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While the four fish groups were found in similar proportions across the habitat zones of Los Islotes, the species densities varied significantly and correlated with the substrate characteristics.
AUTHORS: Aburto‐Oropeza, O., and Balart, E. F.
DATE: April 2001
In an effort to understand the biodiversity, habitat use, and distribution of reef fish, underwater surveys were conducted at Los Islotes. The study defined six habitat zones (rhodoliths, walls, big boulders, small boulders, and black coral) and four substrate characteristics (depth, rugosity, number and rock size, and percent coverage of sessile invertebrates) of each transect. Four fish groups were identified and were found in similar proportions across all the zones. While the species densities varied significantly, they correlated with the substrate characteristics.
This study not only delved into the natural history of Los Islotes, but demonstrated how habitat complexity can explain community structure at rocky reefs. Cited 150 times, the paper has streamlined a method to understand reef community structure on a spatial and temporal scale.