Regional variation in the structure and function of parrotfishes on Arabian reefs

A.S. Hoey, D.A. Feary, J.A. Burt, G. Vaughan, M.S. Pratchett, M.L. Berumen
Marine Pollution Bulletin, volume 105, issue 2, pp. 524-531, (2016)

Regional variation in the structure and function of parrotfishes on Arabian reefs

Keywords

Ecosystem process; Herbivory; Bioerosion; Red Sea; Arabian Gulf; Arabian Sea

Abstract

​Parrotfishes (f. Labridae) are a unique and ubiquitous group of herbivorous reef fishes. We compared the distribution and ecosystem function (grazing and erosion) of parrotfishes across 75 reefs in Arabia. Our results revealed marked regional differences in the abundance, and taxonomic and functional composition of parrotfishes between the Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and Arabian Gulf. High densities and diversity of parrotfishes, and high rates of grazing (210% year− 1) and erosion (1.57 kg m− 2 year− 1) characterised Red Sea reefs. Despite Arabian Sea and Red Sea reefs having broadly comparable abundances of parrotfishes, estimates of grazing (150% year− 1) and erosion (0.43 kg m− 2 year− 1) were markedly lower in the Arabian Sea. Parrotfishes were extremely rare within the southern Arabian Gulf, and as such rates of grazing and erosion were negligible. This regional variation in abundance and functional composition of parrotfishes appears to be related to local environmental conditions.

Code

DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.11.035

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