Small cryptopredators contribute to high predation rates on coral reefs

Goatley, Christopher H.R., González-Cabello, Alonso, and Bellwood, David R. (2017) Small cryptopredators contribute to high predation rates on coral reefs. Coral Reefs, 36 (1). pp. 207-212.

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Abstract

Small fishes suffer high mortality rates on coral reefs, primarily due to predation. Although studies have identified the predators of early post-settlement fishes, the predators of small cryptobenthic fishes remain largely unknown. We therefore used a series of mesocosm experiments with natural habitat and cryptobenthic fish communities to identify the impacts of a range of small potential predators, including several invertebrates, on prey fish populations. While there was high variability in predation rates, many members of the cryptobenthic fish community act as facultative cryptopredators, being prey when small and piscivores when larger. Surprisingly, we also found that smashing mantis shrimps may be important fish predators. Our results highlight the diversity of the predatory community on coral reefs and identify previously unknown trophic links in these complex ecosystems.

Item ID: 50381
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: cryptobenthic reef fish, trophic interactions, body size, gobiidae
ISSN: 1432-0975
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Technología, Mexico (CONACYT)
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 08:24
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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