Article

First record of giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis) around the Clipperton Atoll-La Passion Island (North-Eastern Tropical Pacific)

Article

First record of giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis) around the Clipperton Atoll-La Passion Island (North-Eastern Tropical Pacific)

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Abstract

As the giant trevally is absent from the list by Fourrière et al. (2014), we present here the first record of C. ignobilis in the waters surrounding the Clipperton atoll.

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... The list of fishes from Île de La Passion-Clipperton Island in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP; Robertson & Allen 2002) was recently expanded to include 197 fish species from 62 families, with 106 classified as reef fishes ( Fourrière et al. 2014). The recent documentation of giant trevally Caranx ignobilis at Clipperton shows that the colonization process is ongoing ( Clua et al. 2016). This fish fauna consists of a mix of species from different biogeographic origins, including taxa from the Panamic Province, some of circumtropical distribution, and a high percentage of transPacific species ( Robertson et al. 2004). ...
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We provide the first assessment for a coral reef fish population of a potentially threatened endemic species from a remote and isolated oceanic island. Based on a 3-dimensional (3D) numerical field model of the reef habitat and underwater visual censuses conducted by 2 different teams in February and May 2016, we show that the 3.7 km2 of the Clipperton Atoll reefs shallower than 30 m host >50 000 ind. (average density of 0.02 ind. m−2) of the endemic Clipperton angelfish Holacanthus limbaughi. Based on limited submersible observations to 150 m, the population likely extends below the 30 m depth stratum, resulting in an even larger population size and providing a potential depth refuge against expected warming ocean temperatures.
... The list of fishes from Île de La Passion-Clipperton Island in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP; Robertson & Allen 2002) was recently expanded to include 197 fish species from 62 families, with 106 classified as reef fishes ( Fourrière et al. 2014). The recent documentation of giant trevally Caranx ignobilis at Clipperton shows that the colonization process is ongoing ( Clua et al. 2016). This fish fauna consists of a mix of species from different biogeographic origins, including taxa from the Panamic Province, some of circumtropical distribution, and a high percentage of transPacific species ( Robertson et al. 2004). ...
Article
Full-text available
We provide the first assessment for a coral reef fish population of a potentially threatened endemic species from a remote and isolated oceanic island. Based on a 3-dimensional (3D) numerical field model of the reef habitat and underwater visual censuses conducted by 2 different teams in February and May 2016, we show that the 3.7 km2 of the Clipperton Atoll reefs shallower than 30 m host >50 000 ind. (average density of 0.02 ind. m−2) of the endemic Clipperton angelfish Holacanthus limbaughi. Based on limited submersible observations to 150 m, the population likely extends below the 30 m depth stratum, resulting in an even larger population size and providing a potential depth refuge against expected warming ocean temperatures.
Technical Report
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Synthèse des opérations technico-scientifiques menées par la mission Mexicano-française sur Clipperton en Oct. 2019
Technical Report
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INforme tecnico de las operaciones tecnico-cientifica que se desarollaron durante la mision en Clipperton en octubre 2019
Technical Report
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Synthèse des opérations technico-scientifiques menées par la mission Mexicano-française sur Clipperton en Oct. 2019
Technical Report
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Une mission à caractère scientifique s’est effectuée sur l’atoll de Clipperton-La Passion du 6 au 13 août 2018 dans le cadre de l’expédition Tara Pacific qui a débuté en mai 2016 et qui se terminait par ces récifs sous juridiction française avant un 32ième site sur l’île de Coiba au Panama. Tara Pacifique, dont la direction scientifique est assurée par le CRIOBE USR3278 EPHE-CNRS-UPVD et le Centre Scientifique de Monaco, se focalise sur la compréhension de la résilience des récifs coralliens face aux changements globaux actuels et opère sur la base de prélèvements de coraux et de poissons, de même que la collecte d’eau océanique et côtière, pour étudier la flore microbienne de ces différents compartiments. A ces opérations de routine menées par sept scientifiques appuyés par un équipage de six personnes et deux opérateurs média, se sont rajoutés deux volets traitant respectivement des requins et des poissons, co-financés par le Ministère de de la transition écologique et solidaire. Servie par une fenêtre météo de 48h, la goélette Tara a quitté Cabo San Lucas au Mexique le 2 août pour atteindre l’atoll de Clipperton le 6 août, soit deux jours avant la coupure décalée de sa trajectoire par l’ouragan John. Sur place, les conditions de mer, dominées par une houle de Sud-Ouest, ont été très favorables aux débarquements à partir du mouillage situé à l’Est de l’atoll, en face de l’ex-camp américain. En mer, trois sites principaux d’investigation ont été mis en oeuvre, respectivement à l’Est, au Sud et à l’Ouest de l’atoll, sur lesquels s’est opérée la méthodologie classique de Tara Pacifique. Les résultats préliminaires démontrent un état de santé du corail exceptionnellement bon à l’échelle du Pacifique. La diversité corallienne est certes faible avec trois espèces (massives, encroûtantes et à branches très courtes) très dominantes, à savoir des Porites, Pavona et Pocillopora, mais la couverture moyenne en corail vivant est autour de 70%, et les signes de maladies ou de blanchissement relativement faibles. La présence de l’espèce Millepora platyphylla a été mise en évidence pour la première fois sur l’atoll, et une carotte d’une longueur exceptionnelle de 133 cm a été prélevée dans un des Porites géants de la zone. Conformément au protocole Tara Pacific, dix spécimens de chirurgien bagnard Acanthurus triostegus ont été prélevés, de même que cinq indivdus de poisson cocher Zanclus cornutus, afin d’étudier leur microbiome associé. A ces deux espèces clefs, se sont rajoutés le prélèvement de plus de 200 échantillons d’ADN parmi 38 espèces de poissons de récifs différentes, en se focalisant sur les espèces endémiques telles que le poisson ange de Limbaugh Holacanthus limbaughi dont une courbe de croissance pourra être calculée afin de mieux appréhender sa résilience. Deux nouvelles espèces de poissons (connues mais jamais observées sur Clipperton) ont été identifiées, à savoir le poisson ange royal Holacanthus passer, et le poisson perroquet étoilé Calotomus carolinensis. Les peuplements ichtyologiques sont apparus en très bonne santé, avec une biomasse en meso-prédateurs (notamment les gros mérous et murènes) extrêmement importante. Concernant les requins, en comparaison avec les observations alarmantes de 2016, les observations convergent vers une augmentation de la densité et de la taille des individus, en particulier sur l’espèce dominante qui est le requin à pointes blanches Carcharhinus albimarginatus. D’une moyenne de 4,2 requins observés par plongée en 2016, la moyenne est passée à environ 11 requins par plongée, soit quasiment trois fois plus. La deuxième espèce en densités observées est le requin des Galapagos C. galapagensis, au sein de laquelle dominent aussi les individus d’une longueur inférieure à 90 cm (64%), mais les adultes de plus de 120 cm de long sont aussi présents. Le requin corail Trianodon obesus, qui n’avait pas été obervé en 2016, a lui aussi été observé à plusieurs reprises, dont certains individus > 150 cm LT. idem pour le requin marteau à festons Sphyrna lewinii, dont une demi-douzaine d’individus entre 250 et 400 cm LT ont été observés en plongée, en deçà de 20 m de profondeur. Outre les observations, de la pêche à partir des bateaux et des biopsies sous-marines (à l’aide d’une arbalète) ont permis de collecter une vingtaine d’échantillons de requins à pointes blanches et de requins des Galapagos, de même que quatre échantillons de requin corail. Dans le cadre d’une étude sur la connectivité spatiale des requins à l’échelle régionale, trois récepteurs acoustiques ont été installés sur Clipperton en 2010. Des résultats préliminaires montrent des déplacements des requins entre l’archipel des Revillagigedo (Mexique) au Nord et l‘archipel des Galapagos (Equateur) au Sud et ce, via Clipperton (France) au sein de ce que l’on considère comme le ‘corridor du Pacifique Tropical Est’. Les batteries de ces récepteurs ont été changées et les données récupérées. Elles montrent la présence d’une vingtaine de requins différents, dont certains sont potentiellement extérieurs à Clipperton, ce qui confirmerait de nouveau la nécessité d’envisager la gestion de ces espèces migratrices à une échelle internationale. A terre, plusieurs débarquements ont permis de remettre en place un drapeau français sur la stèle à l’ouest de l’atoll, et de constater que la plaque commémorative posée en 2015 par le député Folliot avait disparue, probablement victime d’un acte de vandalisme. L’atoll est toujours jonché d’une quantité impressionnante de déchets, essentiellement en plastiques et venus par la mer. Subsistent néanmoins aussi les traces encore très visibles de la présnece humaine dans le camps de Bougainville et l’ancien camps américain au sein duquel de nombreux obus désamorcés ont été empilés dans des sacs à gravas pour apparement être exportés de l’atoll, opération qui semble ne pas avoir aboutie, ce qui donne une piètre image de l’endroit. Il n’y a pas de nouvelle épave conséquente de bateau à déplorer, et les anciennes s’érodent inexorablement. Deux tombes datées de 2016, apparemment humaines, ont été observées au Nord-Est de l’atoll. La mesure des cordons littoraux au niveau des anciennes passes naturelles, montre une stabilité depuis 2016, malgré des signes d’érosion omniprésents autour de l’atoll. La largeur la plus étroite mesurée au niveau du rocher au Sud débouche sur 15 m (14 m mesurée en 2016) et 35 m au Nord-Est, alors qu’un passage fréquent d’eau semble exister dans une dépression du socle phosphato-calcaire, sur une longueur de 47 m. La végétation rampante semble en extension, de même que les cocotiers (>1400 de plus de 1 m de haut contre 800 en 2016). En revanche, les crabes Johngarcia planatus, les rats Rattus rattus et les populations d’oiseaux, notamment de fous masqués Sula dactylactra (<30 000 individus au sol entre 7h et midi) semblent en baisse. Les frégates Fregata minor (>500) et nodis bruns Anous stolidus (>800) semblent en revanche en hausse.
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An updated checklist of cartilaginous and bony fishes from reefs and nearby areas around Clipperton Atoll (eastern Pacific) is presented. The register was compiled from field surveys between 1997 and 2012, an exhaustive literature review, and consultation of museum collections and databases. Records were then used to assess completeness of the local fish inventory using six nonpara- metric rarefaction formulations. A total of 197 species in 62 families was re- corded, and of these 106 correspond to reef fishes; most of these are immigrants from the eastern and central Pacific, and only seven species were identified as endemics of the atoll. Estimated level of endemism in reef species (6.6%) is high for the eastern Pacific as a whole but intermediate when compared with data for other oceanic islands of the same region. From nonparametric tests it was esti- mated that expected number of reef fishes present at Clipperton is 110 + 4 spe- cies, and because the difference from the reported number from this new check- list was not significant, we suggest that the current listing is practically complete. Comparisons of completeness of the inventory at Clipperton (∼95%) with that reported for fish fauna of the eastern Pacific and worldwide revealed that quality of the current inventory is remarkably high, even in spite of the geographic isola- tion of the atoll and the still limited scientific data.
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We need to understand the long-term movement patterns of coral reef top predators in order to design marine protected areas that will provide these animals with effective, long-term pro- tection. We used acoustic telemetry to quantify the movements of giant trevally, a large coral reef top predator, at 5 atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. We did not observe any inter-atoll movements but found that giant trevally were attached to core activity areas from which they made periodic atoll-wide excursions of up to 29 km. Within the core areas, the tagged fish exhibited diel habitat shifts. We identified Rapture Reef at French Frigate Shoals (FFS) atoll as a spawning site, where giant trevally form seasonal mating aggregations. Giant trevally that use Rapture Reef as their core daytime area live there year-round, whereas those that occupy other areas of FFS migrate to Rapture Reef in the summertime during specific phases of the moon. Although giant trevally were wide-ranging and would require large marine protected areas (e.g. entire atolls or islands) to protect their entire range, core activity areas and spawning sites for giant trevally could be contained within relatively small marine protected areas. Identification of spawning sites could assist in the establishment of focused marine protected areas that, while quite small in size, could have significant impact in preserving the spawning biomass of this species. Very large marine protected areas are not feasible in most heavily populated areas, hence effective alternative management strategies must be found for this fishery-targeted, wide-ranging top predator. We sug- gest using a combination of relatively small marine protected areas, to protect core activity areas and spawning sites for giant trevally, and conventional measures such as minimum size or 'slot' limits to further safeguard spawning stocks.
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Transpacific species constitute ~12% of the TEP's tropical shore fishes and 15-20% of shore fishes at islands on the western edge of the EPB. Eastward migrants constitute ~7% of the TEP's shore-fish fauna, and a similar proportion of TEP endemics may be derived from recent eastward immigration. Representation of transpacific species in different elements of the TEP fauna relates strongly to adult pelagic dispersal ability-they constitute almost all the epipelagic oceanic species, ~25% of the inshore pelagic species, but only 10% of the demersal shore fishes. Taxa that have multiple pelagic life-history stages are best represented among the transpacific species. Among demersal teleosts that have pelagic larvae, pelagic spawners are better represented than demersal spawners among transpacific species, perhaps because offshore larval development and longer pelagic larval durations provide the former with greater dispersal capabilities. There are strong phylogenetic effects on representation in the transpacific fauna: (1) elasmobranchs are proportionally better represented than teleosts, even teleosts with more pelagic life-history stages; (2) a pelagic juvenile stage with great dispersal potential allows tetraodontiforms that produce demersal or pelagic eggs to be well represented; and (3) various speciose central Pacific families with "adequate" larval dispersal characteristics lack transpacific species. El Niiios potentially enhance eastward migration by increasing eastward flow and halving transit times across the EPB. However, that effect may be offset by low productivity and high temperatures in those eastbound flows. There is little clear evidence of strongly increased migration across the EPB during El Niiios, including recent extreme events (1982-1983 and 1997-1998). During such events shore fishes in the TEP experience range expansions and become locally abundant at marginal areas such as the Galapagos, changes that can be confused with increased migration across the EPB. Although there is a strong bias toward eastward migration among the transpacific shore fishes, there likely is much more westward migration than previously realized: 20-25% of transpacific species may have migrated in that direction. Stronger eastbound than westbound currents can account for this bias. Westward migrants have better developed pelagic dispersal characteristics than many eastward migrants, suggesting that westward migration is more difficult. Many westward migrants associate with flotsam and flotsam-mediated migration is more likely to be westward. All westward migrants occur at Hawai'i, but only about one-fifth of them at the Marquesas. This bias may be due to: Hawai'i being a larger target and in the path of most of the flotsam dispersal from the TEP; an eastward current that impinges on the Marquesas, reducing westward arrivals; and most propagules dispersing toward the tropical Marquesas originating in the temperate eastern Pacific. However, the Hawaiian Islands also are much better sampled than the Marquesas. Although the TEP reef-fish fauna may be depauperate relative to that of the Indo-Malayan "center of diversity," it is as rich as the faunas of islands on the western side of the EPB. Hence a preponderance of eastward migration does not represent a response to a richness gradient across that barrier. There is little evidence that a paucity of ecological groups in the native TEP fauna is primarily responsible for the structure of the eastward-migrant fauna. Rather, eastward migrants may simply represent a cross section of those in the donor fauna, tempered by phylogenetic variation in dispersal ability. Because few central Pacific fishes can live only on live corals and coral reefs, the rarity of such reefs in the TEP is unlikely to strongly limit eastward migration. Differences between oceanic and adjacent continental reef-fish faunas in the West Pacific indicate that each is strongly tied to its respective habitat. Hence, the rarity in the TEP of the (overwhelmingly) most abundant habitat present in the central Pacific-tropical oceanic reefs-may strongly limit migration in both directions across the EPB: there is little suitable habitat for eastward migrants in the TEP and few suitable species and tiny source populations for westward migrants. The global effects that oceanic/continental habitat differences have on reef-fish biogeography need further assessment. Genetic data on ~18% of the transpacific species indicate: that conspecific populations of oceanic species (especially) and shore fishes are genetically well connected across the EPB; that circumtropical taxa in the TEP include isolated isthmian relicts and recent eastward migrants; that all five TEP species of one circumtropical genus (Thalassoma) were derived by several eastward invasions after the closure of the Isthmus of Panama; that some isolated Hawaiian central Pacific populations were established by postisthmian invasion from the TEP; and that Indo-central Pacific species unsuspectedly can co-occur with their endemic sibling sisters in the TEP. Genetic data support distributional data that indicate a strong preponderance of eastward migration across the EPB but also more westward migration than previously thought. Future genetic studies should resolve a question that distributional data cannot: how many widespread presumed eastward-migrant transpacific species actually originated by westward migration from the TEP?
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Networks of no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) have been widely advocated for the conservation of marine biodiversity. But for MPA networks to be successful in protecting marine populations, individual MPAs must be self-sustaining or adequately connected to other MPAs via dispersal. For marine species with a dispersive larval stage, populations within MPAs require either the return of settlement-stage larvae to their natal reserve or connectivity among reserves at the spatial scales at which MPA networks are implemented. To date, larvae have not been tracked when dispersing from one MPA to another, and the relative magnitude of local retention and connectivity among MPAs remains unknown. Here we use DNA parentage analysis to provide the first direct estimates of connectivity of a marine fish, the orange clownfish (Amphiprion percula), in a proposed network of marine reserves in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea. Approximately 40% of A. percula larvae settling into anemones in an island MPA at 2 different times were derived from parents resident in the reserve. We also located juveniles spawned by Kimbe Island residents that had dispersed as far as 35 km to other proposed MPAs, the longest distance that marine larvae have been directly tracked. These dispersers accounted for up to 10% of the recruitment in the adjacent MPAs. Our findings suggest that MPA networks can function to sustain resident populations both by local replenishment and through larval dispersal from other reserves. More generally, DNA parentage analysis provides a direct method for measuring larval dispersal for other marine organisms.
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Caranx ignobilis and Caranx melampygus were collected from the nearly pristine shallow waters of the atolls, reefs, and shoals of the NW Hawaiian Islands. Growth was well described by a von Bertalanffy relationship. Gravid fish were found only in April-November; peak spawning season was May-August. Reproduction began at c350 mm SL (c2 yr old) in C. melampygus and at c600 mm SL (c3.5 yr old) in C. ignobilis. Fecundity of female C. melampygus varied approximately as the 1.7 power of body weight. Both species were >90% piscivorous. The overall diet of the two species showed moderate overlap: Pianka's index of overlap, A yz = 0.42. Food consumption required to sustain all size-classes can be represented by a composite individual for each species consuming a little less than 50 kg/year (C. melampygus) and about 150 kg/year (C. ignobilis). -from Authors
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During the 1950s and 1960s, an extensive field study and interpretive effort was made by researchers, primarily at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, to sample and understand the physical oceanography of the eastern tropical Pacific. That work was inspired by the valuable fisheries of the region, the recent discovery of the equatorial undercurrent, and the growing realization of the importance of the El Niño phenomenon. Here we review what was learned in that effort, and integrate those findings with work published since then as well as additional diagnoses based on modern data sets.
Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific: an information System. Cd-roM
  • Robertson D R R Allen G
ROBERTSON D.R. & ALLEN G.R., 2002.-Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific: an information System. Cd-roM. Balboa, Panama: Smithsonian Tropical research institute.
-Papers from the Hopkins-Stanford Galapagos Expedition, 1898-99. XVII. Shore fishes of the Revillagigedo, Clipperton, Cocos and Galapagos islands
  • Snodgrass R E Heller E
SNODGRASS R.E. & HELLER E., 1905.-Papers from the Hopkins-Stanford Galapagos Expedition, 1898-99. XVII. Shore fishes of the Revillagigedo, Clipperton, Cocos and Galapagos islands. Proc. Wash. Acad. Sci., 6: 333-427.
  • E Snodgrass R
  • Heller E
SNODGRASS R.E. & HELLER E., 1905. -Papers from the Hopkins-Stanford Galapagos Expedition, 1898-99. XVII. Shore fishes of the Revillagigedo, Clipperton, Cocos and Galapagos islands. Proc. Wash. Acad. Sci., 6: 333-427.