Climate change: underwater forest decline

Bennett, S., T. Wernberg, E. S. Harvey, J. Santana-Garcon and B. J. Saunders (2015). Tropical herbivores provide resilience to a climate-mediated phase shift on temperate reefs. Ecology Letters 18(7): 714-723.

Aim: 
Test the effects of herbivores on maintaining a canopy-free state in a tropical-temperate transition zone after a heatwave event that led to complete seaweed canopy loss
Type of Study: 
Surveys and experiments
Key Results: 
After an intense heat-wave event in 2011 that led to complete canopy loss in a tropical-temperate transition zone, turf grazing herbivorous fishes increasedin biomass and diversity, whereas canopy-browsing herbivores retained high, but unchanged, biomass levels. These observations suggest that tropical herbivores are maintaining previously kelp-dominated temperate reefs in an alternate canopy-free state bygrazing turfs and preventing kelp reestablishment.
Treatments: 
Contrasts between consumption on kelp recruits, solitary and in patches
Response: 
n/a
Models: 
ANOVA
Reviewer: 
Adriana Vergés
Locations: 
Port Gregory, Western Australia
Response variable : 
Fish species (identity, size category, abundance, biomass), consumption rates of herbivorous fishes
Replication: 
Variable
Ecosystem: 
Temperate reef
Full Reference: 
Bennett, S., T. Wernberg, E. S. Harvey, J. Santana-Garcon and B. J. Saunders (2015). Tropical herbivores provide resilience to a climate-mediated phase shift on temperate reefs. Ecology Letters 18(7): 714-723.