13 Works

Data from: Exploring the nature of ecological specialization in a coral reef fish community: morphology, diet, and foraging microhabitat use

Simon J. Brandl, William D. Robbins & David R. Bellwood
Patterns of ecological specialization offer invaluable information about ecosystems. Yet, specialization is rarely quantified across several ecological niche axes and variables beyond the link between morphological and dietary specialization have received little attention. Here, we provide a quantitative evaluation of ecological specialization in a coral reef fish assemblage (f. Acanthuridae) along one fundamental and two realized niche axes. Specifically, we examined ecological specialization in 10 surgeonfish species with regards to morphology and two realized niche...

Data from: Using a multi-isotope approach to inform waterfowl movement in southern Africa

Gregory Mutumi, Graeme Cumming, Alexandre Caron, Mažeika Sullivan & Carlos Caceres
Many far-ranging species depend heavily on relatively small or temporary resources within a heterogeneous landscape. For waterfowl, most species rely on deep, permanent waterbodies as refugia from predators during annual flightless molt periods when synchronous loss and regrowth of the flight feathers occurs. The movements of ducks to and from molt sites are, however, poorly documented for most Afrotropical species and the dependencies of Afrotropical ducks on key sites are unclear, yet this information is...

Data from: High gene flow across large geographic scales reduces extinction risk for a highly specialised coral feeding butterflyfish

Rebecca J. Lawton, Vanessa Messmer, Morgan S. Pratchett & Line K. Bay
The vulnerability of ecologically specialised species to environmental fluctuations has been well documented. However, population genetic structure can influence vulnerability to environmental change and recent studies have indicated that specialised species may have lower genetic diversity and greater population structuring compared to their generalist counterparts. To examine whether there were differences in population genetic structure between a dietary specialist (Chaetodon trifascialis) and a dietary generalist (C. lunulatus) we compared the demographic history and levels of...

Data from: Connectivity of Caribbean coral populations: complementary insights from empirical and modelled gene flow

Nicola L. Foster, Claire B. Paris, Johnathan T. Kool, Iliana B. Baums, Jamie R. Stevens, Juan A. Sánchez, Carolina Bastidas, Claudia Agudelo, Phillippe Bush, Owen Day, Renata Ferrari, Patricia Gonzalez, Shannon Gore, Reia Guppy, Michael A. McCartney, Croy McCoy, Judith Mendes, Ashwanth Srinivasan, Sascha Steiner, Mark J. A. Vermeij, Ernesto Weil & Peter J. Mumby
Understanding patterns of connectivity among populations of marine organisms is essential for the development of realistic, spatially explicit models of population dynamics. Two approaches, theoretical and empirical population genetic models, have been used to estimate levels of evolutionary connectivity among marine populations but rarely have their potentially-complementary insights been combined. Here, a spatially-realistic Lagrangian model of larval dispersal and a theoretical genetic model are integrated with the most extensive study of gene flow in a...

Data from: The effects of background risk on behavioural lateralization in a coral reef fish

Maud C. O. Ferrari, Mark I. McCormick, Bridie J. M. Allan, Rebecca B. Choi, Ryan Ramasamy, Douglas P. Chivers, Ryan A. Ramasamy & Maud C.O. Ferrari
Behavioural lateralization – the preferential use of one side of the body or either of the bilateral organs or limbs – has been well documented in many species, in a number of contexts. While the benefits reported are numerous, existing latent variability in the degree of lateralization within and across populations, species and taxa indicates that existing costs may modulate its expression. Few studies have reported changes in the degree of lateralization at the individual...

Data from: Fishes alleviate the impacts of sediments on host corals

Tory J. Chase, Morgan S. Pratchett, Michael J. McWilliam, Margaux Y. Hein, Sterling B. Tebbett & Mia O. Hoogenboom
Mutualisms play a critical role in ecological communities, however the importance and prevalence of mutualistic associations can be modified by external stressors. On coral reefs, elevated sediments are a major stressor, reducing the health of corals and damaging reef resilience. Here, we investigated the influence of sediment stress on the mutualistic relationship between small damselfishes (Dascyllus aruanus and Pomacentrus moluccensis) and their coral host (Pocillopora damicornis). In an aquaria experiment, corals were exposed to sedimentation...

Data from: Natal philopatry increases relatedness within groups of coral reef cardinalfish

Theresa Rueger, Hugo Harrison, Peter Buston, Naomi Gardiner, Michael Berumen & Geoffrey Jones
A central issue in evolutionary ecology is how patterns of dispersal influence patterns of relatedness in populations. In terrestrial organisms, limited dispersal of offspring leads to groups of related individuals. In contrast, for most marine organisms, larval dispersal in open waters is thought to minimise kin associations within populations. However, recent molecular evidence and theoretical approaches have shown that limited dispersal, sibling cohesion, and/or differential reproductive success can lead to kin-association and elevated relatedness. Here,...

Limited evidence of cloning and selfing within wild populations of coral-eating crown-of thorns seastar (Acanthaster cf. solaris)

Sven Uthicke, Morgan Pratchett, Vanessa Messmer & Hugo Harrison
Population outbreaks of crown-of-thorns seastars (CoTS; Acanthaster spp.) are contributing to extensive coral loss and reef degradation throughout the Indo west-Pacific, but the causes and underlying mechanisms of population maintenance and outbreaks are equivocal. Two recent publications suggest that, in addition to outbreeding sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction through larval fission and selfing may contribute to rapid increases in the local abundance of Acanthaster spp. We re-analysed two large microsatellite datasets (collectively representing 3,714 individuals) that...

Data from: The shape of success in a turbulent world: wave exposure filtering of coral reef herbivory

Sonia Bejarano, Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, Iliana Chollett, Robert Allen, George Roff, Alyssa Marshell, Robert Steneck, Sebastian C. A. Ferse & Peter J. Mumby
While environmental filters are well-known factors influencing community assembly, the extent to which these modify species functions, and entire ecosystem processes, is poorly understood. Focusing on a high-diversity system, we ask whether environmental filtering has ecosystem-wide effects beyond community assembly. We characterise a coral reef herbivorous fish community for swimming performance based on ten functional traits derived from fish morphology. We then investigate whether wave exposure modifies the functional make-up of herbivory, and the absolute...

Critical thermal maxima of early life stages of three tropical fishes: effects of rearing temperature and experimental heating rate

Björn Illing, Adam T. Downie, Mahaut Beghin & Jodie L. Rummer
Marine ectotherms are often sensitive to thermal stress, and certain life stages can be particularly vulnerable (e.g., larvae or spawners). In this study, we investigated the critical thermal maxima (CTmax) of larval and early juvenile life stages of three tropical marine fishes (Acanthochromis polyacanthus, Amphiprion melanopus, and Lates calcarifer). We tested for potential effects of developmental acclimation, life stage, and experimental heating rates, and we measured metabolic enzyme activities from aerobic (citrate synthase, CS) and...

Data from: A synthesis of the prevalence and drivers of non-compliance in marine protected areas

Josephine Iacarella, Georgia Clyde, Brock Bergseth & Natalie Ban
Non-compliance regularly negates the effectiveness of marine protected areas (MPAs) worldwide. Understanding and addressing non-compliance is critical given continued efforts to establish MPAs to meet international milestones (e.g., Aichi targets). We conducted a literature review and meta-analysis to address five key questions and research gaps for MPAs: 1) how is non-compliance best measured? 2) what are common drivers of non-compliance? 3) what is the overall prevalence of non-compliance? 4) how frequently is ecological failure of...

Coral degradation impairs learning of non-predators by Whitetail damselfish

Douglas Chivers, Mark McCormick, Eric Fakan, Jake Edmiston & Maud Ferrari
A prerequisite for effective antipredator responses is the ability of the prey to distinguish animals that pose a threat from those that do not. Prey often have efficient learning mechanisms to learn threats but learning to recognize nonpredators may be equally or more important. Moreover, the ability to generalize learned information is of key importance for prey animals. Prey take information they know about one species to make ‘educated guesses’ about the predatory/nonpredatory status of...

Solving the coral species delimitation conundrum

Catalina Ramírez-Portilla, Andrew Baird, Peter Cowman, Andrea Quattrini, Saki Harii, Frederic Sinniger & Jean-François Flot
Distinguishing coral species is not only crucial for physiological, ecological and evolutionary studies, but also to enable effective management of threatened reef ecosystems. However, traditional hypotheses that delineate coral species based on morphological traits from the coral skeleton are frequently at odds with tree-based molecular approaches. Additionally, a dearth of species-level molecular markers has made species delimitation particularly challenging in species-rich coral genera, leading to the widespread assumption that inter-specific hybridization might be responsible for...

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