The impact of benthic algae on the settlement of a reef-building coral
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The capacity of corals to re-establish in degraded and algal-dominated habitats will depend on the effects of algae on coral settlement and growth. We tested the effect of 11 macroalgal species, of widely different functional-forms, on swimming and settlement by larvae of the coral Platygyra daedalea from the Great Barrier Reef. Algal turfs and the crustose calcareous algae groups had minor effects on coral settlement, while upright calcareous and fleshy macroalgae inhibited settlement. However, the extent of inhibition of larval settlement differed amongst upright macroalgal species, variations that were not well explained by physical differences and probably reflect chemical differences not explained by functional-form. Thus, while algal functional-form is useful in identifying general competition patterns, more detailed taxonomic and chemical approaches may be required to fully understand algal effects on corals. Different macroalgal communities on degraded reefs may have different effects on coral settlement, and hence on coral population resilience.
© 2010 Springer Netherlands. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Environmental Impact Assessment
Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified