Lyngbya majuscula blooms and the diet of small subtropical benthivorous fishes
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Increasing concerns about the ecological impacts of ongoing and possibly worsening blooms of the toxic, carcinogenic cyanobacteria Lyngbya majuscula in Moreton Bay, Australia, led us to assess differences in meiofaunal prey assemblages between bloom and nonbloom substrates and the potential dietary impacts of dense L. majuscula blooms on the omnivorous benthivore, the Eastern Long-finned Goby, Favonigobius lentiginosus and the obligate meiobenthivorous juveniles of Trumpeter Whiting, Sillago maculata. Marked differences in invertebrate communities were found between sandy and L. majuscula bloom foraging substrates, with copepods significantly more abundant (18.49% vs. 70.44% numerical abundance) and nematodes significantly less abundant (55.91% vs. 1.21% numerical abundance) within bloom material. Gut analyses showed that bentho-planktivorous fishes exposed to L. majuscula in captivity had consumed a significantly greater quantity of prey by both total number (P/0.0019) and volume (P/0.0006) than fish exposed to sand treatments. Thus, it is likely for such fishes that L. majuscula blooms increase rates of prey encounter and consumption, with consequent changes in trophic relationships through shifts in predator-prey interactions between small benthivorous fishes and their meiofaunal prey.
Ecology not elsewhere classified