Marine Biology

, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 117–123 | Cite as

Video-monitored predation by Caribbean reef fishes on an array of mangrove and reef sponges

  • M. Dunlap
  • J. R. Pawlik
Article

Abstract

Although predation by fishes is thought to structure benthic invertebrate communities on coral reefs, evidence to support this claim has been difficult to obtain. We deployed an array of eight sponge species on Conch Reef (16 m depth) off Key Largo, Florida, USA, and used a remote video-camera to record fish activity near the array continuously during five daylight periods (6 h for 1 d, at least 11.5 h for 4 d) and one night period (11 h). Of the eight sponge species, four were from adjacent reefs (Agelas wiedenmayeri, Geodia neptuni, Aplysina fistularis, and Pseudaxinella lunaecharta), and four were from a nearby mangrove habitat (Chondrosia collectrix, Geodia gibberosa, Halichondria sp., andTedania ignis). Each species of reef sponge was chosen to match the corresponding mangrove species in form and color (black, brown, yellow, and red, respectively). Predation events only occurred during daylight hours. Tallies of the number of times fishes bit sponges revealed intense feeding by the expected species of sponge-eating fishes, such as the angelfishHolacanthus bermudensis, H. tricolor, andPomacanthus arcuatus, the cowfishLactophrys quadricornis, and the filefishCantherhines pullus, but surprisingly also by the parrotfishSparisoma aurofrenatum andS. chrysopterum. Of 35 301 bites recorded, 50.8% were taken by angelfish, 34.8% by parrotfish, and 13.7% by trunkfish and filefish. Mangrove sponges were preferred by all reef fishes; 96% of bites were taken from mangrove species, with angelfish preferringChondrosia collectrix and parrotfish preferringGeodia gibberosa. Fishes often bit the same sponge repetitively, and frequently consumed entire samples within 30 min of their deployment. Sponge color did not influence fish feeding. Two of the four mangrove sponge-species deployed on the array were also found living in cryptic habitats on adjacent reefs and were rapidly consumed by fishes when exposed. Our results demonstrate the importance of fish predation in controlling the distribution of sponges on Caribbean reefs.

Keywords

Sponge Coral Reef Reef Fish Mangrove Species Sponge Color 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bakus GJ (1981) Chemical defense mechanisms on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Science, NY 211: 497–499Google Scholar
  2. Bellwood DR, Choat JH (1990) A functional analysis of grazing in parrotfishes (family Scaridae): the ecological implications. Envir Biol Fish 28: 189–214Google Scholar
  3. Bergquist PR (1978) Sponges. University of California Press, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  4. Bruggemann JH, Begeman J, Bosma EM, Verburg P, Breeman AM (1994a) Foraging by the stoplight parrotfishSparisoma viride. II. Intake and assimilation of food, protein and energy. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 106: 57–71Google Scholar
  5. Bruggemann JH, Kuyper MWM, Breeman AM (1994b) Comparative analysis of foraging and habitat use by the sympatric Caribbean parrotfishScarus vetula andSparisoma viride (Scaridae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 112: 51–66Google Scholar
  6. Bruggemann JH, van Oppen MJH, Breeman AM (1994c) Foraging by the stoplight parrotfishSparisoma viride. I. Food selection in different, socially determined habitats. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 106: 41–55Google Scholar
  7. Chanas B, Pawlik JR (1995) Defenses of Caribbean sponges against predatory reef fish: II. Spicules, tissue toughness, and nutritional quality. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 127: 195–211Google Scholar
  8. Faulkner DJ (1994) Marine natural products. Nat Product Rep 11: 355–394Google Scholar
  9. Goreau TF, Hartman WD (1963) Boring sponges as controlling factors in the formation and maintenance of coral reefs. In: Sognnaes RF (ed) Mechanisms of hard tissue destruction. American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York, pp 25–54Google Scholar
  10. Hanley F (1984) Time-budgeting and foraging strategy of the stoplight parrotfishSparisoma viride Bonnaterre, in Jamaica. J exp mar Biol Ecol 83: 159–177Google Scholar
  11. Hay ME (1991) Spatial and temporal patterns in herbivory on a Caribbean fringing reef: the effects on plant distribution. Oecologia 58: 299–308Google Scholar
  12. Hay ME (1991) Fish-seaweed interactions on coral reefs, effects of herbivorous fishes and adaptations of their prey. In: Sale PF (ed) The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 96–119Google Scholar
  13. Hay ME, Steinberg PD (1992) The chemical ecology of plantherbivore interactions in marine versus terrestrial communities. In: Rosenthal G, Berenbaum M (eds) Herbivores: their interactions with secondary metabolites. Ecological and evolutionary processes. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 371–413Google Scholar
  14. Hixon MA (1983) Fish grazing and community structure of reef corals and algae: a synthesis of recent studies. NOAA Symp Ser Undersea Res 1: 79–87Google Scholar
  15. Jones GP, Ferrell DJ, Sale PF (1991) Fish predation and its impacts on the invertebrates of coral reefs and adjacent sediments. In: Sale PF (ed) The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 156–179Google Scholar
  16. Meesters E, Knijn R, Willemsen P, Pennartz R, Roebers G, van Soest RWM (1991) Sub-rubble communities of Curaço and Bonaire coral reefs. Coral Reefs 10: 189–197Google Scholar
  17. Meylan A (1988) Spongivory in hawksbill turtles: a diet of glass. Science, NY 239: 393–395Google Scholar
  18. Paul VJ (1992) Chemical defenses of benthic marine invertebrates. In: Paul VJ (ed) Ecological roles of marine natural products, Comstock Publishing: Ithaca, New York, pp 164–188Google Scholar
  19. Pawlik JR (1993) Marine invertebrate chemical defenses. Chem Rev 93: 1911–1922Google Scholar
  20. Pawlik JR, Chanas B, Toonen RJ, Fenical W (1995) Defenses of Caribbean sponges against predatory reef fish. I. Chemical deterrency. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 127: 183–194Google Scholar
  21. Pawlik JR, Kernan MR, Molinski TF, Harper MK, Faulker DJ (1988) Defensive chemicals of the Spanish dancer nudibranchHexabranchus sanguineus and its egg ribbons: macrolides derived from a sponge diet. J exp mar Biol Ecol 119: 99–109Google Scholar
  22. Randall JE (1967) Food habits of reef fishes of the West Indies. Studtrop Oceanogr, Miami 665–847Google Scholar
  23. Randall JE, Hartman WD (1968) Sponge-feeding fishes of the West Indies. Mar Biol 1: 216–225Google Scholar
  24. Rützler K (1978) Sponges in coral reefs. Monogr oceanogr Methodol (UNESCO) 5: 229–314Google Scholar
  25. Schmahl GP (1991) Community structure and ecology of sponges associated with four southern Florida coral reefs. In: Rützler K (ed) New perspectives in sponge biology. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, pp 376–383Google Scholar
  26. Suchanek TH, Carpenter RC, Witman JD, Harvell CD (1983) Sponges as important space competitors in deep Caribbean coral reef communities. NOAA Symp Ser Undersea Res 1: 55–61Google Scholar
  27. Targett NM, Schmahl GP (1984) Chemical ecology and distribution of sponges in the Salt River Canyon, St., Croix, USVI. NOAA natn mar Fish Serv tech Memo OAR NURP 1: 1–60Google Scholar
  28. Vermeij GJ (1978) Biogeography and adaptation: patterns of marine life. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  29. Wulff JL (1994) Sponge feeding by Caribbean angelfishes, turnkfishes, and filefishes. In: van Soest RWM, van Kempen TMG, Brackman JC (eds) Sponges in time and space. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 265–271Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Dunlap
    • 1
  • J. R. Pawlik
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological Sciences and Center for Marine Science ResearchUniversity of North Carolina at WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations