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Chemically mediated behavior of recruiting corals and fishes: A tipping point that may limit reef recovery
Dixson, D.L.; Abrego, D.; Hay, M.E. (2014). Chemically mediated behavior of recruiting corals and fishes: A tipping point that may limit reef recovery. Science (Wash.) 345(6199): 892-897. hdl.handle.net/10.1126/science.1255057
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Coral reefs; Fishes; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Dixson, D.L.
  • Abrego, D.
  • Hay, M.E.

Abstract
    Coral reefs are in global decline, converting from dominance by coral to dominance by seaweed. Once seaweeds become abundant, coral recovery is suppressed unless herbivores return to remove seaweeds, and corals then recruit. Variance in the recovery of fishes and corals is not well understood. We show that juveniles of both corals and fishes are repelled by chemical cues from fished, seaweed-dominated reefs but attracted to cues from coral-dominated areas where fishing is prohibited. Chemical cues of specific seaweeds from degraded reefs repulsed recruits, and cues from specific corals that are typical of healthy reefs attracted recruits. Juveniles were present at but behaviorally avoided recruiting to degraded reefs dominated by seaweeds. For recovery, degraded reefs may need to be managed to produce cues that attract, rather than repel, recruiting corals and fishes.

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