Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences


Biology, Ecology.


Sale, P. F.,




A fundamental question in ecology is how spatial scale can influence the distribution and abundance of species and the structure of assemblages. The purpose of this work was to: (A) examine coral reef fish assemblages of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands for species-area relationships; (B) understand what determines this relationship; and (C) determine relationships between habitat variables and assemblages and populations of reef fish at several spatial scales. Results indicated a positive relationship between species richness of reef fish and coral reef area at all reef sites (n = 14), where log10 area explained 66--96% of the variation in log 10 species richness. Tests were then conducted to understand what determined the species-area relationships. Five independent tests indicated that the "random placement hypothesis" did not entirely account for the species-area relationship. Instead "habitat diversity" and "habitat influence" hypotheses were found to better explain the variation in species richness. Upon closer examination of relationships between habitat variables and populations and assemblages of reef fish, it was determined that habitat variables that significantly accounted for variation in abundances of individuals and/or species richness varied across spatial scales as well as biological levels of resolution.Dept. of Biological Sciences. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2000 .C45. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 39-02, page: 0442. Adviser: P. F. Sale. Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2000.