Spatial variation in sea urchins, fish predators, and bioerosion rates on coral reefs of Belize

Brown-Saracino, Jocelyn and Peckol, Paulette and Allen Curran, H. and Robbart, Martha L. (2006) Spatial variation in sea urchins, fish predators, and bioerosion rates on coral reefs of Belize. Coral Reefs, 26 (1). pp. 71-78. ISSN 0722-4028

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    Although sea urchins are critical for controlling macroalgae on heavily Wshed coral reefs, high densities threaten reefs, as urchins are also prodigous bioeroders. This study examined urchin population characteristics, bioerosion rates, their Wsh predators (Labridae), and potential competitors (Scaridae) on unprotected reefs and a reef within a marine protected area (MPA) in the lagoonal regions oV Belize. Urchin density (<1 m¡2) and bioerosion rates (»0.2 kg CaCO3m¡2 year¡1) were lowest and members of the Labridae were the highest (»20 Wsh 200 m¡3) within the MPA, while several unprotected reefs had higher (»18–40 m¡2) urchin densities, lower Labridae abundances (1–3 Wsh 200 m¡3), and bioerosion rates ranging from »0.3–2.6 kg CaCO3m¡2 year¡1. Urchin abundances were inversely related to Labridae (wrasses and hogWsh) densities; however, on reef ridges, low algal cover (»15%), small urchin size (»14 mm), and low proportion of organic material in urchin guts suggested food limitation. Both top–down (predation) and bottom–up factors (food limitation) likely contribute to the control of urchins, predominantly Echinometra viridis, oV Belize, thereby potentially diminishing the negative impacts of bioerosion activities by urchins.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
    Related URLs:
    Unique ID or DOI: 10.1007/s00338-006-0159-9
    Publisher: Springer-Verlag
    Keywords: Belize · Bioerosion · Coral reefs · Mesoamerican Barrier Reef · Overfishing · Sea urchins
    Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AC) Fish > (ACB) Marine
    (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBA) Coral Reefs
    (Z) Other or Unspecified
    Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
    Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2010 09:39
    Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:28

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