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Planktivorous damselfish support significant nitrogen and phosphorus fluxes to Mediterranean reefs

Lookup NU author(s): John Pinnegar, Professor Nick Polunin


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In an ecosystem, which is apparently very limited in N and P, the planktivorous damselfish Chromis chromis acts as an important vector in transferring nutrients from the pelagic into littoral food webs. C. chromis are more efficient at absorbing nutrients from their diet than herbivorous Pomacentridae, and excrete more faeces in the spring when their plankton food is more abundant. Faeces released in the water column sink rapidly to the substratum and are consumed by herbivorous and omnivorous fish. Faeces released into night-shelters are rapidly consumed by invertebrate detritivores, and particularly mobile scavengers, such as shrimps and hermit crabs. Night-time accrual of Chromis faeces represents a very important flux of N and P. Such fluxes are predictable in time and space and have thus far been ignored in studies of the western Mediterranean. © Springer-Verlag 2005.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pinnegar JK, Polunin NVC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Biology

Year: 2006

Volume: 148

Issue: 5

Pages: 1089-1099

ISSN (print): 0025-3162

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1793

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00227-005-0141-z


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