Rocky reef fish assemblage structure in coastal islands of southern Brazil
Daros, Felippe A.
Bueno, Leonardo S.
Bertoncini, Áthila A.
Spach, Henry L.
Within the Brazilian province, rocky reefs and submerged outcrops are among the most important habitats for reef fishes, providing suitable habitats for the development of reef fish communities and consequently sheltering a high ecological diversity. Rocky reef fish assemblages were sampled in seven coastal islands in South Brazil by strip transects of 40 m2 by the underwater visual census to obtain density (fish 40 m-2) and biomass (g 40 m-2). Fish species were also categorized according to trophic category and geographical distribution. In total, 526 strip transects were performed, covering an area of 21,040 m2, providing 19,377 fish, distributed among 73 species of 34 families. Itacolomis Island presented the highest density, followed by Veado Island. Regarding biomass, Itacolomis Island and Pedra da Baleia were the most representative rocky reefs. Mobile invertebrate predator was the trophic category with the highest density and biomass. A total of 60% of the species occur in the Western Atlantic, 20% are Transatlantic and 9.6% are endemic to the Brazilian Province. Our results indicate that despite the similarity in the taxonomic composition among islands, the observed differences in densities and biomass, highlight singular assemblage structures, whether by environmental and/or anthropogenic factors, and dominated by few species, both in density and biomass.