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Ecology, 88(6), 2007, pp. 15481561 2007 by the Ecological Society of America
 

Summary: Ecology, 88(6), 2007, pp. 15481561
2007 by the Ecological Society of America
POSITIVE INDIRECT EFFECTS OF REEF FISHES ON KELP
PERFORMANCE: THE IMPORTANCE OF MESOGRAZERS
ANDREW C. DAVENPORT AND TODD W. ANDERSON
1
Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182-4614
Abstract. It has been suggested that microcarnivorous reef fishes may play an important
role in giant kelp forest communities by preventing infestations of mesograzers that could
severely impact or potentially destroy recovering kelp forests after extreme disturbance events.
However, these trophic linkages, specifically the direct and indirect effects of fishes on the
biomass of mesograzers, grazing intensity, and the performance of giant kelp, have not been
sufficiently quantified and evaluated as to their importance and in the absence of such
disturbance events. We examined experimentally the effects of mesograzers on the growth and
performance of giant kelp in the presence and absence of their fish predators near Santa
Catalina Island, California (USA). Mesograzer biomass and grazing intensity were
significantly higher when fishes were excluded from giant kelp, which in turn, lowered kelp
performance. This pattern was consistent both on experimental plots of kelp as habitat
isolates, and on a continuous reef. Moreover, the abundance of mesograzers was inversely
related to the abundance of kelp perch among several kelp-forested reefs, suggesting that these

  

Source: Anderson, Todd - Department of Biology, San Diego State University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology