Institut des Récifs Coralliens du Pacifique

Bourses IRCP 2012 – Roberta Bonaldo (Brésil)

Roberta Bonaldo (Brésil) – Bourses IRCP 2012

Title of the Project : Coral-seaweed interactions and the implications for resilience of coral reefs;

Abstract : On reefs where herbivores have been overharvested, macroalgae have been implicated in coral loss and ecosystem degradation. This study aimed to examine the frequency coral-seaweed contacts in fished and protected coral reefs in Moorea, the effects of seaweed contact on different corals, the species specificity of these interactions, and the herbivorous fishes responsible for consumption of harmful seaweed species (study conducted in December 2012 and January 2013).

Main results and perspective : Macroalgal cover was much higher than coral cover in all 4 studied reefs. Most of live coral colonies presented macroalgal contact and the most common coral-macrolagal pair was Porites-Turbinaria. More than 50% of Porites colonies contacting Turbinaria presented damage. No removal of Turbinaria by herbivores occurred in both protected and unprotected reefs; the reason for that is probably the overfishing of Naso species, the main consumers of Turbinaria.

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