The effect of structurally complex corals and herbivory on the dynamics of Halimeda

Castro-Sanguino, Carolina, Lovelock, Catherine and Mumby, Peter J. (2016) The effect of structurally complex corals and herbivory on the dynamics of Halimeda. Coral Reefs, 35 2: 1-13. doi:10.1007/s00338-016-1412-5


Author Castro-Sanguino, Carolina
Lovelock, Catherine
Mumby, Peter J.
Title The effect of structurally complex corals and herbivory on the dynamics of Halimeda
Formatted title
The effect of structurally complex corals and herbivory on the dynamics of Halimeda
Journal name Coral Reefs   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0722-4028
1432-0975
Publication date 2016-02-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00338-016-1412-5
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 35
Issue 2
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The calcareous green alga Halimeda is a key contributor to carbonate sediment production on coral reefs. As herbivores have a direct negative effect on the abundance of Halimeda, protection from herbivory is critical for Halimeda growth. Branching corals such as Acropora are likely to provide refugia for Halimeda from grazers, yet studies are scarce. Here, we investigated the vulnerability of two Halimeda species to herbivory using fish exclusion cages and assessed the contribution of coral structural complexity to seasonal changes in Halimeda biomass and morphometrics. While up to 50 % Halimeda abundance was depleted outside cages due to herbivory and the exclusion of large herbivores resulted in an increase in net growth up to threefold, Halimeda recruitment was positively affected by herbivory, more than two times greater outside cages. However, these responses differed between species and seasons; only one species was affected in winter but not summer. Coral structural complexity facilitated an increase of total algal biomass particularly in summer. At the individual level, thalli growing inside the Acropora canopy were always significantly larger (thallus biomass, volume and height) than those growing in exposed areas. We estimated that the carbonate production of Halimeda was nearly three times greater inside refuges provided by Acropora. Because Halimeda species differ in growth rates and susceptibility to grazing, we predict that the ongoing degradation of the habitat complexity provided by branching corals will alter Halimeda community structure and its contribution to local sediment budgets.
Keyword Branching Acropora
Calcified macroalgae
Carbonate production
Habitat complexity
Parrotfish
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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