The effects of algal turf sediments and organic loads on feeding by coral reef surgeonfishes

Tebbett, Sterling B., Goatley, Christopher H.R., and Bellwood, David R. (2017) The effects of algal turf sediments and organic loads on feeding by coral reef surgeonfishes. PLoS One, 12 (1). e0169479.

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Abstract

Herbivorous and detritivorous fishes interact closely with the epilithic algal matrix (EAM) on coral reefs. While sediment and organic detrital loads within the EAM might influence this interaction, the responses of functionally distinct fishes to changing sediment and organic loads have not been investigated. Aquarium based feeding trials were performed to assess how different sediment and organic loads affected feeding by the highly abundant surgeon fishes, Ctenochaetus striatus, a detritivore, and Acanthurus nigrofuscus, a herbivore. C. striatus were highly sensitive to even small increases in sediment loads (of just 75 g m(-2)), displaying a significant decline in feeding rates as sediment loads increased. Although C. striatus is a specialised detritivore, changing organic loads had no effect and suggests that selection of feeding surfaces is primarily mediated by total sediment loads rather than organic loads. By contrast, A. nigrofuscus displayed no changes to its feeding behaviour regardless of sediment or organic load. These findings highlight the complex, species-specific way that sediments may mediate key ecological processes on coral reefs.

Item ID: 50517
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information:

© 2017 Tebbett et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP140100122, ARC CE 14010020
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 09:49
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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