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Positive association between epiphytes and competitiveness of the brown algal genus Lobophora against corals
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), Germany; University of Bremen, Germany.
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Number of Authors: 62019 (English)In: PeerJ, ISSN 2167-8359, E-ISSN 2167-8359, Vol. 7, article id e6380Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 7, article id e6380
Keywords [en]
Lobophora, Coral algae competition, Epiphytes, Allelopathy, Turf algae
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166535DOI: 10.7717/peerj.6380ISI: 000458123100006PubMedID: 30775176OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-166535DiVA, id: diva2:1294007
Available from: 2019-03-06 Created: 2019-03-06 Last updated: 2019-03-06Bibliographically approved

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