Long-term effects of destruction of hermatypic corals by Acanthaster plana infestation on reef fish communities at Iriomote Island, Japan
Marine Ecology Progress Series
Long-term changes in structure of fish communities on coral reefs infested by the coralfeeding starfish Acanthasterplanci were determined using 20 mZ visual transects. We censused a living coral reef consisting mainly of staghorn Acropora spp. at Saluyama Bay and a dead coral reef with low structural complexlty of coral branches (about 2 yr after A. planci infestation) at Amitori Bay, Iriomote Island (Ryukyu Islands, Japan) in September 1984. Two yr later, we recensused the dead coral reef,
... ead coral reef, which had changed into a flat plain of unstructured coral rubble ('rubble reef'). Mean numbers of species and individuals per transect severely decreased in the following order of reef types: (1) living reef (1984). (2) dead reef (1984), and (3) rubble reef (1986). Correlated with these decreases in numbers were several patterns: (1) coral-polyp feeders completely &sappeared on both dead and rubble reefs, probably due to absence of food; (2) numbers of resident species and individuals decreased on the dead reef, perhaps due to decrease in living space or shelter associated with the reduction in structural complexity of coral branches; and (3) numbers of species and individuals of both resident and visitor fishes declined on the unstructured rubble reef, likely due to shortage of living space and food.