Is larval fish diversity connected to ecosystem level diversity? A case study in Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
Greater ecosystem diversity generally results in greater fish diversity. It follows that areas of greater ecosystem diversity would also exhibit greater larval fish diversity during recruitment events. To test the idea that larval fish would be more diverse in areas with greater ecosystem diversity, two sites on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles were selected for study based on the amount of ecosystem diversity in each area. At Lac Cai, on the windward side of Bonaire, there are fringing reefs, a small barrier reef, seagrass beds, sand flats, and a mangrove lined bay. On the leeward side of the island in front of Kralendijk, the habitat is predominately fringing reef and sand flats. Three collection methods (plankton tows, light traps, and dip netting) were used to test my hypothesis that larval fish diversity at Lac Cai will be greater than that in front of Kralendijk due to greater ecosystem level diversity at Lac Cai. Simpson’s index of diversity (1-D) for Lac Cai (range 0.827 to 0.829) was significantly higher (one-tailed t-test assuming equal variance, p = 0.007, α = 0.05) than the values at Kralendijk (range 0.615 to 0.664) indicating that higher ecosystem diversity does result in higher larval fish diversity
This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science IV (Fall 2008)19: 19-24 from CIEE Bonaire.