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Title: Demographic dynamics of the smallest marine vertebrates fuel coral-reef ecosystem functioning
Contributor(s): Brandl, Simon J (author); Tornabene, Luke (author); Goatley, Christopher H R  (author)orcid ; Casey, Jordan M (author); Morais, Renato A (author); Cote, Isabelle M (author); Baldwin, Carole C (author); Parravicini, Valeriano (author); Schiettekatte, Nina M D (author); Bellwood, David R (author)
Early Online Version: 2019-05-23
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3384
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Abstract: How coral reefs survive as oases of life in low-productivity oceans has puzzled scientists for centuries. The answer may lie in internal nutrient cycling and/or input from the pelagic zone. Integrating meta-analysis, field data, and population modelling, we show that the ocean's smallest vertebrates, cryptobenthic reef fishes, promote internal reef-fish biomass production through exceptional larval supply from the pelagic environment. Specifically, cryptobenthics account for two-thirds of reef-fish larvae in the near-reef pelagic zone, despite limited adult reproductive outputs. This overwhelming abundance of cryptobenthic larvae fuels reef trophodynamics via rapid growth and extreme mortality, producing almost 60% of consumed reef fish biomass. While cryptobenthics are commonly overlooked, their unique demographic dynamics may make them a cornerstone of ecosystem functioning on modern coral reefs.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Science, p. 1-10
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science (A A A S)
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 0036-8075
Field of Research (FOR): 050102 Ecosystem Function
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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