The present work analyses the spatial and temporal variations of the herbivorous fish assemblage on 10 coral reef sites in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe (French West Indies). The herbivorous fish assemblage was assessed by visual census along band transects; environmental data were collected to determine the relationship between environmental conditions and temporal and spatial variations in herbivorous fish abundance and distribution. Spatial variation in species abundance was related to variation of the benthic cover (e.g., coral and algae), depth, and protection status among sites. Short-term fluctuations of herbivorous fishes on the reef flats were linked to tide, swell, and wind, whereas long-term variations were seasonal and highly correlated to annual water temperature oscillations.
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Vol. 28 • No. 1A