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Title: Biologically mediated sediment fluxes on coral reefs: sediment removal and off-reef transportation by the surgeonfish 'Ctenochaetus striatus'
Contributor(s): Goatley, Christopher  (author)orcid ; Bellwood, David R (author)
Publication Date: 2010
DOI: 10.3354/meps08761
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Abstract: Off-reef sediment transport by the surgeonfish 'Ctenochaetus striatus' (Acanthuridae) was quantified on the reef crest at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Three independent methods were implemented to estimate sediment ingestion rates. These considered (1) the bite rate and bite volume, (2) the defecation rate and faecal pellet size, and (3) the average gut contents and throughput rate. The 3 methods provided a broad range of estimates of sediment ingestion from 8.8 ± 2.4, to 66.1 ± 14.4 g fish-1 d-1 (mean ± SE). Nevertheless, these estimates were comparable to rates of sediment ingestion by parrotfishes (Labridae), the other major sediment-moving group on reefs. Overall, 36.5% of all sediment ingested was transported from the upper reef crest into deeper water, equating to a removal rate of 28.6 ± 6.2 kg 100 m-2 yr-1 at the study site. By brushing the reef, 'C. striatus' reduces the sediment loading in the epilithic algal matrix (EAM) while causing little damage to the algal turf. Reducing sediments in EAMs provides favourable settlement surfaces for benthic organisms and increases the palatability of the EAM to herbivorous reef fishes, thus supporting reef resilience. The ecological importance of 'C. striatus', which is abundant on reefs throughout the IndoPacific, appears to have been underestimated, particularly when considering reef sediment dynamics.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Marine Ecology Progress Series, v.415, p. 237-245
Publisher: Inter-Research
Place of Publication: Germany
ISSN: 1616-1599
Field of Research (FOR): 060801 Animal Behaviour
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
050206 Environmental Monitoring
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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