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The Biology of Coral Reefs$
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Charles R. C. Sheppard, Simon K. Davy, and Graham M. Pilling

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566359.001.0001

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Reef Fishes: Diversity, Feeding, and Food Chains

Reef Fishes: Diversity, Feeding, and Food Chains

Chapter:
(p.161) 6 Reef Fishes: Diversity, Feeding, and Food Chains
Source:
The Biology of Coral Reefs
Author(s):

Charles R. C. Sheppard

Simon K. Davy

Graham M. Pilling

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566359.003.0006

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.

Keywords:   diversity, ecology, feeding, trophic interactions, food chain, morphology, fish

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