Relative roles of herbivory and nutrients in the recruitment of coral-reef seaweeds

Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo and McCook, Laurence J. (2003) Relative roles of herbivory and nutrients in the recruitment of coral-reef seaweeds. Ecology, 84 8: 2026-2033. doi:10.1890/01-3127

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Author Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo
McCook, Laurence J.
Title Relative roles of herbivory and nutrients in the recruitment of coral-reef seaweeds
Journal name Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0012-9658
Publication date 2003-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1890/01-3127
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 84
Issue 8
Start page 2026
End page 2033
Total pages 8
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Language eng
Abstract The relative effects of and interactions between, bottom-up and top-down processes are fundamental to,population and community structure in both terrestrial and marine systems. These issues are especially critical for seaweed populations on coral reefs, since both bottom-up and top-down factors are suggested as causes of algal invasions during reef degradation. Although algal invasions require the establishment of new recruits, most previous studies of tropical. marine algae have focused on mature stages. We simultaneously manipulated nutrient supply to and herbivory on recruits of two ecologically different species of seaweed on the Great Barrier Reef. We found that herbivory strongly reduced both density and growth of recruits for both species, whereas nutrient supply had minor effects on growth of Lobophora variegata recruits and no detectable effects on Sargassum fissifolium recruits. Notwithstanding the dominance of herbivory. over nutrient effects, herbivory Was not uniform, but varied both between species and among response variables (density and size), and was apparently stronger for nutrient-enriched plants. Our data demonstrate that the relative importance of bottom-up and top-down processes may depend on the species, circumstances, and life-history processes under consideration. These results also emphasize the importance of herbivores to the protection of coral reefs against algal overgrowth.
Keyword Ecology
algal recruitment
coral-reef algae
coral-reef degradation
coral reefs
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Lobophora variegata
nutrient enhancement
nutrient supply and herbivory
Sargassum fissifolium
top down vs. bottom-up effects
Bottom-up Control
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
Centre for Marine Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 62 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 25 Jan 2008, 16:00:16 EST