Advertisement

Coral Reefs

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 451–455 | Cite as

Dietary shift in juvenile coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus) following coral reef degradation from a flood plume disturbance

  • Colin K. C. WenEmail author
  • Mary C. Bonin
  • Hugo B. Harrison
  • David H. Williamson
  • Geoffrey P. Jones
Note

Abstract

Acute environmental disturbances impact on habitat quality and resource availability, which can reverberate through trophic levels and become apparent in species’ dietary composition. In this study, we observed a distinct dietary shift of newly settled and juvenile coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus) following severe coral reef habitat degradation after a river flood plume affected the Keppel Islands, Australia. Hard coral cover declined by ~28 % in the 2 yr following the 2010–2011 floods, as did the abundance of young coral trout. Gut contents analysis revealed that diets had shifted from largely crustacean-based to non-preferred prey fishes following the disturbances. These results suggest that newly settled and juvenile coral trout modify their diet and foraging strategy in response to coral habitat degradation. This bottom-up effect of habitat degradation on the diet of a top coral reef predator may incur a metabolic cost, with subsequent effects on growth and survival.

Keywords

Ontogeny Diet Floods Coral trout Plectropomus 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We dedicate this work to our friend and colleague Glenn Almany who tragically passed away in March 2015 and thank the numerous volunteers who helped collect samples. This research was supported by Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF) and National Environment Research Program (NERP) Tropical Ecosystems Hub funding to GPJ.

Supplementary material

338_2016_1398_MOESM1_ESM.docx (367 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 368 kb)

References

  1. Anderson MJ, Gorley R, Clarke K (2008) PERMANOVA+ for PRIMER: guide to software and statistical methods. Primer-e, Plymouth, UKGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonin MC, Almany GR, Jones GP (2011) Contrasting effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on coral-associated reef fishes. Ecology 92:1503–1512CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Brooker RM, Munday PL, Brandl SJ, Jones GP (2014) Local extinction of coral reef fish explained by inflexible prey choice. Coral Reefs 33:891–896CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Devlin MJ, McKinna LW, Álvarez-Romero JG, Petus C, Abott B, Harkness P, Brodie J (2012) Mapping the pollutants in surface riverine flood plume waters in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Mar Pollut Bull 65:224–235CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Fabricius KE (2005) Effects of terrestrial runoff on the ecology of corals and coral reefs: review and synthesis. Mar Pollut Bull 50:125–146CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Furnas M, Mitchell A, Skuza M, Brodie J (2005) In the other 90%: phytoplankton responses to enhanced nutrient availability in the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon. Mar Pollut Bull 51:253–265CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Graham NAJ, Wilson SK, Jennings S, Polunin NVC, Robinson J, Bijoux JP, Daw TM (2007) Lag effects in the impacts of mass coral bleaching on coral reef fish, fisheries, and ecosystems. Conserv Biol 21:1291–1300CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Kennedy K, Devlin M, Bentley C, Lee-Chue K, Paxman C, Carter S, Lewis SE, Brodie J, Guy E, Vardy S, Martin KC, Jones A, Packett R, Mueller JF (2012) The influence of a season of extreme wet weather events on exposure of the World Heritage Area Great Barrier Reef to pesticides. Mar Pollut Bull 64:1495–1507CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Kulbicki M, Bozec Y-M, Labrosse P, Letourneur Y, Mou-Tham G, Wantiez L (2005) Diet composition of carnivorous fishes from coral reef lagoons of New Caledonia. Aquat Living Resour 18:231–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pratchett MS, Coker DJ, Jones GP, Munday PL (2012) Specialization in habitat use by coral reef damselfishes and their susceptibility to habitat loss. Ecol Evol 2:2168–2180CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. R Core Team (2015) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  12. Russ GR, Cheal AJ, Dolman AM, Emslie MJ, Evans RD, Miller I, Sweatman H, Williamson DH (2008) Rapid increase in fish numbers follows creation of world’s largest marine reserve network. Curr Biol 18:514–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. St John J (1999) Ontogenetic changes in the diet of the coral reef grouper Plectropomus leopardus (Serranidae): patterns in taxa, size and habitat of prey. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 180:233–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Stella JS, Pratchett MS, Hutchings PA, Jones GP (2011) Coral-associated invertebrates: diversity, ecological importance and vulnerability to disturbance. Oceanogr Mar Biol Annu Rev 49:43–104Google Scholar
  15. Sweatman H, Delean S, Syms C (2011) Assessing loss of coral cover on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef over two decades, with implications for longer-term trends. Coral Reefs 30:521–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wen CK, Almany GR, Williamson DH, Pratchett MS, Jones GP (2012) Evaluating the effects of marine reserves on diet, prey availability and prey selection by juvenile predatory fishes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 469:133–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wen CKC, Pratchett MS, Almany GR, Jones GP (2013a) Role of prey availability in microhabitat preferences of juvenile coral trout (Plectropomus: Serranidae). J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 443:39–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wen CKC, Pratchett MS, Almany GR, Jones GP (2013b) Patterns of recruitment and microhabitat associations for three predatory coral reef fishes on the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Coral Reefs 32:389–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Werner EE, Gilliam JF (1984) The ontogenetic niche and species interaction in size structured populations. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 15:393–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Williamson DH, Ceccarelli DM, Evans RD, Jones GP, Russ GR (2014) Habitat dynamics, marine reserve status, and the decline and recovery of coral reef fish communities. Ecol Evol 4:337–354CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life ScienceTunghai UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Tropical Marine Bio-resources and Ecology, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  4. 4.College of Marine and Environmental SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations