Growth patterns of specialized reef fishes distributed across the Red Sea to Gulf of Aden

Joseph DiBattista, Brett M. Taylor, Jean-Paul A. Hobbs, Tane H. Sinclair-Taylor, Darren James Coker, Elizabeth D. L. Trip, J. Howard Choat, Diego Lozano-Cortés, Nora Kandler, Michael L. Berumen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Determining how growth rates and body size vary spatially and among reef fish species is important to understanding functional traits and demographic trade-offs. Variability in reef fish growth trajectories may be influenced by intrinsic (e.g., biological, phylogenetic) and extrinsic factors (e.g., environmental), as well as their interaction via ecological processes. To assess interspecific variation in these traits, we estimated age and growth for a guild of butterflyfishes sampled from reefs spanning ~ 10˚ degrees of latitude in the Red Sea to the adjacent Gulf of Aden. This study region was chosen because it spans environmental gradients known to influence fish life history traits and allowed for comparisons between regional versus more widespread butterflyfish species. Across the 10 study species, we found significant interspecific differences in growth. This finding contrasted with almost no intraspecific differences between populations across the study region. Moreover, we found that maximum body size was significantly correlated with the phylogenetic placement of the butterflyfish species. These patterns suggest that intrinsic factors and a high degree of ecological specialization may elicit spatially conservative demographic profiles, even when faced with considerable environmental variation across a region
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-976
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 29 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-21
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): CRG-1–2012-BER-002
Acknowledgements: This research was funded by the KAUST Office of Competitive Research Funds (OCRF) under Award No. CRG-1–2012-BER-002 and baseline research funds to MLB, as well as National Geographic Society Grant 9024–11 to JDD.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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