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The Influence Of Herbivorous Fishes On Coral Reef Communities With Low Sea Urchin Abundance: A Study Among Reef Community Types And Seasons In The Florida Keys, Emily F. Schmitt Lavin
Emily F Schmitt Lavin
Herbivores affect the species composition and quantity of algae on reefs and this in turn affects the overall benthic community structure as algae compete for space among various taxa including corals and sponges. The main groups of herbivores on reefs are sea urchins, such as Diadema antillarum (Phylum Echinodermata: Order Echinoidea) and fishes such as acanthurids and scarids (Phylum Chordata: Order Pisces). Populations of the sea urchin, Diadema antillarum suffered mass-mortality beginning in 1983 throughout the tropical northwest Atlantic and in many areas have still not returned to their pre-mortality abundances. The Florida Keys reef system supports herbivorous fishes that ...