The effects of coral bleaching on settlement preferences and growth of juvenile butterflyfishes

Cole, A.J., Lawton, R.J., Pisapia, C., and Pratchett, M.S. (2014) The effects of coral bleaching on settlement preferences and growth of juvenile butterflyfishes. Marine Environmental Research, 98. pp. 106-110.

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Coral bleaching and associated mortality is an increasingly prominent threat to coral reef ecosystems. Although the effects of bleaching-induced coral mortality on reef fishes have been well demonstrated, corals can remain bleached for several weeks prior to recovery or death and little is known about how bleaching affects resident fishes during this time period. This study compared growth rates of two species of juvenile butterflyfishes (Chaetodon aureofasciatus and Chaetodon lunulatus) that were restricted to feeding upon either bleached or healthy coral tissue of Acropora spathulata or Pocillopora damicornis. Coral condition (bleached vs. unbleached) had no significant effects on changes in total length or weight over a 23-day period. Likewise, in a habitat choice experiment, juvenile butterflyfishes did not discriminate between healthy and bleached corals, but actively avoided using recently dead colonies. These results indicate that juvenile coral-feeding fishes are relatively robust to short term effects of bleaching events, provided that the corals do recover.

Item ID: 33432
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-0291
Keywords: Chaetodontidae, climate change, coral bleaching, recovery, resilience, habitat-selection
Funders: James Cook University (JCU), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: JCU GRS grant, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies CE140100020
Date Deposited: 28 May 2014 01:03
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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