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Globally consistent reef size spectra integrating fishes and invertebrates

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Heather, FJ, Blanchard, JL ORCID: 0000-0003-0532-4824, Edgar, GJ ORCID: 0000-0003-0833-9001, Trebilco, R ORCID: 0000-0001-9712-8016 and Stuart-Smith, RD ORCID: 0000-0002-8874-0083 2021 , 'Globally consistent reef size spectra integrating fishes and invertebrates' , Ecology Letters, vol. 24, no. 3 , pp. 572-579 , doi: 10.1111/ele.13661.

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Abstract

The frequency distribution of individual body sizes in animal communities (i.e. the size spectrum) provides powerful insights for understanding the energy flux through food webs. However, studies of size spectra in rocky and coral reef communities typically focus only on fishes or invertebrates due to taxonomic and data constraints, and consequently ignore energy pathways involving the full range of macroscopic consumer taxa. We analyse size spectra with co‐located fish and mobile macroinvertebrate data from 3369 reef sites worldwide, specifically focusing on how the addition of invertebrate data alters patterns. The inclusion of invertebrates steepens the size spectrum, more so in temperate regions, resulting in a consistent size spectrum slope across latitudes, and bringing slopes closer to theoretical expectations based on energy flow through the system. These results highlight the importance of understanding contributions of both invertebrates and fishes to reef food webs worldwide.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Heather, FJ and Blanchard, JL and Edgar, GJ and Trebilco, R and Stuart-Smith, RD
Keywords: benthic, biomass equivalence rule, coastal, community, fish, macroecology, size distribution, size spectrum, trophic pathways
Journal or Publication Title: Ecology Letters
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 1461-023X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/ele.13661
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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