Consistent nutrient storage and supply mediated by diverse fish communities in coral reef ecosystems

Allgeier, Jacob E., Layman, Craig A., Mumby, Peter J. and Rosemond, Amy D. (2014) Consistent nutrient storage and supply mediated by diverse fish communities in coral reef ecosystems. Global Change Biology, 20 8: 2459-2472. doi:10.1111/gcb.12566

Author Allgeier, Jacob E.
Layman, Craig A.
Mumby, Peter J.
Rosemond, Amy D.
Title Consistent nutrient storage and supply mediated by diverse fish communities in coral reef ecosystems
Journal name Global Change Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1354-1013
Publication date 2014
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/gcb.12566
Open Access Status
Volume 20
Issue 8
Start page 2459
End page 2472
Total pages 14
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Subject 2303 Ecology
2306 Global and Planetary Change
2300 Environmental Science
2304 Environmental Chemistry
Abstract Corals thrive in low nutrient environments and the conservation of these globally imperiled ecosystems is largely dependent on mitigating the effects of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. However, to better understand the implications of anthropogenic nutrients requires a heightened understanding of baseline nutrient dynamics within these ecosystems. Here, we provide a novel perspective on coral reef nutrient dynamics by examining the role of fish communities in the supply and storage of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). We quantified fish-mediated nutrient storage and supply for 144 species and modeled these data onto 172 fish communities (71 729 individual fish), in four types of coral reefs, as well as seagrass and mangrove ecosystems, throughout the Northern Antilles. Fish communities supplied and stored large quantities of nutrients, with rates varying among ecosystem types. The size structure and diversity of the fish communities best predicted N and P supply and storage and N : P supply, suggesting that alterations to fish communities (e.g., overfishing) will have important implications for nutrient dynamics in these systems. The stoichiometric ratio (N : P) for storage in fish mass (~8 : 1) and supply (~20 : 1) was notably consistent across the four coral reef types (but not seagrass or mangrove ecosystems). Published nutrient enrichment studies on corals show that deviations from this N : P supply ratio may be associated with poor coral fitness, providing qualitative support for the hypothesis that corals and their symbionts may be adapted to specific ratios of nutrient supply. Consumer nutrient stoichiometry provides a baseline from which to better understand nutrient dynamics in coral reef and other coastal ecosystems, information that is greatly needed if we are to implement more effective measures to ensure the future health of the world's oceans.
Keyword Coastal ecosystems
Consumer-mediated nutrient supply
Food web
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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