Spatial and temporal variation in coral predation by parrotfishes on the GBR: evidence from an inshore reef

Bonaldo, R.M., Welsh, J.Q., and Bellwood, D.R. (2012) Spatial and temporal variation in coral predation by parrotfishes on the GBR: evidence from an inshore reef. Coral Reefs, 31 (1). pp. 263-272.

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Abstract

There have been few studies of coral predation by fishes on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). However, these studies have indicated that it is an important factor that may shape coral demographics. Here, for the first time, we document the spatial and temporal variation in coral predation by parrotfishes on an inshore reef on the GBR. The densities of parrotfish feeding scars on massive Porites spp. were compared within core and non-core areas of three Chlorurus microrhinos home ranges. The density of parrotfish feeding scars on massive Porites is among the highest recorded on the GBR and elsewhere with a higher abundance of excavating feeding scars within core areas, reflecting the higher occupancy of these areas by C. microrhinos. Furthermore, excavating scars were more abundant in October than in April. This may be related to the higher nutritional quality of coral colonies in October, as coral spawning usually occurs in November at this study location. No spatial or temporal variation was noted in the abundance of feeding scars from scraping parrotfishes. The lack of temporal differences may be a result of the shallow scraping scars which would not be able to reach the gonads within coral polyps. The frequency of parrotfish predation on Porites and the spatial and temporal variation recorded herein highlight the potential importance of parrotfish corallivory on the GBR.

Item ID: 19399
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: reef fish; grazing scar; corallivory; coral reef; coral spawning; home range
ISSN: 1432-0975
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2012 06:13
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
Downloads: Total: 2
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