Ordinary and extraordinary movement behaviour of small resident fish within a Mediterranean Marine Protected Area

Aspillaga, E.; Bartumeus, F.; Linares, C.; Starr, R. M.; López-Sanz, A.; Díaz, D.; Zabala, M.; Hereu, B.
It is important to account for the movement behaviour of fishes when designing effective marine protected areas (MPAs). Fish movements occur across different spatial and temporal scales and understanding the variety of movements is essential to make correct management decisions. This study describes in detail the movement patterns of an economically and commercially important species, Diplodus sargus, within a well-enforced Mediterranean MPA. We monitored horizontal and vertical movements of 41 adult individuals using passive acoustic telemetry for up to one year. We applied novel analysis and visualization techniques to get a comprehensive view of a wide range of movements. D. sargus individuals were highly territorial, moving within small home ranges ( 50 m), where they aggregated to spawn. This study advances our understanding about the functioning of an established MPA and provides important insights into the biology and management of a small sedentary species, suggesting the relevance of rare but important fish behaviours.
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