A 3D perspective on sediment turnover and feeding selectivity in blennies

Bowden, Casey L., Streit, Robert P., Bellwood, David R., and Tebbett, Sterling B. (2022) A 3D perspective on sediment turnover and feeding selectivity in blennies. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 180. 113799.

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Sediments in algal turfs can modify a wide variety of key ecological processes on coral reefs. While some larger reef fishes can remove these turf-bound sediments, the role of small, yet abundant, cryptobenthic fishes is currently unclear. To address this knowledge gap, we explored the extent to which the blenny, Ecsenius stictus, can shape sediment dynamics on coral reefs by quantifying their sediment ingestion and space use. Per unit body mass, E. stictus process sediments at comparable rates to key parrotfish and surgeonfish species. However, in absolute terms, E. stictus has a negligible influence on net sediment dynamics, despite their abundance. Behavioural observations and 3D photogrammetry reveal that E. stictus preferentially feed and rest on elevated surfaces; potentially because of low sediment loads on these surfaces. Overall, E. stictus may be responding to sediment loads rather than manipulating them; it is a passenger rather than a driver in reef processes.

Item ID: 75826
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Algal turf, Coral reef, Cryptobenthic reef fish, Ecsenius stictus, Photogrammetry, Structural complexity
Copyright Information: © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC FL190100062
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2022 09:00
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 50%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 50%
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