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Globally consistent reef size spectra integrating fishes and invertebrates


Heather, FJ and Blanchard, JL and Edgar, GJ and Trebilco, R and Stuart-Smith, RD, Globally consistent reef size spectra integrating fishes and invertebrates, Ecology Letters, 24, (3) pp. 572-579. ISSN 1461-023X (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/ele.13661


The frequency distribution of individual body sizes in animal communities (i.e. the size spectrum) provides powerful insights for understanding the energy flux through food webs. However, studies of size spectra in rocky and coral reef communities typically focus only on fishes or invertebrates due to taxonomic and data constraints, and consequently ignore energy pathways involving the full range of macroscopic consumer taxa. We analyse size spectra with co‐located fish and mobile macroinvertebrate data from 3369 reef sites worldwide, specifically focusing on how the addition of invertebrate data alters patterns. The inclusion of invertebrates steepens the size spectrum, more so in temperate regions, resulting in a consistent size spectrum slope across latitudes, and bringing slopes closer to theoretical expectations based on energy flow through the system. These results highlight the importance of understanding contributions of both invertebrates and fishes to reef food webs worldwide.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:benthic, biomass equivalence rule, coastal, community, fish, macroecology, size distribution, size spectrum, trophic pathways
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Heather, FJ (Dr Freddie Heather)
UTAS Author:Blanchard, JL (Professor Julia Blanchard)
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
UTAS Author:Trebilco, R (Dr Rowan Trebilco)
UTAS Author:Stuart-Smith, RD (Dr Rick Stuart-Smith)
ID Code:143036
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT190100599)
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2021-02-23
Last Modified:2021-10-06
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