WITHOUT PARROTFISH, CORAL REEFS WILL WITHER AND DIE

2022-01-01T08:00:00.0000000Z

2022-01-01T08:00:00.0000000Z

Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp

https://manilabulletin.pressreader.com/article/282587381332645

THE WILD SIDE

This might be so if Parrotfish dined purely on fast-growing hair algae, but as above, they mostly target cyanobacteria growing on reef surfaces. Many other grazers do a better job at keeping visible algae from choking off Coral reefs – like Rabbitfish, Damselfish and most especially Surgeonfish, something I investigated in the Tubbataha Reefs in 2013. A 2015 study by Dr. Angel Alcala and other scientists found no significant correlation between the presence of Parrotfish, hard Coral cover, and algae. It was instead found that more Parrotfish were recorded in areas with less hard Coral cover. I can attest to this, for diving in Laiya in Batangas in the early 2000s, I saw the most Parrotfish in rubble areas devastated by storms, not in healthy reef areas. “A recent review of studies around the globe concluded that there’s almost no empirical support for the idea that protecting Parrotfish prevents Coral reef decline,” adds Dr. Abesamis. “These notions can distract us from addressing the true drivers of Coral reef decline, such as siltation, pollution, destructive fishing practices and climate change.”

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