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Local variation in herbivore feeding activity on an inshore reef of the Great Barrier Reef


Cvitanovic, C and Bellwood, DR, Local variation in herbivore feeding activity on an inshore reef of the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Reefs, 28, (1) pp. 127-133. ISSN 0722-4028 (2009) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright Springer-Verlag 2008

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00338-008-0433-0


Threats to coral reefs may be manifested through an increase in macroalgae. Across the globe, phase-shifts from coral to macroalgal dominance have been reported from the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific Oceans. While the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is in relatively good condition, inshore reefs may exhibit over 50% macroalgal cover. However, our understanding of the processes preventing the macroalgal expansion remains uncertain. Using a remote video bioassay approach, this study quantified herbivory in three bays along the leeward margin of Orpheus Island. Despite significant with-in bay variation in herbivory there was no detectable statistical difference in the rates of herbivory among bays. Furthermore, of the 45 herbivore species recorded from the island, only three played a significant role in bioassay removal, Siganus canaliculatus, Siganus javus and Kyphosus vaigiensis, with only one species predominating in each bay. Reefs of the GBR may therefore be more vulnerable than previously thought, with the removal of macroalgae depending on just a few species, which exhibit considerable spatial variability in their feeding behaviour.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:herbivory, coral reefs, spatial variation
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Cvitanovic, C (Dr Christopher Cvitanovic)
ID Code:105191
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:52
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-12-12
Last Modified:2016-07-28

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