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Energetics of a Predator-Prey Interaction: Corals and Coral-feeding Fishes

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Title:Energetics of a Predator-Prey Interaction: Corals and Coral-feeding Fishes
Authors:Gochfeld, Deborah J.
Date Issued:Jul 1991
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Gochfeld DJ. 1991. Energetics of a predator-prey interaction: corals and coral-feeding fishes. Pac Sci 45(3): 246-256.
Abstract:Various hypotheses have been proposed to account for defense of
a feeding territory by coral-feeding fishes. However, before the adaptive
significance of feeding territories can be fully understood, energetics of the
predator/prey relationship must be quantified. Energetics of the interaction
between the coral Pocillopora meandrina and the territorial coral-feeding damselfish
Plectroglyphidodonjohnstonianus were examined to determine the minimum
energetic requirement of the predator and the effect of predation on productivity
of the prey. Coral productivity for colonies exposed (experimental) and not
exposed (control) to predation, and metabolic rates of the fish were determined.
Fish required 240 cal /day, while corals produced 0.2 1 cal/cm2/day. A typical
colony of P. meandrina did not produce enough energy to sustain a fish. Data
presented here indicate that territories of two or more colonies should provide
sufficient energy. Predation by an individual P. johnstonianus did not have a
measurable effect on coral primary productivity.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 45, Number 3, 1991

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