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Natural nutrient subsidies alter demographic rates in a functionally important coral-reef fish

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Natural nutrient subsidies alter demographic rates in a functionally important coral-reef fish. / Benkwitt, C.E.; Taylor, B.M.; Meekan, M.G.; Graham, N.A.J.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 11, No. 1, 12575, 15.06.2021.

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@article{91651b500c7244dbb05131b5752d0f3d,
title = "Natural nutrient subsidies alter demographic rates in a functionally important coral-reef fish",
abstract = "By improving resource quality, cross-ecosystem nutrient subsidies may boost demographic rates of consumers in recipient ecosystems, which in turn can affect population and community dynamics. However, empirical studies on how nutrient subsidies simultaneously affect multiple demographic rates are lacking, in part because humans have disrupted the majority of these natural flows. Here, we compare the demographics of a sex-changing parrotfish (Chlorurus sordidus) between reefs where cross-ecosystem nutrients provided by seabirds are available versus nearby reefs where invasive, predatory rats have removed seabird populations. For this functionally important species, we found evidence for a trade-off between investing in growth and fecundity, with parrotfish around rat-free islands with many seabirds exhibiting 35% faster growth, but 21% lower size-based fecundity, than those around rat-infested islands with few seabirds. Although there were no concurrent differences in population-level density or biomass, overall mean body size was 16% larger around rat-free islands. Because the functional significance of parrotfish as grazers and bioeroders increases non-linearly with size, the increased growth rates and body sizes around rat-free islands likely contributes to higher ecosystem function on coral reefs that receive natural nutrient subsidies. More broadly, these results demonstrate additional benefits, and potential trade-offs, of restoring natural nutrient pathways for recipient ecosystems. ",
keywords = "adult, animal experiment, article, biomass, body size, controlled study, coral reef, demography, fertility, fish, grazer, growth rate, human, male, nonhuman, nutrient, rat, seabird",
author = "C.E. Benkwitt and B.M. Taylor and M.G. Meekan and N.A.J. Graham",
year = "2021",
month = jun,
day = "15",
doi = "10.1038/s41598-021-91884-y",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
journal = "Scientific Reports",
issn = "2045-2322",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Natural nutrient subsidies alter demographic rates in a functionally important coral-reef fish

AU - Benkwitt, C.E.

AU - Taylor, B.M.

AU - Meekan, M.G.

AU - Graham, N.A.J.

PY - 2021/6/15

Y1 - 2021/6/15

N2 - By improving resource quality, cross-ecosystem nutrient subsidies may boost demographic rates of consumers in recipient ecosystems, which in turn can affect population and community dynamics. However, empirical studies on how nutrient subsidies simultaneously affect multiple demographic rates are lacking, in part because humans have disrupted the majority of these natural flows. Here, we compare the demographics of a sex-changing parrotfish (Chlorurus sordidus) between reefs where cross-ecosystem nutrients provided by seabirds are available versus nearby reefs where invasive, predatory rats have removed seabird populations. For this functionally important species, we found evidence for a trade-off between investing in growth and fecundity, with parrotfish around rat-free islands with many seabirds exhibiting 35% faster growth, but 21% lower size-based fecundity, than those around rat-infested islands with few seabirds. Although there were no concurrent differences in population-level density or biomass, overall mean body size was 16% larger around rat-free islands. Because the functional significance of parrotfish as grazers and bioeroders increases non-linearly with size, the increased growth rates and body sizes around rat-free islands likely contributes to higher ecosystem function on coral reefs that receive natural nutrient subsidies. More broadly, these results demonstrate additional benefits, and potential trade-offs, of restoring natural nutrient pathways for recipient ecosystems.

AB - By improving resource quality, cross-ecosystem nutrient subsidies may boost demographic rates of consumers in recipient ecosystems, which in turn can affect population and community dynamics. However, empirical studies on how nutrient subsidies simultaneously affect multiple demographic rates are lacking, in part because humans have disrupted the majority of these natural flows. Here, we compare the demographics of a sex-changing parrotfish (Chlorurus sordidus) between reefs where cross-ecosystem nutrients provided by seabirds are available versus nearby reefs where invasive, predatory rats have removed seabird populations. For this functionally important species, we found evidence for a trade-off between investing in growth and fecundity, with parrotfish around rat-free islands with many seabirds exhibiting 35% faster growth, but 21% lower size-based fecundity, than those around rat-infested islands with few seabirds. Although there were no concurrent differences in population-level density or biomass, overall mean body size was 16% larger around rat-free islands. Because the functional significance of parrotfish as grazers and bioeroders increases non-linearly with size, the increased growth rates and body sizes around rat-free islands likely contributes to higher ecosystem function on coral reefs that receive natural nutrient subsidies. More broadly, these results demonstrate additional benefits, and potential trade-offs, of restoring natural nutrient pathways for recipient ecosystems.

KW - adult

KW - animal experiment

KW - article

KW - biomass

KW - body size

KW - controlled study

KW - coral reef

KW - demography

KW - fertility

KW - fish

KW - grazer

KW - growth rate

KW - human

KW - male

KW - nonhuman

KW - nutrient

KW - rat

KW - seabird

U2 - 10.1038/s41598-021-91884-y

DO - 10.1038/s41598-021-91884-y

M3 - Journal article

VL - 11

JO - Scientific Reports

JF - Scientific Reports

SN - 2045-2322

IS - 1

M1 - 12575

ER -