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Type: Journal article
Title: Novel species interactions and environmental conditions reduce foraging competency at the temperate range edge of a range-extending coral reef fish
Author: Coni, E.O.C.
Booth, D.J.
Nagelkerken, I.
Citation: Coral Reefs, 2021; 40(5):1525-1536
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 0722-4028
Statement of
Ericka O. C. Coni, David J. Booth and Ivan Nagelkerken
Abstract: Poleward range extensions of coral reef species can reshuffle temperate communities by generating competitive interactions that did not exist previously. However, novel environmental conditions and locally adapted native temperate species may slow tropical invasions by reducing the ability of invaders to access local resources (e.g. food and shelter). We test this hypothesis on wild marine fish in a climate warming hotspot using a field experiment encompassing artificial prey release. We evaluated seven behaviours associated with foraging and aggressive interactions in a common range-extending coral reef fish (Abudefduf vaigiensis) and a co-shoaling temperate fish (Microcanthus strigatus) along a latitudinal temperature gradient (730 km) in SE Australia. We found that the coral reef fish had reduced foraging performance (i.e. slower prey perception, slower prey inspection, decreased prey intake, increased distance to prey) in their novel temperate range than in their subtropical range. Furthermore, higher abundance of temperate fishes was associated with increased retreat behaviour by coral reef fish (i.e. withdrawal from foraging on released prey), independent of latitude. Where their ranges overlapped, temperate fish showed higher foraging and aggression than coral reef fish. Our findings suggest that lower foraging performance of tropical fish at their leading range edge is driven by the combined effect of environmental factors (e.g. lower seawater temperature and/or unfamiliarity with novel conditions in their extended temperate ranges) and biological factors (e.g. increased abundance and larger body sizes of local temperate fishes). Whilst a future increase in ocean warming is expected to alleviate current foraging limitations in coral reef fishes at leading range edges, under current warming native temperate fishes at their trailing edges appear able to slow the range extension of coral reef fishes into temperate ecosystems by limiting their access to resources.
Keywords: Range extensions; tropical vagrants; ocean warming; behavioural interference; foraging performance; aggressive interactions; temperate reefs
Description: Published online: 15 July 2021
Rights: © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s00338-021-02150-6
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