Size matters in competition between corals and macroalgae

Ferrari, Renata, Gonzalez-Rivero, Manuel and Mumby, Peter J. (2012) Size matters in competition between corals and macroalgae. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 467 77-88. doi:10.3354/meps09953

Author Ferrari, Renata
Gonzalez-Rivero, Manuel
Mumby, Peter J.
Title Size matters in competition between corals and macroalgae
Journal name Marine Ecology Progress Series   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0171-8630
Publication date 2012-10-25
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/meps09953
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 467
Start page 77
End page 88
Total pages 12
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Corals and macroalgae compete for space, but the influence of species and size on the competitive outcome is poorly understood. Using a manipulative experiment, we evaluated the effect of macroalgal competition on the growth rate of corals with an emphasis on the colony size, species identity and the intensity of competition. Coral–macroalgal competition was studied among 3 Caribbean coral species (Porites astreoides, Agaricia agaricites and Colpophyllia natans) and 2 macroalgal species (Lobophora variegata and Halimeda opuntia) for 1 yr. Two coral colony sizes were used and, for the smaller size class, 2 levels of intensity for macroalgal competition (25 and 100% contact with the coral perimeter). Coral size had the greatest effect on competitive outcome; 2 species of large corals under competition grew as much as controls and a third species did not lose tissue. All small colonies lost between 18 and 22% of their original area after a year of competing with macroalgae, and the competitive outcome was insensitive to algal species. Coral colony size is a critical factor for the competitive outcome with algae and the intensity of contact between competitors is not important in smaller corals. In general, our results support the theory that algal blooms can inhibit coral population dynamics by causing a bottleneck in the survivorship of smaller size classes.
Keyword Coral–macroalgal competition
Coral size
Porites astreoides
Agaricia agaricites
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 16 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 22 Nov 2012, 16:51:27 EST by Manuel Gonzalez Rivero on behalf of School of Biological Sciences