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image/svg+xml Jakob Voss, based on art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina and Beao Closed Access logo, derived from PLoS Open Access logo. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Closed_Access_logo_transparent.svg Jakob Voss, based on art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina and Beao Coral Reefsarrow_drop_down
image/svg+xml Jakob Voss, based on art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina and Beao Closed Access logo, derived from PLoS Open Access logo. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Closed_Access_logo_transparent.svg Jakob Voss, based on art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina and Beao
Coral Reefs
Article . 2019 . Peer-reviewed
License: Springer TDM
Data sources: Crossref
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Newly dominant benthic invertebrates reshape competitive networks on contemporary Caribbean reefs

Authors: Mark C. Ladd; Andrew A. Shantz; Deron E. Burkepile;

Newly dominant benthic invertebrates reshape competitive networks on contemporary Caribbean reefs

Abstract

Competition is a fundamental process structuring ecological communities. On coral reefs, space is a highly contested resource and the outcomes of spatial competition can dictate community composition. In the Caribbean, reefs are increasingly dominated by non-scleractinian species like sponges, gorgonians, and zoanthids, yet there is a paucity of data on interactions between these increasingly common organisms and historically dominant corals. Here, we investigated interactions among these groups of sessile benthic invertebrates to better understand the role of spatial competition in shaping benthic communities on Caribbean reefs. We coupled surveys of competitive interactions on the reef with a common garden competition experiment to determine the frequency and outcome of interference competition among eight focal species. We found that competitive interactions were pervasive on Florida reefs, with 60% of sessile benthic invertebrates interacting with at least one other invertebrate. Increasingly common non-scleractinian species were some of the most abundant taxa and consistently outcompeted the contemporarily common scleractinian species Porites porites and Siderastrea siderea. The encrusting gorgonian, Erythropodium caribaeorum, was the most aggressive species, reducing the live area of its competitors on average 42% ± 7.04 (SE) over the course of 5 months. Surprisingly, the most aggressive species declined in size when competing, while some less aggressive species were able to increase or maintain area, suggesting a trade-off between aggressiveness and growth. Our findings suggest that competition among sessile invertebrates is likely to remain an important process in structuring coral reefs, but that the optimal strategies for maintaining space on the benthos may change. Importantly, many non-scleractinian species that now dominate reefs appear to be superior competitors, potentially increasing the stress on corals on contemporary reefs.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: geography geography.geographical_feature_category biology Ecology media_common.quotation_subject Porites porites Coral reef biology.organism_classification Competition (biology) Gorgonian Benthic zone Erythropodium caribaeorum Reef Siderastrea siderea media_common

Keywords

Aquatic Science

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    impulse
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    Top 10%
  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    9
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
    Powered byBIP!BIP!
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Found an issue? Give us feedback
citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
9
Top 10%
Average
Top 10%
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