Assessing the diversity and abundances of larvae and juveniles of coral reef fish: A synthesis of six sampling techniques

Laure Carassou*, Camille Mellin, Dominique Ponton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Due to an increasing emphasis for fish population survey and regulation, efficient tools for evaluating the abundance and diversity of fish from various life stages are needed, especially for coral reef species that present a high taxonomic diversity. The characteristics of six different techniques used for sampling pelagic larvae (a plankton-net and two light-traps), newly settled juveniles (one type of artificial reef), and older juveniles (an underwater seine net in seagrass and macroalgal beds, and rotenone poisoning in coral patches) are described in this study. Larvae belonging to 70 families and juveniles belonging to 34 families were collected. An analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) showed that the taxonomic composition of assemblages collected with the plankton-net and the two light-traps were overlapping but clearly different, due to the higher occurrence of Gobiidae in the plankton-net and of Pomacentridae in both light-traps. Larvae being 2-4 mm standard length (SL) dominated in the plankton-net, whereas larvae being 9-11 mm SL dominated in both light-traps. Pomacentridae juveniles were more abundant in rotenone samples, whereas Labridae dominated in the underwater seine. Juvenile fish collected with the artificial reefs, the underwater seine, and rotenone poisoning largely overlapped in size, with mean sizes of 22, 38, and 33 mm SL, respectively. Seven families were caught by the six sampling techniques, but with unequal success. This study provides ecologists and managers with a unique review of six techniques for sampling a wide range of developmental stages of young fish in different habitats of a coral reef lagoon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-371
Number of pages17
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial reefs
  • Coral reef fish
  • Juveniles
  • Larvae
  • Light-traps
  • Plankton-net
  • Rotenone poisoning
  • Sampling
  • Seine net

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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