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Proc Biol Sci. 2006 Jan 7;273(1582):101-7.

Functional versatility supports coral reef biodiversity.

Author information

1
Department of Marine Biology, Centre for Coral Reef Biodiversity, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia. david.bellwood@jcu.edu.au

Abstract

We explore the role of specialization in supporting species coexistence in high-diversity ecosystems. Using a novel ordination-based method to quantify specialist and generalist feeding structures and diets we examined the relationship between morphology and diet in 120 wrasses and parrotfishes from the Great Barrier Reef. We find that wrasses, despite their morphological diversity, exhibit weak links between morphology and diet and that specialist morphologies do not necessarily equate to specialized diets. The dominant pattern shows extensive overlap in morphology (functional morphospace occupation) among trophic groups; fish with a given morphology may have a number of feeding modes. Such trophic versatility may lay the foundation for both the origins and maintenance of high biodiversity on coral reefs.

PMID:
16519241
PMCID:
PMC1560014
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2005.3276
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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