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Showing posts from August 11, 2008

A bed of nails??? What are we up to now?

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By Brittany Huntington, Doctoral Student, RMSAS Univ. of Miami and BREAM summer graduate intern, funded by ACP

These terracotta tiles imbedded with nails are actually part of a larger experiment we are currently undertaking to explore the impact of herbivorous fishes on the recruitment and settlement success of young corals.

Bermuda is unique in the world for protecting its herbivorous fish communities through a now 30-year-old ban on fish pot. As a result, there are conspicuous bands of large-bodied parrotfishes and surgeonfishes roving over the reef of Bermuda and grazing down the standing macroalgal biomass on the reefs.

While healthy stocks of herbivorous fishes have been hailed as the key to preventing macroalgal phase shifts on coral reefs worldwide, little is known about how healthy, robust populations of the herbivores will impact the survival of young coral recruits.

By manipulating the fish access to our terracotta settlement tiles, we hope to better understand the role of lar…