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Can aggregating fish help corals during bleaching events
EP24106
Poster Title: Can aggregating fish help corals during bleaching events
Submitted on 20 Jun 2016
Author(s): Tory Chase, Morgan Pratchett, Mia Hoogenboom
Affiliations: ARC CoE Coral Reefs and James Cook University
This poster was presented at 13th International Coral Reef Symposium 19-24 June 2016 Honolulu, Hawaii
Poster Views: 922
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Poster Information
Abstract: Global environmental change is likely to have profound influence on how marine symbioses operate, thus impacting nutrient cycling, ecosystem function, and evolutionary processes. On coral reefs, fish living within the branches of coral colonies can promote coral growth and it has been hypothesized that the enhanced water flow and nutrients provided by fish could ameliorate coral bleaching. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of small schooling damselfish on the health of their host corals during and after a thermal bleaching event. Using a controlled laboratory experiment this study demonstrates that corals inhabited by fish have higher photosynthetic efficiency in both control and heated treatments and that elevated temperatures caused higher mortality and a larger decline in photosynthetic efficiency in corals that did not have fish present. Thus, our experiment provides the first experimental evidence that fish living within coral colonies can affect coral susceptibility and to thermal bleaching. Understanding how interactions between species, such as fish-coral mutualisms, can moderate the effects of changing environmental conditions is critically important for understanding the effects of climate change on reef organisms and coral reef management. Summary: The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of small schooling damselfish on the health of their host corals during and after a thermal bleaching event. Report abuse »
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