Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological and Environmental Sciences (MSBES)

Specialization

Ecology and Ecosystem Sciences (EES)

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Austin Humphries

Abstract

Indonesia’s coral reefs support over half of all small-scale fishers globally and are thus an important economic and sociocultural resource. These coral reef fisheries, however, are threatened from a variety of stressors including overexploitation. No-take fisheries closures are thought to be a suitable management strategy in Indonesia that provide a refuge for fish species with different ecological and life-history characteristics. While examining such indicators is increasingly important to determine management efficacy, few have done so in Indonesia. I investigate community ecological and life-history responses to no-take fisheries closures using abundance data from 2009-2015 in three regions across Indonesia’s Sunda Banda Seascape. Overall, fish biomass was 30% greater in no-take closures than fished reefs. The only functional groups to respond to management were corallivores and detritivores, and fished reefs had greater biomasses of these groups. No-take closures had fish communities with greater maximum lengths, longer life spans, slower growth rates, and higher mean trophic levels. Surprisingly, total fish biomass was not a good predictor for life history values or functional group biomass. These results indicate that non-target fish species may thrive in fished reefs where predators with slow life histories are reduced. Also, no-take closures in Indonesia’s Sunda Banda Seascape are facilitating recovery of life-history characteristics and fish biomass but these impacts are not uniformly distributed across functional groups. My findings are of value to current ecosystem-based management objectives attempting to achieve broader conservation goals of maintaining ecological sustainability.

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