The impact of the 1998 coral mortality on reef fish communities in the Seychelles

M.D. Spalding, Gavin Jarvis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Citations (Scopus)


Coral reef fish communities in the Seychelles are highly diverse and remain less affected by the direct impacts of human activities than those on many other coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. These factors make them highly suitable for a detailed survey of the impacts of the 1998 mass coral mortality, which devastated the coral faunas of the region. Using underwater visual census (UVC) techniques, fish communities were sampled in three localities in the southern Seychelles and one locality in the northern (granitic) Seychelles. Initial surveys were undertaken from the latter site in 1997. Surveys were undertaken at all sites during the coral bleaching episode in 1998 prior to any major changes in the reef fish communities. Repeat surveys were undertaken in 1999 one year after the coral mortality. Over 250 fish species were sampled from 35 families. Results suggest that changes in the overall fish community structures are not great, despite massive changes in the benthic cover. Significant changes have been observed in a number of individual species. These include those most heavily dependent on live coral cover for shelter or sustenance. Future potential changes are discussed, and potential management interventions are considered. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-321
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography
  • Pollution

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