Virginia Institute of Marine Science
ENDANGERED SPECIES RESEARCH
Extinction risk is closely tied to body size, home range, and species distribution. Quantifying home range is critical for conservation, and can enable the use of concepts such as 'umbrella species', whose conservation protects other species due to shared habitat. To determine the value of the humphead wrasse as an umbrella species for coral reef conservation, we conducted a multi-year study of humphead wrasse home range at Palmyra Atoll, Central Tropical Pacific, tagging juvenile, female, and male individuals with acoustic transmitters. We quantified home range using 2 metrics, length and area, and determined if these metrics were related to the sex and maturity status of the individual. We recorded individual movements during 5030 fish days, yielding detailed records for 14 individuals comprising 3 juveniles, 5 females, and 6 males. The home range of humphead wrasse measured over a 2 yr study was 0.4 to 14 km and changed with ontogeny. Females had larger home ranges than other reef fishes studied to date (n = 68), indicating value as an umbrella species for coral reefs. We compared the home range of the species to the size distribution of tropical marine protected areas (MPAs), and used a model to estimate the MPA length necessary to retain humphead wrasse. Most MPAs are too small to effectively protect the humphead wrasse.
IUCN RED LIST; EXTINCTION RISK; CHEILINUS-UNDULATUS; PROTECTED AREAS; HOME-RANGE; INTERNATIONAL-TRADE; OCEAN ACIDIFICATION; ROCKY-MOUNTAINS; SITE FIDELITY; FISHES
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Research at Palmyra Atoll was funded by a grant to K.C.W. from NOAA's Undersea Research Program and Coral Reef Conservation Program, and the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory pursuant to Project Number NA05OAR4301108 and NA09OAR43002. Additional support was provided by the Pelagic Fisheries Research Program (PFRP) under Cooperative Agreement NA09OAR4320075 between the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its subdivisions. It was permitted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Hawaii Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. We thank The Nature Conservancy, the Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium, D. Lau, J. Muir, A. Purves, L. Itano, C. Comfort, A. Meyer, S. White, K. Pollock, K. Hum, B. Santos, S. Case, J. Smith, K. Puglise, and B. Taylor. This paper is Contribution No. 3455 of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, and number PARC-0112 from the Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium.
Weng KC, Pedersen MW, Del Raye GA, Caselle JE, Gray AE (2015) Umbrella species in marine systems: using the endangered humphead wrasse to conserve coral reefs. Endang Species Res 27:251-263. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00663