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Observations of coral-algal competition can provide valuable information about the state of coral reef ecosystems. Here, we report contact rates and apparent competition states for six shallow lagoonal reefs in Fiji. A total of 81.4% of examined coral perimeters were found to be in contact with algae, with turf algae (54.7%) and macroalgae of the genus Lobophora (16.8%) representing the most frequently observed contacts. Turf algae competitiveness was low, with 21.8% of coral-turf contacts being won by the algae (i.e. overgrowth or bleaching of coral tissue). In contrast, Lobophora competitiveness against corals was high, with 62.5% of contacts being won by the alga.
The presence of epiphytic algae on Lobophora was associated with significantly greater algal competitiveness against corals, with 75.8% and 21.1% of interactions recorded as algal wins in the presence and absence of epiphytes, respectively. Sedimentation rate, herbivorous fish biomass, and coral colony size did not have a significant effect on Lobophora-coral interactions. This research indicates a novel and important role of epiphytes in driving the outcome of coral-algal contacts.
Research news | 2019-09-13
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through six actionable steps
Research news | 2019-09-12
Centre researchers contribute to first practical guide to offer proven techniques for planning and achieving nature-based solutions
Research news | 2019-09-10
Report from fourth meeting between world’s largest seafood companies and their quest to turn their business sector more sustainable
Research news | 2019-09-09
Understanding the relationships between forest resilience and soil erosion in tropical forests affected by human and natural disturbances
Research news | 2019-09-06
In Philippine fishing communities, gender roles have a bigger influence than price on fishers’ business decisions
Research news | 2019-09-04
Will help private investment to protect the ocean and the people that rely on it