Diversity 2011, 3(3), 424-452; doi:10.3390/d3030424
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Changes in Biodiversity and Functioning of Reef Fish Assemblages following Coral Bleaching and Coral Loss

1,* email, 1,2email, 3,4email, 1email and 1email
Received: 30 June 2011; in revised form: 2 August 2011 / Accepted: 3 August 2011 / Published: 12 August 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coral Reef Diversity: Climate Change and Coral Reef Degradation)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Coral reef ecosystems are increasingly subject to severe, large-scale disturbances caused by climate change (e.g., coral bleaching) and other more direct anthropogenic impacts. Many of these disturbances cause coral loss and corresponding changes in habitat structure, which has further important effects on abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes. Declines in the abundance and diversity of coral reef fishes are of considerable concern, given the potential loss of ecosystem function. This study explored the effects of coral loss, recorded in studies conducted throughout the world, on the diversity of fishes and also on individual responses of fishes within different functional groups. Extensive (>60%) coral loss almost invariably led to declines in fish diversity. Moreover, most fishes declined in abundance following acute disturbances that caused >10% declines in local coral cover. Response diversity, which is considered critical in maintaining ecosystem function and promoting resilience, was very low for corallivores, but was much higher for herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. Sustained and ongoing climate change thus poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems and diversity hotspots are no less susceptible to projected changes in diversity and function.
Keywords: climate change; disturbance; ecosystem function; habitat loss
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pratchett, M.S.; Hoey, A.S.; Wilson, S.K.; Messmer, V.; Graham, N.A. Changes in Biodiversity and Functioning of Reef Fish Assemblages following Coral Bleaching and Coral Loss. Diversity 2011, 3, 424-452.

AMA Style

Pratchett MS, Hoey AS, Wilson SK, Messmer V, Graham NA. Changes in Biodiversity and Functioning of Reef Fish Assemblages following Coral Bleaching and Coral Loss. Diversity. 2011; 3(3):424-452.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pratchett, Morgan S.; Hoey, Andrew S.; Wilson, Shaun K.; Messmer, Vanessa; Graham, Nicholas A.J. 2011. "Changes in Biodiversity and Functioning of Reef Fish Assemblages following Coral Bleaching and Coral Loss." Diversity 3, no. 3: 424-452.

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