Reef Fishes: Diversity, Feeding, and Food Chains
This chapter discusses some of the characteristics of reef fish ecology that lead to such a wide range of forms and sizes seen in reef fish. Geographic drivers for fish diversity are examined at a range of scales, from global historical events to local-scale forces. Colour diversity in modern reef fish is examined, along with mechanisms that have developed to enhance feeding success or predation avoidance. Different ecological feeding niches of coral reef fish are described, using examples to illustrate the wide range of feeding mechanisms. Linking with feeding ecology, the food chain is examined, and the ‘inverted pyramid’ of the coral reef food chain discussed. Finally, the implications of changes in the reef community through fishing and future climate change on the food chain are examined, highlighting the cascade effect of impacts on reefs.
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