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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. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00338-013-1062-9
In: Coral Reefs. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg; New York. ISSN 0722-4028; e-ISSN 1432-0975, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

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

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

Abstract
    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.

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