Patterns of scale-dependency and the influence of map resolution on the seascape ecology of reef fish

MS Kendall, TJ Miller, SJ Pittman
2011 Marine Ecology Progress Series  
Detection and perception of ecological relationships between biota and their surrounding habitats is sensitive to analysis scale and resolution of habitat data. We measured strength of univariate linear correlations between reef fish and seascape variables at multiple spatial scales (25 to 800 m). Correlation strength was used to identify the scale that best associates fish to their surrounding habitat. To evaluate the influence of map resolution, seascape variables were calculated based on 4
more » ... ulated based on 4 separate benthic maps produced using 2 levels of spatial and thematic resolution, respectively. Individual seascape variables explained only 25% of the variability in fish distributions. Length of reef edge was correlated with more aspects of the fish assemblage than other features. Area of seagrass and bare sand correlated with distribution of many fish, not just obligate users. No fish variables correlated with habitat diversity. Individual fish species achieved a wider range of correlations than mobility guilds or the entire fish assemblage. Scales of peak correlation were the same for juveniles and adults in a majority of comparisons. Highly mobile species exhibited broader scales of peak correlation than either resident or moderately mobile fish. Use of different input maps changed perception of the strength and even the scale of peak correlations for many comparisons involving hard bottom edge length and area of sand, whereas results were consistent regardless of map type for comparisons involving area of seagrass and habitat diversity. Hard bottom edge length Acanthurus coeruleus J = A J = A J = A A < J Cephalopholis fulvus J = A J = A J = A J = A Haemulon flavolineatum
doi:10.3354/meps08945 fatcat:n75fmhfia5gkracbhk2w7twr3u