Populations of parrotfish thrive more in contrast with other aquatic species: Study

ANI | Updated: Dec 07, 2019 20:02 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec 7 (ANI): A fresh study on corals has revealed that in comparison to other species, the populations of reef-dwelling parrotfish are dwelling more in the aquatic environment.
The findings came to the front while researchers led by Perth-based Dr Brett Taylor of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) observed the populations of fish in the bleached areas of two reefs - the Chagos Archipelago of the Indian Ocean and the Great Barrier Reef present in the western Pacific Ocean. The two sites are at a distance of 8000 kilometres from each other.
The results of the research published in the journal Global Change Biology. Bleaching is coral's stress reaction to prolonged exposure to higher sea surface temperatures.

"Warming oceans place enormous pressure on reefs and if the temperatures remain high for too long the coral will die. The more frequently this occurs there is less time for coral reefs to recover," Dr Taylor said.
In the damaged areas of the reefs, the study found that parrotfish populations increased in number by between two and eight times, and individual fish were about 20 per cent larger than those in unbleached sections.
Almost every other species of fish was in a sharp decline in the bleached areas. Parrotfish, named because of their tightly packed teeth in a beak formation, use their teeth to scrape microorganisms off coral - and their presence in large numbers on damaged reefs very likely helps the process of repair, Taylor and his colleagues suggest.
"When bleaching reduces coral cover on the reefs, it creates large areas of newly barren surfaces," Taylor said.
The fact that plump parrotfish were found in large numbers on both reefs indicates the feedback loop is an inherent part of reef ecology and not caused by local factors. (ANI)