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Surgeonfish foraging data at Palmyra Atoll

Cite this dataset

Dee, Laura E. et al. (2021). Surgeonfish foraging data at Palmyra Atoll [Dataset]. Dryad.


This dataset includes surgeonfish foraging metrics quantified during focal follow trials and includes: (a) bite composition, (b) bite rate, (c) foraging time, (d) foraging depth, and (e) forager size (cm). Data was collected at Palmyra Atoll on the back reef and fore reef habitats in 2013. Four common surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae) were selected as study species; Ctenochaetus striatus, Ctenochaetus marginatus, Acanthurus lineatus, and Acanthurus nigricans. The raw data is aggregated by a unique ID, which consists of a 5-minute feeding trial for each individual. Metadata describing each column is included in the file.


The data was collected at Palmyra Atoll (5° 53’ N, 162° 07’W), located in the Northern Line Island chain. The atoll consists of a large lagoon network with two gradually sloping reef terraces on the eastern and western side. The study was conducted across the western terrace at five sites on the back reef (Rubble Pile, G Banger, Penguin Spit, and Crazy Corals) and two sites on the fore reef (FR 9 and FR Penguin Spit). Site information including latitude and longitude is included in the documentation. Due to differences in abundance, behavioral trials for C. striatus and C. marginatus were restrained to the back reef and fore reef, respectively. A. lineatus was not present on the forereef and therefore behavioral trials occurred only on the backreef. A. nigricans behavioral trials were conducted across both reef zones. For each observation, an adult focal species (≥10cm total length) was selected at random and the size and time of day that the observation started was recorded. Before initiating an observation, each resident species was observed for 2-3 min to allow the focal fish and neighboring species to acclimate to the observers presence prior to the experimental trial start time. During timed observations, a distanced diver (2-3m behind) recorded bite rate and composition. If at any point during an observation the focal individual exhibited irregular or stressed behavior, color changes, or exerted aggression at an observer, the trial was abandoned and omitted. However, this rarely occurred, with most focal individuals displaying normal behavior after 1-2 min of observers' presence. Fish were not resampled.


Marisla Foundation

National Science Foundation, Award: CNH 1826668

Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium