Does body colouration influence predation risk of coral dwelling reef fish in bleached landscapes?

Coker, D.J., Pratchett, M.S., and Munday, P.L. (2009) Does body colouration influence predation risk of coral dwelling reef fish in bleached landscapes? In: Proceedings of the 11th Coral Reef Symposium. pp. 1281-1285. From: 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, 7-11 July 2008, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

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Coral reef fishes will be increasingly exposed to habitat degradation as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of coral bleaching events. This study explores how body colouration influences survivorship of coral-dwelling fishes during coral bleaching events. Specifically, we tested for differences in the vulnerability to predation between a bright yellow fish (Pomacentrus moluccensis) and a white/black fish (Dascyllus aruanus) in a range of different coral habitats, including healthy, bleached, recently dead and algal-covered coral colonies. Strike rates by predators against both damselfish species increased in bleached and dead coral habitats, compared to healthy coral habitats. There was no differences in strike rate towards either species of fish in any of the habitat conditions tested, suggesting that both the yellow and black/white colouration is equally visible to the predator (Pseudochromis fuscus). However, survivorship on bleached corals was lower for D. aruanus than for P. moluccensis suggesting that coral bleaching may have a disproportionate effect on brightly coloured reef fishes.

Item ID: 5174
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
Keywords: climate change; coral bleaching; reef fishes; habitat; selective predation; body colouration
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Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2009 03:25
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 70%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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