COMPARING PREDATOR ABUNDANCE AND FISH DIVERSITY IN MPA SITES (KORNATI NP, CROATIA) AND ADJACENT SITES EXPLOITED BY FISHERIES

COMPARING PREDATOR ABUNDANCE AND FISH DIVERSITY IN MPA SITES (KORNATI NP, CROATIA) AND ADJACENT SITES EXPLOITED BY FISHERIES Download filepreliminary communication
COMPARING PREDATOR ABUNDANCE AND FISH DIVERSITY IN MPA SITES (KORNATI NP, CROATIA) AND ADJACENT SITES EXPLOITED BY FISHERIES Kruschel, C., T. Schultz, S., Bakran-Petricioli, T., Petricioli, D.Keywords:
croatian adriaticmarine protected area (mpa)lure assisted visual censusfish community

Volume: 70
Issue: Supplement 1
Pages: 65 - 78

Summary

Fishing activities and other anthropogenic influences have direct and indirect effects on fish community structure. One expectation may be that with increasing fishing pressure and decreasing size selectivity of fisheries all predator populations decline and consequently fish assemblages change. Comparisons of MPAs with unprotected areas are considered valid natural experiments to test hypotheses on how predation structures communities. Here we report on the use of a lure-assisted visual census in the Central Croatian Adriatic to assess and compare fish assemblages in MPA sites (Kornati NP) with adjacent unprotected sites. We detected a significant protection effect on mesopredator abundance and overall fish diversity/richness and that protection status explained a significant portion of the fish assemblage variability, all independent of additional predictor variables, like habitat and depth. As we continue to expand the spatiotemporal scale and magnitude of the approach, we hope that it will eventually provide us with a long-term data series needed for testing many hypotheses in coastal ecology, including the effects of MPAs, coastal development, fishing and global climate change on the species interactions, abundance, diversity and assembly of animal species across multiple spatial scales.