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Echinoid bioerosion and herbivory on Kenyan coral reefs: the role of protection from fishing
Carreiro-Silva, M.; McClanahan, T. R. (2001). Echinoid bioerosion and herbivory on Kenyan coral reefs: the role of protection from fishing. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 262(2): 133-153.
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981; e-ISSN 1879-1697, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

    Behaviour > Feeding behaviour > Grazing
    Diadema savignyi (Audouin, 1809) [WoRMS]; Diadema setosum (Leske, 1778) [WoRMS]; Echinometra mathaei (Blainville, 1825) [WoRMS]; Echinothrix diadema (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    coral reef, herbivory, sea urchins

Auteurs  Top 
  • Carreiro-Silva, M.
  • McClanahan, T. R.

    During feeding, echinoids remove a large proportion of calcium carbonate in addition to the algae growing on dead coral and are consequently of importance in estimating the turnover of organic and inorganic carbon in coral reefs. Rates of herbivory and the erosion of dead coral substratum, referred to as bioerosion, by the most abundant echinoid species in Kenyan reefs, Echinothrix diadema (Linnaeus), Diadema setosum (Leske), D. savignyi (Michelin) and Echinometra mathaei (de Blainville), were compared in three different reef categories with different histories of fishing and its: exclusion. These were reefs: (i) protected within Marine National Parks, which exclude all forms of fishing, coral and shell collection for more than 25 years; (ii) one reef within a Marine Park, which has received protection from fishing activities for 8 years (referred to as 'newly protected' reef), and (iii) unprotected reefs, which experience heavy fishing and some coral collection. The aim was to investigate the grazing and bioerosion activity by the above echinoid species in these reef categories. We surveyed sea urchin population densities and determined their rates of bioerosion and herbivory per individual and square meter. Individual rates of bioerosion and herbivory, of the species D. setosum, D. savignyi and E. diadema were estimated from laboratory gut content analysis and gut evacuation experiments in the field, using elevated underwater cages. Individual rates of bioerosion and herbivory of E. mathaei were obtained from a previous field study [J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 147 (1991) 121]. Sea urchin bioerosion was greater than herbivory for all studied species and proportional to the body size of the sea urchin species. The large-bodied E. diadema exhibited the highest bioerosion and herbivory rates (5.5 +/-0.9 and 2.2 +/-0.3 g individual(-1) day(-1) respectively) followed by D. setosum (1.8 +/-0.3 and 1.1 +/-0.2 g individual(-1) day(-1)) and D. savignyi (0.7 +/-0.2 and 0.4 +/-0.1 g individual(-1) day(-1)). Highest sea urchin densities were recorded at unprotected reefs (6.2 +/-1.5 individual m(-2)), and therefore, bioerosion and herbivory by sea urchins were also highest in this reef category (1180 +/- 230 g CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1) and 450 +/- 77 g algae m(-2) year(-1)). Protected reefs recorded 20 times lower sea urchin bioerosion and herbivory rates (50.3 +/- 25.8 g CaCO3 m(-2) year(-1) and 20.7 +/- 10.4 g algae m(-2) year(-1)), due to the low sea urchin population densities in these reefs (0.06 +/-0.01 individual m(-1)). The newly protected reef, with intermediate number of sea urchins (1.2 +/-0.1 individual m(-2)), had intermediate rates of sea urchin bioerosion and herbivory (711 +/- 157 g CaCO3 m(-2) and 299 +/- 63 g algae m(-2) year(-1)). These findings suggest that echinoids are important in the carbon cycle and reef development, and that fishing can influence these ecological processes.

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