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Not all seaweed-eating fish are created equal. Reef fish near the islands of Fiji eat seaweed that is toxic to coral, helping maintain a healthy reef system. But some species of fish limit their grazing to only one type of seaweed. Herbivorous fish diversity is the coral’s best insurance for keeping different varieties of harmful algae in check.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History.

RELATED LINKS

Ecological Society of America: Consumer diversity interacts with prey defenses to drive ecosystem function
esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/12-0389.1

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
coralcoe.org.au/

International Union for Conservation of Nature: Monitoring Functional Groups of Herbivorous Reef Fishes as Indicators of Coral Reef Resilience
cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/resilience_herbivorous_monitoring.pdf

Wildlife Conservation Society: Fiji’s Waters
wcs.org/where-we-work/oceans/coral-triangle/fiji.aspx

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute: Impacts of Macroalgae on Ecosystems
whoi.edu/redtide/impacts/ecosystems/macroalgae

World Wildlife Fund, South Pacific: The Great Sea Reef
wwfpacific.org.fj/what_we_do/freshwater/the_great_sea_reef/

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
coralreef.noaa.gov/threats/fishing/

Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area
facebook.com/KHFMA

AMNH: Milstein Hall of Ocean Life
amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/biodiversity-and-environmental-halls/milstein-hall-of-ocean-life

Reef Resilience: Herbivory
reefresilience.org/Toolkit_Coral/C3a1_Herbivory.html

j vimeo.com/65238057

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