Coral reef fishes represent superb models for test of biological theory in field or laboratory. Nonetheless, our knowledge comes from few locations, few biological disciplines, and few of the more than 70 families of fishes occupying coral reefs. Most reef fishes exhibit complex life histories involving distinctive pelagic larval stages, ecological and structural changes associated with settling on reefs, and a quest by growing juveniles for high quality adult habitat. Remarkable adaptations in development, physiology and behavior characterize these stages, yet opportunities to understand such adaptations decline with the destruction of reef habitat and fish populations by rapidly expanding human populations. Recent advances reflect the power of interdisciplinary collaboration, but the future of reefs and their fishes will likely depend on the ability of reef biologists to collaborate with caring non-scientists and provide knowledge, understanding and direction to those who govern.
- Coral reef fishes
- Life history
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)