Dietary shift in juvenile coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus) following coral reef degradation from a flood plume disturbance

Wen, Colin K.C., Bonin, Mary C., Harrison, Hugo B., Williamson, David H., and Jones, Geoffrey (2016) Dietary shift in juvenile coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus) following coral reef degradation from a flood plume disturbance. Coral Reefs, 35 (2). pp. 451-455.

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Acute environmental disturbances impact on habitat quality and resource availability, which can reverberate through trophic levels and become apparent in species' dietary composition. In this study, we observed a distinct dietary shift of newly settled and juvenile coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus) following severe coral reef habitat degradation after a river flood plume affected the Keppel Islands, Australia. Hard coral cover declined by similar to 28 % in the 2 yr following the 2010-2011 floods, as did the abundance of young coral trout. Gut contents analysis revealed that diets had shifted from largely crustacean-based to non-preferred prey fishes following the disturbances. These results suggest that newly settled and juvenile coral trout modify their diet and foraging strategy in response to coral habitat degradation. This bottom-up effect of habitat degradation on the diet of a top coral reef predator may incur a metabolic cost, with subsequent effects on growth and survival.

Item ID: 45526
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: ontogeny, diet, floods, coral trout, Plectropomus
ISSN: 1432-0975
Funders: Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF), National Environmental Research Program (NERP)
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 07:39
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050199 Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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