Technical Report #168. Beets, J., E. Brown, and A. Friedlander. February 2010. Inventory of marine vertebrate species and fish-habitat utilization patterns in coastal waters off four national parks in Hawai‘i

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Marine vertebrates were investigated at four national parks in Hawai‘i in 2005; Kalaupapa National Historical Park (KALA) - island of Moloka‘i; Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site (PUHE), Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park (KAHO), Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park (PUHO) - island of Hawai‘i. In addition to an inventory of marine vertebrate species, fish-habitat utilization patterns of marine fishes were examined within each park. A total of 178 marine fish species were observed in the marine waters adjacent to all four parks, including 48 endemic species (27% of the total). Although the greatest number of marine fish species was observed for KAHO, the greatest density and biomass of marine fishes were observed at KALA. The highest average values per sample for assemblage characteristics (species richness, density, biomass, diversity) were
observed for KALA which is characterized by large (up to three meters in diameter) volcanic rock boulders with high habitat complexity and low (<10%) coral cover. PUHO and KAHO had sequentially lower fish assemblage characteristic values and the habitat consisted of smaller volcanic rock boulders with higher coral cover. PUHE had the lowest assemblage characteristic values observed and most dissimilar species composition, due to
a greater proportion of sand and degraded habitats. KAHO and PUHO had the most similar species compositions observed. Marine turtles, particularly the threatened green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), were commonly observed in KAHO and PUHO, and also observed in KALA. Dolphins and whales were commonly observed in park and adjacent waters. The endangered Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) was documented at KALA and
has been observed at the other three parks.

Title page, table of contents, list of tables and figures

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Abstract and introduction

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Discussion and summary

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Literature cited

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