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Benthic meiofaunal community response to the cascading effects of herbivory within an algal halo system of the Great Barrier Reef

Ollivier, Quinn R, Hammill, Edward, Booth, David J, Madin, Elizabeth MP, Hinchliffe, Charles, Harborne, Alastair R, Lovelock, Catherine E, Macreadie, Peter I and Atwood, Trisha B 2018, Benthic meiofaunal community response to the cascading effects of herbivory within an algal halo system of the Great Barrier Reef, PloS one, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 1-13, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193932.

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Title Benthic meiofaunal community response to the cascading effects of herbivory within an algal halo system of the Great Barrier Reef
Author(s) Ollivier, Quinn R
Hammill, Edward
Booth, David J
Madin, Elizabeth MP
Hinchliffe, Charles
Harborne, Alastair R
Lovelock, Catherine E
Macreadie, Peter IORCID iD for Macreadie, Peter I orcid.org/0000-0001-7362-0882
Atwood, Trisha B
Journal name PloS one
Volume number 13
Issue number 3
Article ID e0193932
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2018-03-07
ISSN 1932-6203
1932-6203
Keyword(s) invertebrates
algae
coral reefs
sediment
grazing
reefs
herbivory
nematoda
Summary Benthic fauna play a crucial role in organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling at the sediment-water boundary in aquatic ecosystems. In terrestrial systems, grazing herbivores have been shown to influence below-ground communities through alterations to plant distribution and composition, however whether similar cascading effects occur in aquatic systems is unknown. Here, we assess the relationship between benthic invertebrates and above-ground fish grazing across the 'grazing halos' of Heron Island lagoon, Australia. Grazing halos, which occur around patch reefs globally, are caused by removal of seagrass or benthic macroalgae by herbivorous fish that results in distinct bands of unvegetated sediments surrounding patch reefs. We found that benthic algal canopy height significantly increased with distance from patch reef, and that algal canopy height was positively correlated with the abundances of only one invertebrate taxon (Nematoda). Both sediment carbon to nitrogen ratios (C:N) and mean sediment particle size (μm) demonstrated a positive correlation with Nematoda and Arthropoda (predominantly copepod) abundances, respectively. These positive correlations indicate that environmental conditions are a major contributor to benthic invertebrate community distribution, acting on benthic communities in conjunction with the cascading effects of above-ground algal grazing. These results suggest that benthic communities, and the ecosystem functions they perform in this system, may be less responsive to changes in above-ground herbivorous processes than those previously studied in terrestrial systems. Understanding how above-ground organisms, and processes, affect their benthic invertebrate counterparts can shed light on how changes in aquatic communities may affect ecosystem function in previously unknown ways.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0193932
Field of Research MD Multidisciplinary
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2018, Ollivier et al.
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30107577

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.