The influences of depth and indo-pacific invasion on food web structure of eastern Mediterranean fishes (co supervised with Y Bellmaker)
Shahar Malamud <email@example.com>
Quantitative analysis of ﬁsh assemblage dynamics and trophic relationships in artificial reefs
The structure and function of the Eastern Mediterranean marine ecosystems are being exposed to a wide range of anthropogenic impacts, most notably fishing, invasive species, and global warming. Specifically, the intense influence of the Indo-Pacific invasion has dramatically changed the local ecosystem species diversity. However, the influence of these immense changes on food web structure and trophic interactions remain poorly understood.
My research aim is to examine the diversity, food web structure and trophic relationships for Eastern Mediterranean ﬁsh communities on artificial reefs. I particularly focus on quantifying invasive species establishment and seasonal variations. For this, I deployed five artificial reefs (AR) structures as a repeatable, unique, isolated uniform habitat. These AR contain the rugged surface area, high complexity environment and a wide variety of hiding places. I found that the AR attract diverse communities of fishes, up to 20 time those on natural reefs. In addition, I find that seasonal dynamics are distinct for invasive and indigenous species display divergent patterns of biomass and abundance throughout the year. This demonstrates that AR can be used as a research and fishery management tool on the Israeli Mediterranean coast.