Journal article

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

Luke T Barrett, Tim Dempster, Stephen E Swearer

Center for Open Science

Abstract

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 non‐native seaweeds that provide novel macrophyte habitat. We tested whether a non‐native 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 vi..

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