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Prevalence of pelagic dependence among coral reef predators across an atoll seascape

Friday 01 March, 18.29pm,-6.45pm – Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

With Christina Skinner

Through fisheries, coral reefs provide food security to millions of people around the tropics, but the main target species are declining due to climate change and multiple direct anthropogenic stressors.  Apex predators such as sharks may be partly sustained by pelagic inputs to outer reef slopes, but how widespread is this dependence across all fishery target species and is it confined to the outside of atolls? I use biological markers (stable isotopes) in fish tissue to investigate how reliant reef fishery target predators are on planktonic food sources. Reef-pelagic connectivity helps sustain important food resources on degraded oceanic reefs but its disruption by ocean warming highlights the need for management plans that transcend the boundaries of this threatened ecosystem.