Suspended sediment alters predator–prey interactions between two coral reef fishes

Wenger, A.S., McCormick, M.I., McLeod, I.M., and Jones, G.P. (2013) Suspended sediment alters predator–prey interactions between two coral reef fishes. Coral Reefs, 32 (2). pp. 369-374.

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Sediment derived from agriculture and development increases water turbidity and threatens the health of inshore coral reefs. In this study, we examined whether suspended sediment could change predation patterns through a reduction in visual cues. We measured survivorship of newly settled Chromis atripectoralis exposed to Pseudochromis fuscus, a common predator of juvenile damselfishes, in aquaria with one of four turbidity levels. Increased turbidity led to a nonlinear response in predation patterns. Predator-induced mortality was ~50 % in the control and low turbidity level, but exhibited a substantial increase in the medium level. In the highest turbidity level, predation rates declined to the level seen in the control. These results suggest an imbalance in how the predator and prey cope with turbidity. A turbidity-induced change to the outcome of predator–prey interactions represents a major change to the fundamental processes that regulate fish assemblages.

Item ID: 26325
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: turbidity, sediment thresholds, damselfish, predation, introduction, elevated
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2013 00:05
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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