Effects of coral bleaching on the feeding response of two species of coral-feeding fish

Cole, A.J., Pratchett, M.S., and Jones, G.P. (2009) Effects of coral bleaching on the feeding response of two species of coral-feeding fish. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 373. pp. 11-15.

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Coral bleaching is an increasingly prominent threat to coral reef ecosystems, not only to corals, but also to the many organisms that rely on coral for food and shelter. Coral-feeding fishes are negatively affected by coral loss caused by extensive bleaching, but it is unknown how feeding behaviour of most corallivorous fishes changes in response to coral bleaching. In this study, coral bleaching was experimentally induced in situ to examine the feeding response of two obligate corallivorous fish, Labrichthys unilineatus (Labridae) and Chaetodon baronessa (Chaetodontidae). Feeding rates were monitored before, during, and immediately after experimental bleaching of prey corals. L. unilineatus significantly increased its feeding on impacted corals during bleaching, but showed a steady decline in feeding once corals were fully bleached. Feeding response of L. unilineatus appears to parallel the expected stress-induced mucous production by bleaching colonies. In contrast, C. baronessa preferentially fed from healthy colonies over bleached colonies, although bleached colonies were consumed for five days following manipulation. Feeding by corallivorous fishes can play an important role in determining coral condition and mortality of corals following stress induced bleaching.

Item ID: 5428
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0022-0981
Keywords: coral bleaching; corallivores; feeding response; Chaetodontidae; tubelip wrasse; marine science; ecology; environment; climate change; coral reef; conservation; bleaching
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2009 05:23
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 40%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 20%
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