Mangroves as Fish Habitat

The Conservation Implications of Spatial and Tidal Variability in the Use of Bahamian Tidal Mangrove Creeks by Transient Predatory Fishes (Extended Abstract)

Brendan Talwar, Alastair R. Harborne, and Edward J. Brooks


Caribbean mangroves, along with adjacent soft-bottom habitats, are recognized as important nurseries for a range of ecologically and commercially important fish species (e.g., Mumby et al. 2004). Research on the nursery function of tidal mangrove creeks, including their role as a refuge from predators, has tended to focus on juvenile fishes and their subsequent migration into adult habitats. In contrast, there are limited data on the transient predators of these juvenile fishes, meaning those individuals that move into shallow mangrove areas on rising tides to feed but leave there at low tide (Valentine-Rose and Layman 2011). This lack of data is surprising given the importance of these fishes.

This study aimed to provide insights into the identity of these diurnal, transient predators using mangrove creeks and how their use of this habitat is affected by water depth, flow rate, tidal range, and time of day. By studying three adjacent creeks in the same biophysical environment, this study also aimed to assess the degree of intrahabitat variability in creek use by these fishes.