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Ichthyofaunal Colonization of a New Artificial Reef in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

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Ichthyofaunal colonization of a new artificial reef was monitored from June 1975 through September 1977. Direct observations were accomplished using SCUBA. Theories of colonization and species equilibrium of islands and islandlike habitats were applied to the colonization data from the artificial reef. Sixty species of fishes from 33 families were recorded at the reef. Fifty-two percent of these species were primary reef fishes and 48% were secondary. Colonization data were produced only from the occurrence of primary reef fish. Data indicate that ichthyofaunal communities in the northern Gulf of Mexico are heavily influenced by seasonal changes in temperature, and that colonization by reef fish in that area does not conform to theories of immigration and extinction for island biotas. These results concur with similar work conducted on reef ichthyofauna in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

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