Differential consumption of scleractinian and non-scleractinian coral larvae by planktivorous damselfishes

Quimpo, Timothy Joseph R., Cabaitan, Patrick C., and Hoey, Andrew S. (2019) Differential consumption of scleractinian and non-scleractinian coral larvae by planktivorous damselfishes. Coral Reefs, 38 (6). pp. 1293-1301.

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Planktivorous fishes are known to consume coral larvae due to their high nutritional value that can benefit both the individual and their progeny. However, how the consumption of coral larvae varies among coral and fish taxa, between day and night and with the density of coral larvae is not well understood. Here, we used a series of laboratory feeding assays to determine how the consumption of coral larvae by five planktivorous damselfish species (Abudefduf sexfasciatus, Amblyglyphidodon curacao, Dascyllus trimaculatus, D. reticulatus, and Chromis viridis) differed (1) between larvae of the broadcast-spawning scleractinian coral Acropora tenuis and the brooding non-scleractinian coral Heliopora coerulea when offered at a constant density (100 larvae/50 L), (2) between day and night (A. tenuis only), and (3) among larval densities (A. tenuis: 5–500 larvae/50 L; H. coerulea: 5–250 larvae/50 L). When coral larvae were offered at 100 larvae/50 L, all five fish species examined consumed A. tenuis (78–97 larvae h⁻¹) at a greater rate than H. coerulea (23–57 larvae h⁻¹), with these differences likely related to the behavior and/or pigmentation of the larvae. Consumption also varied among the fishes examined, though the differences were small when compared to differences between coral species. Consumption of A. tenuis was twofold higher at day than night likely reflecting the diurnally active feeding behavior of the fishes examined. When the density of coral larvae offered to the fishes was varied, three of five species exhibited a type II functional response (decelerating intake rate) for A. tenuis, while four out of five damselfish species exhibited a type III (sigmoidal intake rate) or type I (linear intake rate) for H. coerulea. This study demonstrates that predation by fishes contributes significantly to coral larvae mortality and that differences in consumption rates among coral species may affect the composition of coral recruits and ultimately coral assemblages.

Item ID: 61659
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: coral larvae, coral reefs, fish predation, functional responses, planktivorous fish
Copyright Information: © 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
Funders: University of the Philippines (UP), OVPAA Balik-PhD program (OVPAA)
Projects and Grants: UP BML-MSC-18-0, OVPAA OVPAA-BPhD-2017-01
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2020 19:25
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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