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Predators shape sedimentary organic carbon storage in a coral reef ecosystem

Atwood, Trisha B., Madin, Elizabeth M. P., Harborne, Alastair R., Hammill, Edd, Luiz, Osmar J., Ollivier, Quinn R., Roelfsema, Chris M., Macreadie, Peter I. and Lovelock, Catherine E. 2018, Predators shape sedimentary organic carbon storage in a coral reef ecosystem, Frontiers in ecology and evolution, vol. 6, doi: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00110.

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Title Predators shape sedimentary organic carbon storage in a coral reef ecosystem
Author(s) Atwood, Trisha B.
Madin, Elizabeth M. P.
Harborne, Alastair R.
Hammill, Edd
Luiz, Osmar J.
Ollivier, Quinn R.ORCID iD for Ollivier, Quinn R. orcid.org/0000-0002-8791-8214
Roelfsema, Chris M.
Macreadie, Peter I.ORCID iD for Macreadie, Peter I. orcid.org/0000-0001-7362-0882
Lovelock, Catherine E.
Journal name Frontiers in ecology and evolution
Volume number 6
Article ID 110
Total pages 11
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publication date 2018-08
ISSN 2296-701X
Summary Trophic cascade theory predicts that predator effects should extend to influence carbon cycling in ecosystems. Yet, there has been little empirical evidence in natural ecosystems to support this hypothesis. Here, we use a naturally-occurring trophic cascade to provide evidence that predators help protect sedimentary organic carbon stocks in coral reef ecosystems. Our results show that predation risk altered the behavior of herbivorous fish, whereby it constrained grazing to areas close to the refuge of the patch reefs. Macroalgae growing in "riskier" areas further away from the reef were released from grazing pressure, which subsequently promoted carbon accumulation in the sediments underlying the macroalgal beds. Here we found that carbon stocks furthest away from the reef edge were ~24% higher than stocks closest to the reef. Our results indicate that predators and herbivores play an important role in structuring carbon dynamics in a natural marine ecosystem, highlighting the need to conserve natural predator-prey dynamics to help maintain the crucial role of marine sediments in sequestering carbon.
Language eng
DOI 10.3389/fevo.2018.00110
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018 Atwood, Madin, Harborne, Hammill, Luiz, Ollivier, Roelfsema, Macreadie and Lovelock
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30114048

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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.