Parrotfishes Thriving on Dead Corals

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Researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) presented a new study that showed a significant rise in the population of parrotfish in areas with severe coral bleaching. Coral reefs are an important source of survival for fishes as they provide them with food and shelter. However, when coral reefs are exposed to warm waters, they lose their colour (called bleaching) and die. This can lead to a decline in fish populations that are dependent on the coral reefs. However, the study found that the population of parrotfish increased between two and eight times in areas around dead coral patches. The study also showed that some parrotfishes were 20% larger than those found near unbleached section of the reefs. Researchers claim that parrotfish feed and thrive on the microalgae and cyanobacteria found on the surface of dead corals, which in turn leads to the recovery of the dead coral patches.

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