Size matters: macroalgal height influences the feeding response of coral reef herbivores

Hoey, A.S. (2010) Size matters: macroalgal height influences the feeding response of coral reef herbivores. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 411. pp. 299-302.

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Abstract

Algal size has often been related to shifts in the susceptibility of algae to herbivores. Within coral reef systems, macroalgal assays have been widely used to quantify herbivory; however, the effect of macroalgal size has been largely overlooked. I used Sargassum polycystum assays that spanned the range of available heights (10 to 80 cm) and underwater video cameras to examine the effect of macroalgal height on the rates and agents of herbivory on an inner-shelf reef of the Great Barrier Reef. Rates of herbivory were high and displayed limited variation among heights, ranging from 86.4 to 95.2% 5h–1. There was, however, significant variation in the species recorded feeding from S. polycystum of different heights. Naso unicornis dominated feeding on the shortest (10 cm) assays, while Kyphosus vaigiensis dominated feeding on the larger (20 to 80 cm) assays. This variation appears to be related to interspecific differences in foraging behaviour, and suggests that the roles of these fishes may change at different stages of benthic community succession.

Item ID: 15132
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: herbivory, sargassum spp., algal succession, resilience
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2010 06:20
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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