Journal article

A nonnative habitat-former mitigates native habitat loss for endemic reef fishes

Luke T Barrett, Tim Dempster, Stephen E Swearer



Animals that select the best available habitats are most likely to succeed in degraded environments, but ecological change can create evolutionarily unfamiliar habitats that may be under- or over-utilized by native fauna. In temperate coastal waters, eutrophication and grazing have driven a global decline in native seaweeds and facilitated the establishment of nonnative seaweeds that provide novel macrophyte habitat. We tested whether a nonnative kelp canopy (wakame Undaria pinnatifida) functions as a viable habitat or ecological trap for several endemic reef fishes on urchin-grazed reefs in southern Australia. We assessed the willingness of fish to utilize native vs. wakame kelp canopy via ..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Dean Chamberlain, Seann Chia, Ben Cleveland, Emily Fobert, Molly Fredle, Akiva Gebler, Kevin Jensen, Valeriya Komyakova, Nina Kriegisch, Kevin Menzies, Jack O'Connor, Simon Reeves, Juan Manuel Valero Rodriguez, Kyler Tan, Chris Taylor, and Joao Teixiera for assistance with fieldwork. Members of the SALTT and REEF labs (UoM), Jeb Byers (University of Georgia), and Chris McKindsey (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) provided useful comments, as did two anonymous reviewers. Work was conducted in accordance with fisheries (RP919) and institutional animal ethics approvals (1413193 and 1413133). Funding was provided by the Hols-worth Wildlife Research Endowment, PADI Foundation, and Victorian Environmental Assessment Council. The authors have no competing interests to declare. L. Barrett, T. Dempster, and S. Swearer conceived and designed the study; L. Barrett collected and analyzed the data; L. Barrett led the writing of the manuscript. All authors contributed critically to the drafts and gave final approval for publication.