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  • Dajka_etal_EnvCons_accepted

    Rights statement: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/environmental-conservation/article/abs/investigating-sea-urchin-densities-critical-to-macroalgal-control-on-degraded-coral-reefs/78414F16ACE03C7D518AFCA1F372D232 The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Environmental Conservation, ?, ?, pp ?-? 2021, © 2021 Cambridge University Press.

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Investigating sea urchin densities critical to macroalgal control on degraded coral reefs

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/01/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Conservation
Number of pages6
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date13/01/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Summary There is an assumption that tropical sea urchins are macroalgal grazers with the ability to control macroalgal expansion on degraded coral reefs. We surveyed abundances of Echinothrix calamaris, an urchin species common in the western Indian Ocean on 21 reefs of the inner Seychelles and predicted their density using habitat predictors in a modelling approach. Urchin densities were greatest on patch reef habitat types and declined with increasing macroalgal cover. Next, we experimentally investigated the macroalgae-urchin relationship by penning two sea urchin densities on macroalgal fields. Over six weeks, the highest density treatment (4.44 urchins m-2) cleared 13% of macroalgal cover. This moderate impact leads us to conclude that controlling macroalgal expansion is not likely to be one of the main functions of E. calamaris in the inner Seychelles given the current densities we found in our surveys (mean: 0.02 urchins m-2, maximum: 0.16 urchins m-2).

Bibliographic note

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/environmental-conservation/article/abs/investigating-sea-urchin-densities-critical-to-macroalgal-control-on-degraded-coral-reefs/78414F16ACE03C7D518AFCA1F372D232 The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Environmental Conservation, ?, ?, pp ?-? 2021, © 2021 Cambridge University Press.