Ecological connectivity in East African seascapes
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves constitute a complex mosaic of habitats referred to as the tropical seascape. Great gaps exist in the knowledge of how these systems are interconnected. This thesis sets out to examine ecological connectivity, i.e. the connectedness of ecological processes across multiple scales, in Zanzibar and Mafia Island, Tanzania. Paper I examined the current knowledge of interlinkages and their effect on seascape functioning, revealing that there are surprisingly few studies on the influences of cross-habitat interactions and food-web ecology. Furthermore, 50% of all fish species use more than one habitat and 18% of all coral reef fish species use mangrove or seagrass beds as juvenile habitat in Zanzibar. Paper II examined the seascape of Menai Bay, Zanzibar using a landscape ecology approach and studied the relationship between fish and landscape variables. The amount of seagrass within 750m of a coral reef site was correlated with increased invertebrate feeder/piscivore fish abundance, especially Lethrinidae and Lutjanidae, which are known to perform ontogenetic and feeding migrations. Within patch seagrass cover was correlated with nursery species abundance. Paper III focused on a seagrass-dominated seascape in Chwaka Bay, Zanzibar and showed that small-scale habitat complexity (shoot height and density) as well as large-scale variables such as distance to coral reefs affected abundance and distribution of a common seagrass parrotfish Leptoscarus vaigiensis. Paper IV studied the connectivity and functional role of two snappers (Lutjanus fulviflamma and L. ehrenbergii) using stable isotopes (δ15N and δ13C) and found that connectivity between habitats was maintained by ontogenetic and foraging migrations by these species. The thesis concludes that ecological connectivity and multi-habitat usage by fish is a general and important characteristic in the Western Indian Ocean and should be considered in management planning.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University , 2012. , 39 p.
fish, functional group, food-web interactions, nursery, coral, seagrass, mangrove, landscape ecology
Research subject Marine Ecotoxicology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75194ISBN: 978-91-7447-477-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-75194DiVA: diva2:515890
2012-05-25, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)
Bell, Susan S., Professor
Kautsky, Nils, Professor
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 4: Submitted.2012-05-032012-04-112013-04-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers