The use of specialisation indices to predict vulnerability of coral-feeding butterflyfishes to environmental change

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/561818
Title:
The use of specialisation indices to predict vulnerability of coral-feeding butterflyfishes to environmental change
Authors:
Lawton, Rebecca J.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Berumen, Michael L. ( 0000-0003-2463-2742 )
Abstract:
In the absence of detailed assessments of extinction risk, ecological specialisation is often used as a proxy of vulnerability to environmental disturbances and extinction risk. Numerous indices can be used to estimate specialisation; however, the utility of these different indices to predict vulnerability to future environmental change is unknown. Here we compare the performance of specialisation indices using coral-feeding butterflyfishes as a model group. Our aims were to 1) quantify the dietary preferences of three butterflyfish species across habitats with differing levels of resource availability; 2) investigate how estimates of dietary specialisation vary with the use of different specialisation indices; 3) determine which specialisation indices best inform predictions of vulnerability to environmental change; and 4) assess the utility of resource selection functions to inform predictions of vulnerability to environmental change. The relative level of dietary specialisation estimated for all three species varied when different specialisation indices were used, indicating that the choice of index can have a considerable impact upon estimates of specialisation. Specialisation indices that do not consider resource abundance may fail to distinguish species that primarily use common resources from species that actively target resources disproportionately more than they are available. Resource selection functions provided the greatest insights into the potential response of species to changes in resource availability. Examination of resource selection functions, in addition to specialisation indices, indicated that Chaetodon trifascialis was the most specialised feeder, with highly conserved dietary preferences across all sites, suggesting that this species is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate-induced coral loss on reefs. Our results indicate that vulnerability assessments based on some specialisation indices may be misleading and the best estimates of dietary specialisation will be provided by indices which incorporate resource availability measures, as well as assessing responses of species to changes in resource availability. © 2011 The Authors. Oikos © 2012 Nordic Society Oikos.
KAUST Department:
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC); Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division; Marine Science Program; Reef Ecology Lab
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell
Journal:
Oikos
Issue Date:
14-Jul-2011
DOI:
10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19409.x
Type:
Article
ISSN:
00301299
Sponsors:
We thank A. Cole, D. Coker, D. McCowan and K. Chong-Seng for assistance with field work. We also thank the Lizard Island Research Station staff for logistic support. This research was funded in part by a Queensland Government Smart State PhD Scholarship and a Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia grant to RJL and a Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship from the American Australian Association to MLB.
Appears in Collections:
Articles; Red Sea Research Center (RSRC); Marine Science Program; Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorLawton, Rebecca J.en
dc.contributor.authorPratchett, Morgan S.en
dc.contributor.authorBerumen, Michael L.en
dc.date.accessioned2015-08-03T09:31:39Zen
dc.date.available2015-08-03T09:31:39Zen
dc.date.issued2011-07-14en
dc.identifier.issn00301299en
dc.identifier.doi10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19409.xen
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/561818en
dc.description.abstractIn the absence of detailed assessments of extinction risk, ecological specialisation is often used as a proxy of vulnerability to environmental disturbances and extinction risk. Numerous indices can be used to estimate specialisation; however, the utility of these different indices to predict vulnerability to future environmental change is unknown. Here we compare the performance of specialisation indices using coral-feeding butterflyfishes as a model group. Our aims were to 1) quantify the dietary preferences of three butterflyfish species across habitats with differing levels of resource availability; 2) investigate how estimates of dietary specialisation vary with the use of different specialisation indices; 3) determine which specialisation indices best inform predictions of vulnerability to environmental change; and 4) assess the utility of resource selection functions to inform predictions of vulnerability to environmental change. The relative level of dietary specialisation estimated for all three species varied when different specialisation indices were used, indicating that the choice of index can have a considerable impact upon estimates of specialisation. Specialisation indices that do not consider resource abundance may fail to distinguish species that primarily use common resources from species that actively target resources disproportionately more than they are available. Resource selection functions provided the greatest insights into the potential response of species to changes in resource availability. Examination of resource selection functions, in addition to specialisation indices, indicated that Chaetodon trifascialis was the most specialised feeder, with highly conserved dietary preferences across all sites, suggesting that this species is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate-induced coral loss on reefs. Our results indicate that vulnerability assessments based on some specialisation indices may be misleading and the best estimates of dietary specialisation will be provided by indices which incorporate resource availability measures, as well as assessing responses of species to changes in resource availability. © 2011 The Authors. Oikos © 2012 Nordic Society Oikos.en
dc.description.sponsorshipWe thank A. Cole, D. Coker, D. McCowan and K. Chong-Seng for assistance with field work. We also thank the Lizard Island Research Station staff for logistic support. This research was funded in part by a Queensland Government Smart State PhD Scholarship and a Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia grant to RJL and a Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship from the American Australian Association to MLB.en
dc.publisherWiley-Blackwellen
dc.titleThe use of specialisation indices to predict vulnerability of coral-feeding butterflyfishes to environmental changeen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)en
dc.contributor.departmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Divisionen
dc.contributor.departmentMarine Science Programen
dc.contributor.departmentReef Ecology Laben
dc.identifier.journalOikosen
dc.contributor.institutionARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook Univ., Townsville, QLD, 4811, Australiaen
dc.contributor.institutionBiology Dept, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, United Statesen
kaust.authorBerumen, Michael L.en
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