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We measured abundance and diversity of fishes and corals at three patch reef complexes near San Salvador, Bahamas, and examined relationships among species and ecological measures of fish and coral community structure. Generalized Discriminant Analyses indicated which ecological variables distinguished reefs and which fish and coral species accounted for observed differences among reefs. Canonical Correlation Analysis revealed relationships between fish and coral species at each reef. Reefs with the greatest coral cover had the highest abundance and species richness of fishes. These results add to studies describing relationships between reef fishes and corals, and establish a benchmark for fish and coral community structures and relationships near San Salvador in the Bahamas during a time of region-wide declines of Caribbean corals.


We thank D. T. Gerace (for financial support) and K. C. Buchan and V. J. Voegeli (for logistical support) at the Gerace Research Center. C. Tolar, D. White, B. DiSalvo, R. Rhyne, B. Kadlub, D. Gar, and W. Hayes assisted data collection. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for constructive criticisms, especially for suggesting the Canonical Analysis of Principal Coordinates (CAP) analysis program. Species authorities were found in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Integrated Taxonomic Information System at

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Walter, R. P. and J. M. Haynes. 2006. Fish and Coral Community Structure Are Related on Shallow Water Patch Reefs near San Salvador, Bahamas. Bulletin of Marine Science. 79(2): 365–374.

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The Bulletin of Marine Science is a hybrid open access journal, offering two Open Access options: Green Open Access and Gold Open Access. Gold Open Access articles are immediately available online for everyone to freely download and share. Green Open Access articles are freely available after a five year embargo period (before which they are available to journal subscribers).