Fine sediments suppress detritivory on coral reefs

Tebbett, Sterling B., Goatley, Christopher H.R., and Bellwood, David R. (2017) Fine sediments suppress detritivory on coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 114 (2). pp. 934-940.

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Abstract

Increasing sediment inputs are recognised as an important factor leading to coral reef degradation. However, the role of sediments in ecological processes is poorly understood. This study used paired-choice trials to quantify the effects of sediment grain size and chemical composition on feeding by the abundant detritivorous reef fish, Ctenochaetus striatus. The size of sediments from algal turfs were also compared to those ingested by reef-dwelling C. striatus. Algal turfs containing coarser sediments were preferred by C. striatus, while sediment composition (reefal carbonates vs. riverine silicates) had little effect. On the reef, C. striatus ingested finer sediments than those present in algal turfs. C. striatus appears to prefer algal turfs with coarser sediments as this facilitates ingestion of fine detrital particles, while finer sediments prevent selective feeding on detritus. These findings suggest that fine sediments from terrestrial runoff or dredging may be detrimental to feeding by detritivorous species.

Item ID: 50715
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: surgeonfish, Ctenochaetus striatus, epilithic algal matrix, algal turfs, resilience, terrestrial sediments
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC grant no. DP140100122, ARC grant no. CE140100020
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 11:17
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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