IMIS | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research


Publications | Institutes | Persons | Datasets | Projects | Maps
[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Printer-friendly version

First experimental evidence of corals feeding on seagrass matter
Lai, S.; Gillis, L.G.; Mueller, C.; Bouma, T.J.; Guest, J.R.; Last, K.S.; Ziegler, A.D.; Todd, P.A. (2013). First experimental evidence of corals feeding on seagrass matter. Coral Reefs 32(4): 1061-1064.
In: Coral Reefs. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg; New York. ISSN 0722-4028, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Author keywords
    Seagrass; Coral heterotrophy; Habitat connectivity; Nutrient transfer

Authors  Top 
  • Lai, S.
  • Gillis, L.G., more
  • Mueller, C., more
  • Bouma, T.J., more
  • Guest, J.R.
  • Last, K.S.
  • Ziegler, A.D.
  • Todd, P.A.

    We present the first experimental evidence of a coral (Oulastrea crispata) ingesting and assimilating seagrass material. Tropical seagrass meadows export a substantial portion of their productivity and can provide an important source of nutrients to neighbouring systems such as coral reefs; however, little is known about the mechanisms of this link. To investigate whether seagrass nutrient uptake via coral heterotrophy is possible, we conducted a feeding experiment with seagrass particulate and dissolved organic matter. Using gut extractions and stable isotope analyses, we determined that O. crispata ingested 15N-enriched seagrass particles and assimilated the nitrogen into its tissue at a rate of 0.75 µg N cm-2 h-1. Corals took up nitrogen from dissolved matter at a comparable rate of 0.98 µg N cm-2 h-1. While other ecological connections between seagrass meadows and reef ecosystems are well known, our results suggest a previously unstudied direct nutritional link between seagrasses and corals.

All data in IMIS is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors