Following the creation of a Marine Resources Reserve around the Galápagos archipelago, it is a priority to implement a zoning plan for the management of the reserve. Ideally, this should guarantee protection for a proportion of the fauna within each biologically distinct region of the archipelago. In the present study, the estimated abundance and species composition of non-cryptic, diurnally active fish communities associated with inshore rock or reef habitats was determined at ten reserve sites using a visual census technique. Sites were grouped according to the similarity of their fish assemblages, and the geographical positions of sites within each group were shown to correspond closely with regions throughout which there was minimal spatial variation in surface water temperature. This finding is discussed with reference to previous studies and a proposed zoning plan. It is concluded that clearly identifiable and biologically disparate regions do exist within the Marine Resources Reserve and that the proposed zoning plan should ensure protection for a variety of significantly different fish communities. © 1994.
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