coral fish
Original Published Date: 
Friday, May 31, 2019

Full article publishe by The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies on 19 April 2019.

ARC-supported researchers have discovered some good news for fish populations living on coral reefs hit by climate change.

Renato Morais and David Bellwood from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University have studied how fish on a bleached coral reef get their food. Using high-resolution surveys and individual biomass production estimates to generate the first map of where the energy comes from for all fish on a coral reef, they have determined that for every kilogram of fish produced on the reef, more than 400 grams of that kilogram relied on food derived from the open ocean, rather than the reef itself. This rises to almost 600 grams on the side of the reef facing the open ocean.

The good news is that this means, for many reefs, food from outside can sustain fish populations, even when the coral is badly damaged.

Photo credit: 

Image: Pixabay (Public Domain).