Here we studied the activity budgets of nine common reef fish in the oceanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, off north-east Brazil. Species were variable in their behaviour between different sites and similarities in their activity budgets were not necessarily associated with their trophic group. For four species we investigated the relationship of their activity budgets to wave exposure and substratum composition. Staying close to the substratum was positively correlated to wave exposure for most species and foraging was negatively correlated to exposure for two species. By behaving this way, these fish may save energy by avoiding swimming in higher water flux. In contrast to relationships with wave exposure, the responses to substratum composition were species specific. Our results highlight that the activity budgets of fish living in oceanic rocky reefs can be variable and influenced by the local and temporal variation in environmental variables.
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