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Research Article

ScienceAsia 28 (2002): 327-337 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2002.28.327


Community Structure of Coral Reef Fishes at a Sink Reef in the Inner Gulf of Thailand

Vipoosit Manthachitraa,* and S Sudarab

ABSTRACT: Reef fish assemblages in the inner Gulf of Thailand exist in a low salinity, high- sediment environment with limited connection to other reefs. Monitoring of reef fish assemblages at Khangkao Island from October 1997 to November 1998 revealed 83 species from 28 families. The pomacentridae family was dominant in terms of both number of species and abundance. Small water-column feeders (13 species, 40% abundance) and small herbivores (4 species, 39% abundance) dominated the assemblages. Invertebrate feeders and piscivores were less prominent, with a moderate number of species in low abundance. The differences in species composition between sites arose because habitat is a major source of variation, while the time of year of sampling and reef orientation with reference to seasonal winds were less important. Variation among stations was detected only in fish assemblages of the reef slope. Temporal variation was also detected but mainly on dominant fish taxa in each study site. Community parameters indicated a similar pattern where habitat was a major source of variation in species composition. The results suggest that fish assemblages on reef slopes have higher species andabundance than other habitats. The present structure of the fish assemblage of Khangkao Island illustrates a shift from the structure 10 years ago. Benthic invertebrate feeders declined severely while small plankton feeders and herbivores increased. This may reflect a pattern of increasing disturbance affecting reef fish assemblages in the inner Gulf of Thailand.

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a Department of Aquatic Science, Burapha University, Bangsean, Chonburi 20131, Thailand.
b Department of Marine Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.

*Corresponding author, E-mail: vipoosit@bucc4.buu.ac.th

Received 18 Feb 2002, Accepted 30 May 2002