[Coral-List] Tunicate-killing coral spreading all acrossCaribbeanregion
Tupper, Mark (WorldFish)
M.Tupper at CGIAR.ORG
Thu Jan 17 09:04:43 EST 2008
Dear Tom and Alina,
Angelfishes (Pomacanthidae) regularly feed on tunicates and ascidians,
as well as sponges that are unpalatable to most fishes. However, I'm not
sure how selective they are with regard to tunicate species and I have
no idea whether or not they feed on T. solidum.
Dr. Mark Tupper
Scientist - Coral Reefs
The WorldFish Center
PO Box 500 GPO, 10670 Penang, Malaysia
Tel (+6-04) 626-1606; Fax (+6-04) 626-5530
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Thomas
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 6:56 AM
To: Szmant, Alina
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Tunicate-killing coral spreading all
This is a very interesting idea, but what could eat them, and why
don't we see signs of them being chewed in the field?
In fact I've not seen any tunicate anywhere being chewed, even in
Indonesia with the highest diversity of tunicates and fish in the
world, where you would expect some predator would have evolved a way
to exploit and abundant food resource. I hope someone can prove me
wrong, because we need a lot more of such a predator.......
Tunicates seem to be very toxic, even the ones that are soft and seem
to have no protection at all are not eaten. Some tunicates are known
to have very high Vanadium contents, but nobody seems to know how
general this is, or at least I don't.
Also, why would the worst infestations I've seen be in the Washington
Slaagbai Park in Bonaire, which is about the most really strictly
protected and local pollution free place in the entire Caribbean?
And since they are photosynthetic, they need full light exposure. You
can clearly see they grow best on the top surfaces of corals so they
don't make a good cryptic organism.
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