Porites, while a high abiotic cover and low coral cover defined the outer edge of the reef area. Variation in total number of fishes between transects, variation in reef fish diversity, as well as distribution of the most abundant fish species and significant changes of abiotic cover between transects further clarified this differentiation of the reef. Multivariate analyses showed that substrate structure influenced fish assemblages strongest of all investigated environmental variables. Water depth, distance from shore, and distance from the beginning of the reef also revealed a good correlation to fish assemblages. Analysis of coral damage correlation to fishes suggested little influence of damaged coral colonies on variation in fish assemblages. Results of coral damage data analyses, however, can only limitedly be interpreted due to a lack of relative amounts of damage in the reef. Diurnal changes in fish assemblage composition were not detected.
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