Alexandria Digital Research Library

Resource Availability Drives Large Differences in the Fine-Scale Spatial Pattern of Parrotfish Herbivory on a Coral Reef

Author:
Carlson, Peter Miles
Degree Supervisor:
Jennifer E. Caselle and Steven D. Gaines
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
Publisher:
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
2016
Issued Date:
2016
Topics:
Ecology and Aquatic sciences
Keywords:
Algal Turf
Herbivory
Parrotfish
Coral Reef
Chlorurus Microrhinos
Coral Algal Competition
Genres:
Online resources and Dissertations, Academic
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
Dissertation:
M.A.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016
Description:

Herbivory by fishes and sea urchins is a powerful mechanism on coral reefs that mitigates coral-algal competition by physically removing algae and creating bare space. The fine-scale spatial patterning of herbivory has the potential to foster coral recruitment by creating a spatially continuous refuge for coral settlement and survival. The temporal nature of grazing also has the potential to influence competitive outcomes between coral and algae by preventing algal dominance and consistently exposing bare substrate at a particular location. Here we explore the intraspecific variability in the fine-scale feeding behavior of a large, mobile coral reef herbivore on a small, pristine Central Pacific atoll. We document how two different resource regimes appear to drive differences in the social structure and the spatial and temporal feeding behavior of the Steephead Parrotfish, Chlorurus microrhinos. We report that feeding behavior is spatially focused when resources are abundant and regrow quickly, resulting in dense patches of bite scars (>100 bites m-2). There also appears to be a temporal periodicity to feeding behavior when resource are abundant and predictable, although our study duration did not allow for the precise timing between feeding bouts to be detected. We found that movement increases and feeding behavior is distributed sparsely across food patches when resources were scarce and recovered more slowly. The differences we report here occur at sites that are only a few kilometers away from one another, but result in dramatically different impacts to the benthos that could alter the survival of corals at their earliest life stages.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (60 pages)
Format:
Text
Collection(s):
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
ARK:
ark:/48907/f30c4vk2
ISBN:
9781339671826
Catalog System Number:
990046534200203776
Rights:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Peter Carlson
File Description
Access: Public access
Carlson_ucsb_0035N_12941.pdf pdf (Portable Document Format)