Effects of “Farming” Behavior by Eupomacentrus Lividus and Hemiglyphidodon Plagiometopon on Algal Community Structure
Studies of the “farming” behavior and feeding habits of Eupomacentrus lividus and Hemiglyphidodon plagiometopon in Guam, Mariana Islands, and Yap, Western Caroline Islands, indicated that the standing crop of benthic algae within the territories of both species was significantly higher than on similar adjacent areas of the reef. Dominant algae within H. plagiometopon territories included Gelidiopsis intricata, Polysiphonia scopulorum, and Microcoleus lyngbyaceus, and G. intricata, P. scopulorum, Centroceras clavulatum, and Sphacelaria spp. in E. lividus territories. Algae adjacent to the territories consisted primarily of the cropped thalli of these same species with the addition of a widespread cover of crustose coralline algae and frequent plates of Lobophora variegata. When protected from grazing pressure by caging, the algal standing crop increased significantly in areas outside the territories. Within territories, caging did not result in an increase in ash-free dry weight of algae but did result in an increase in total dry weight. The difference was due to a shift in the composition of algal species within cages from filamentous algae to a higher percentage of macroalgae such as Halimeda and Padina, and is considered to represent an inferior food source. Both E. lividus and H. plagiometopon “weed-out” macroalgae from their territories and feed as generalists upon the remaining species. The extent of this weeding by the damselfishes affected species diversity and the evenness of the respective algal communities.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1980-03-01
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