Changing feeding preferences of butterflyfishes following coral bleaching

Pisapia, Chiara, Cole, Andrew J., and Pratchett, Morgan S. (2012) Changing feeding preferences of butterflyfishes following coral bleaching. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium. 13C_2. pp. 1-5. From: 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, 9-13 July 2012, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Climate-induced coral bleaching poses a significant threat to reef fishes, especially for those fishes that rely on corals for food. Aside from the direct effects of coral loss, whereby many fishes decline in abundance in accordance with loss of live coral, coral-feeding fishes often exhibit a reduction in feeding intensity upon bleached colonies. These observations suggest that the nutritional quality of bleached corals may be compromised, but this is yet to be examined. In this study, we compared feeding preferences of coral-feeding butterflyfishes on bleached versus unbleached corals, and quantified total lipid content of the corals to assess whether changes in prey preferences reflected changes in food quality. The study was conducted in experimental aquaria with two species of corallivorous butterflyfish Chaetodon plebeius, and Chaetodon lunulatus. Only C. plebeius reduced feeding on bleached coral colonies compared with healthy (unbleached) colonies, while C. lunulatus showed no preference in feeding between bleached and unbleached corals. However, no decline in total lipid content of corals was observed following bleaching, suggesting that it is not changes in prey quality (measured based on total lipid content) that led to observed changes in patterns of prey use.

Item ID: 22391
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-0-9808572-5-2
Keywords: bleaching, prey quality, feeding preferences, Chaetodontidae
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Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2012 04:23
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%
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