Table of Contents
Diversity, Volume 11, Issue 2 (February 2019)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) In coral reefs, one of the most prevalent and striking gradients in the structure of reef [...] Read more. In coral reefs, one of the most prevalent and striking gradients in the structure of reef assemblages occurs with increasing distance from shore. How these distinct cross-shelf assemblages will respond to the increasing frequency and severity of climatic disturbance events is not well understood. We compare cross-shelf herbivorous fish assemblages on the northern Great Barrier Reef before and after two cyclones and a severe coral bleaching event. While different assemblages among inner-, mid-, and outer-shelf reefs were maintained post-disturbance, the biomass of some outer-shelf groups increased, and there was a loss of taxonomic and trait richness across all shelf positions, but particularly nearshore. This loss of species may have important implications for the maintenance of ecosystem processes with future disturbance. View this paper.