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Collapsing ecosystem functions on an inshore coral reef

Collapsing ecosystem functions on an inshore coral reef
Collapsing ecosystem functions on an inshore coral reef
Ecosystem functions underpin productivity and key services to humans, such as food provision. However, as the severity of environmental stressors intensifies, it is becoming increasingly unclear if, and to what extent, critical functions and services can be sustained. This issue is epitomised on coral reefs, an ecosystem at the forefront of environmental transitions. We provide a functional profile of a coral reef ecosystem, linking time-series data to quantified processes. The data reveal a prolonged collapse of ecosystem functions in this previously resilient system. The results suggest that sediment accumulation in algal turfs has led to a decline in resource yields to herbivorous fishes and a decrease in fish-based ecosystem functions, including a collapse of both fish biomass and productivity. Unfortunately, at present, algal turf sediment accumulation is rarely monitored nor managed in coral reef systems. Our examination of functions through time highlights the value of directly assessing functions, their potential vulnerability, and the capacity of algal turf sediments to overwhelm productive high-diversity coral reef ecosystems.
0301-4797
Tebbett, Sterling B.
cdb96273-f8e9-4213-af08-1740215e4b37
Morais, Renato A.
f62481dc-3fe9-4cd9-817c-a286725ebbc7
Goatley, Christopher H.R.
b158dc1a-76f3-4ace-9d33-260d8c76ac93
Bellwood, David R.
829e5839-9ac7-4f63-961c-8d0bf8caab8a
Tebbett, Sterling B.
cdb96273-f8e9-4213-af08-1740215e4b37
Morais, Renato A.
f62481dc-3fe9-4cd9-817c-a286725ebbc7
Goatley, Christopher H.R.
b158dc1a-76f3-4ace-9d33-260d8c76ac93
Bellwood, David R.
829e5839-9ac7-4f63-961c-8d0bf8caab8a

Tebbett, Sterling B., Morais, Renato A., Goatley, Christopher H.R. and Bellwood, David R. (2021) Collapsing ecosystem functions on an inshore coral reef. Journal of Environmental Management, 289, [112471]. (doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112471).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Ecosystem functions underpin productivity and key services to humans, such as food provision. However, as the severity of environmental stressors intensifies, it is becoming increasingly unclear if, and to what extent, critical functions and services can be sustained. This issue is epitomised on coral reefs, an ecosystem at the forefront of environmental transitions. We provide a functional profile of a coral reef ecosystem, linking time-series data to quantified processes. The data reveal a prolonged collapse of ecosystem functions in this previously resilient system. The results suggest that sediment accumulation in algal turfs has led to a decline in resource yields to herbivorous fishes and a decrease in fish-based ecosystem functions, including a collapse of both fish biomass and productivity. Unfortunately, at present, algal turf sediment accumulation is rarely monitored nor managed in coral reef systems. Our examination of functions through time highlights the value of directly assessing functions, their potential vulnerability, and the capacity of algal turf sediments to overwhelm productive high-diversity coral reef ecosystems.

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Accepted/In Press date: 21 March 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 March 2021
Published date: 31 March 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 470296
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/470296
ISSN: 0301-4797
PURE UUID: 750810fa-7dfb-4cbc-a8e7-bd0e73f3efb8
ORCID for Christopher H.R. Goatley: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2930-5591

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Date deposited: 05 Oct 2022 16:56
Last modified: 25 Feb 2023 03:06

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Contributors

Author: Sterling B. Tebbett
Author: Renato A. Morais
Author: Christopher H.R. Goatley ORCID iD
Author: David R. Bellwood

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