Changes in abundance of fish-parasitic gnathiid isopods associated with warm-water bleaching events on the northern Great Barrier Reef

Sikkel, P.C., Richardson, M.A., Sun, D., Narvaez, P., Feeney, W.E., and Grutter, A.S. (2019) Changes in abundance of fish-parasitic gnathiid isopods associated with warm-water bleaching events on the northern Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs, 38 (4). pp. 721-730.

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Abstract

Mass coral bleaching events due to rising seawater temperatures are occurring with increasing frequency and are among the most conspicuous consequences of human-induced climate change. While bleaching events have clear impacts on the corals themselves, the impacts on other organisms and on the overall reef community are more difficult to assess. This is particularly true for parasitic organisms, which in spite of their high diversity and biomass are typically ignored in ecological monitoring studies. Here, we take advantage of long-term monitoring of host-parasite-cleaner interactions on experimental patch reefs to assess the effects of mass bleaching events on gnathiid isopod populations around Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Compared with non-bleaching years, gnathiid abundance was consistently low during the warm-water period in bleaching years, but rebounded during the cooler months. This pattern is likely due to the interaction between the short-term negative impacts of thermal stress and declines in hosts on gnathiids, combined with the longer-term positive impacts of declines in cleaner wrasses and of increased dead coral on gnathiid abundance.

Item ID: 60124
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: Coral reefs, Climate change, Cleaning mutualism, Fish parasites, Predator-prey interaction, Long-term monitoring
Copyright Information: (C) Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation (SWR), US National Science Foundation (NSF)
Projects and Grants: SWR/2/2012, NSF OCE-1536794
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2019 07:48
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
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