Biogeographic patterns of reef fish community structure in the northeastern Arabian Peninsula

John A. Burt, David A. Feary, Andrew G. Bauman, Paolo Usseglio, Georgenes H. Cavalcante, Peter F. Sale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study provides the first large-scale comparison of reef-associated fish communities in the northeastern Arabian Peninsula, with 24 sites spanning >3000 km of coastline in the southern Persian Gulf, the western Gulf of Oman, and the northwestern Arabian Sea, each with its own unique environmental conditions. Multivariate analyses revealed three distinct community types that were represented mainly by sites within each major water body, with >70% dissimilarity in community structure between each. Persian Gulf communities had low species richness, abundance, and biomass of reef fish compared with the other subregions, with communities dominated by herbivores and generalist predators that had little association with live coral. Reef fish biomass in the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea was comparable, and communities were dominated by fish with moderate coral association. However, there were relatively more herbivores and larger fish in the Arabian Sea than in the Gulf of Oman, where communities were dominated by planktivores. Species richness was highest in the Arabian Sea when differences in abundance among regions were accounted for. The influence of distinct environmental and oceanographic conditions on reef fish community structure in each of these areas is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1875-1883
Number of pages9
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Arabian Gulf
  • Gulf of Oman
  • Persian Gulf
  • biogeography
  • reef fish
  • zoogeography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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