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Title: First experimental evidence of corals feeding on seagrass matter
Authors: Lai, S.
Gillis, L.G.
Mueller, C.
Bouma, T.J.
Guest, J.R.
Last, K.S.
Ziegler, A.D.
Todd, P.A. 
Keywords: Coral heterotrophy
Habitat connectivity
Nutrient transfer
Issue Date: Dec-2013
Citation: Lai, S., Gillis, L.G., Mueller, C., Bouma, T.J., Guest, J.R., Last, K.S., Ziegler, A.D., Todd, P.A. (2013-12). First experimental evidence of corals feeding on seagrass matter. Coral Reefs 32 (4) : 1061-1064. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
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. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Source Title: Coral Reefs
ISSN: 07224028
DOI: 10.1007/s00338-013-1062-9
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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