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Article

Seascape Configuration Leads to Spatially Uneven Delivery of Parrotfish Herbivory across a Western Indian Ocean Seascape

1
Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia, Campus Sosígenes Costa, Centro de Formação em Ciências Ambientais, Porto Seguro 45810-000, Brazil
3
Exploration Technology Lab, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC 20036, USA
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Pristine Seas, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC 20036, USA
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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 68020, RJ, Brazil
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Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação de Ambientes Recifais, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Outeiro de São João Batista-s/n, Rio de Janeiro 24020-005, Brazil
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Instituto do Mar, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Santos 11070−100, Brazil
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Marine Ecology Laboratory, Department of Oceanography and Limnology, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal 59014-002, Brazil
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Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Coastal Research, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skolgatan 6, SE-742 42 Öregrund, Sweden
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(11), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110434
Received: 14 August 2020 / Revised: 2 October 2020 / Accepted: 27 October 2020 / Published: 18 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Ecology of Herbivorous Fish)
Spatial configuration of habitat types in multihabitat seascapes influence ecological function through links of biotic and abiotic processes. These connections, for example export of organic matter or fishes as mobile links, define ecosystem functionality across broader spatial scales. Herbivory is an important ecological process linked to ecosystem resilience, but it is not clear how herbivory relates to seascape configuration. We studied how herbivory and bioerosion by 3 species of parrotfish were distributed in a multi-habitat tropical seascape in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). We surveyed the abundance of three species with different life histories—Leptoscarus vaigiensis (seagrass species), Scarus ghobban (juvenile-seagrass/adults-reefs) and Scarus rubroviolaceus (reef species) —in seagrass meadows and on reefs and recorded their selectivity of feeding substrate in the two habitats. Herbivory rates for L. vaigiensis and S. ghobban and bioerosion for S. rubroviolaceus were then modelled using bite rates for different size classes and abundance and biomass data along seascape gradients (distance to alternative habitat types such as land, mangrove and seagrass). Bioerosion by S. rubroviolaceus was greatest on reefs far from seagrass meadows, while herbivory rates by S. ghobban on reefs displayed the opposite pattern. Herbivory in seagrass meadows was greatest in meadows close to shore, where L. vaigiensis targeted seagrass leaves and S. ghobban the epiphytes growing on them. Our study shows that ecological functions performed by fish are not equally distributed in the seascape and are influenced by fish life history and the spatial configuration of habitats in the seascape. This has implications for the resilience of the system, in terms of spatial heterogeneity of herbivory and bioerosion and should be considered in marine spatial planning and fisheries management. View Full-Text
Keywords: herbivorous fish; coral reefs; seagrass; seascape ecology; ecosystem function; environmental gradients herbivorous fish; coral reefs; seagrass; seascape ecology; ecosystem function; environmental gradients
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MDPI and ACS Style

Eggertsen, L.; Goodell, W.; Cordeiro, C.A.M.M.; Mendes, T.C.; Longo, G.O.; Ferreira, C.E.L.; Berkström, C. Seascape Configuration Leads to Spatially Uneven Delivery of Parrotfish Herbivory across a Western Indian Ocean Seascape. Diversity 2020, 12, 434. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110434

AMA Style

Eggertsen L, Goodell W, Cordeiro CAMM, Mendes TC, Longo GO, Ferreira CEL, Berkström C. Seascape Configuration Leads to Spatially Uneven Delivery of Parrotfish Herbivory across a Western Indian Ocean Seascape. Diversity. 2020; 12(11):434. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110434

Chicago/Turabian Style

Eggertsen, Linda, Whitney Goodell, César A.M.M. Cordeiro, Thiago C. Mendes, Guilherme O. Longo, Carlos E.L. Ferreira, and Charlotte Berkström. 2020. "Seascape Configuration Leads to Spatially Uneven Delivery of Parrotfish Herbivory across a Western Indian Ocean Seascape" Diversity 12, no. 11: 434. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110434

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