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dc.contributor.authorGoatley, Christopher H. R.
dc.contributor.authorHoey, Andrew
dc.contributor.authorBellwood, David R.
dc.date.accessioned2014-08-27T09:46:10Z
dc.date.available2014-08-27T09:46:10Z
dc.date.issued2012-06-29
dc.identifier.citationGoatley CHR, Hoey AS, Bellwood DR (2012) The Role of Turtles as Coral Reef Macroherbivores. PLoS ONE 7: e39979. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039979.
dc.identifier.issn19326203
dc.identifier.pmid22768189
dc.identifier.doi10.1371/journal.pone.0039979
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/325306
dc.description.abstractHerbivory is widely accepted as a vital function on coral reefs. To date, the majority of studies examining herbivory in coral reef environments have focused on the roles of fishes and/or urchins, with relatively few studies considering the potential role of macroherbivores in reef processes. Here, we introduce evidence that highlights the potential role of marine turtles as herbivores on coral reefs. While conducting experimental habitat manipulations to assess the roles of herbivorous reef fishes we observed green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) showing responses that were remarkably similar to those of herbivorous fishes. Reducing the sediment load of the epilithic algal matrix on a coral reef resulted in a forty-fold increase in grazing by green turtles. Hawksbill turtles were also observed to browse transplanted thalli of the macroalga Sargassum swartzii in a coral reef environment. These responses not only show strong parallels to herbivorous reef fishes, but also highlight that marine turtles actively, and intentionally, remove algae from coral reefs. When considering the size and potential historical abundance of marine turtles we suggest that these potentially valuable herbivores may have been lost from many coral reefs before their true importance was understood. © 2012 Goatley et al.
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)
dc.rightsGoatley et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
dc.rightsArchived with thanks to PLoS ONE
dc.subjectalga
dc.subjectcoral reef
dc.subjectfish
dc.subjectgrazing
dc.subjectgreen turtle
dc.subjecthawksbill turtle
dc.subjectherbivore
dc.subjectmacroherbivore
dc.subjectmarine environment
dc.subjectSargassum
dc.subjectSargassum swartzii
dc.subjectsediment
dc.subjectspecies habitat
dc.subjectturtle
dc.subjectAustralia
dc.subjectCoral Reefs
dc.subjectGeography
dc.subjectGeologic Sediments
dc.subjectHerbivory
dc.subjectSargassum
dc.subjectSeaweed
dc.subjectTurtles
dc.subjectalgae
dc.subjectAnthozoa
dc.subjectChelonia mydas
dc.subjectCheloniidae
dc.subjectEretmochelys imbricata
dc.subjectPisces
dc.subjectSargassum swartzii
dc.subjectTestudines
dc.titleThe role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores
dc.typeArticle
dc.contributor.departmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)
dc.identifier.journalPLoS ONE
dc.identifier.pmcidPMC3386948
dc.eprint.versionPublisher's Version/PDF
dc.contributor.institutionAustralian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia
dc.contributor.affiliationKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
kaust.personHoey, Andrew
refterms.dateFOA2018-06-13T14:52:06Z


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