Richness of primary producers and consumer abundance mediate epiphyte loads in a tropical seagrass system

Consumer communities play an important role in maintaining ecosystem structure and function. In seagrass systems, algal regulation by mesograzers provides a critical maintenance function which promotes seagrass productivity. Consumer communities also represent a key link in trophic energy transfer and buffer negative effects to seagrasses associated with eutrophication. Such interactions have now been well documented in literature from temperate systems, however, it is not clear if the same relationships hold in tropical systems. This study aimed to identify if the invertebrate communities within a tropical, multispecies seagrass meadow moderated epiphyte abundance under natural conditions. This was done by comparing algal abundance across two sites at Green Island, Australia. At each site, paired plots were established where the invertebrate assemblages were perturbed via insecticide manipulation, and compared to un-manipulated plots. An 89% increase in epiphyte abundance was seen after six weeks of experimental invertebrate reductions within the system. Using generalized linear mixed effects models and path analysis we found that the abundance of invertebrates was negatively correlated with epiphyte load on seagrass leaves. Habitat species richness was seen to be positively correlated with invertebrate abundance. These findings mirror those of temperate systems, suggesting this mechanism operates similarly across latitudinal gradients.

The full methodology will be made available in the Open Access publication listed in the Related Publications link below.

 

    Data Record Details
    Data record related to this publication Richness of primary producers and consumer abundance mediate epiphyte loads in a tropical seagrass system
    Data Publication title Richness of primary producers and consumer abundance mediate epiphyte loads in a tropical seagrass system
  • Description

    Consumer communities play an important role in maintaining ecosystem structure and function. In seagrass systems, algal regulation by mesograzers provides a critical maintenance function which promotes seagrass productivity. Consumer communities also represent a key link in trophic energy transfer and buffer negative effects to seagrasses associated with eutrophication. Such interactions have now been well documented in literature from temperate systems, however, it is not clear if the same relationships hold in tropical systems. This study aimed to identify if the invertebrate communities within a tropical, multispecies seagrass meadow moderated epiphyte abundance under natural conditions. This was done by comparing algal abundance across two sites at Green Island, Australia. At each site, paired plots were established where the invertebrate assemblages were perturbed via insecticide manipulation, and compared to un-manipulated plots. An 89% increase in epiphyte abundance was seen after six weeks of experimental invertebrate reductions within the system. Using generalized linear mixed effects models and path analysis we found that the abundance of invertebrates was negatively correlated with epiphyte load on seagrass leaves. Habitat species richness was seen to be positively correlated with invertebrate abundance. These findings mirror those of temperate systems, suggesting this mechanism operates similarly across latitudinal gradients.

    The full methodology will be made available in the Open Access publication listed in the Related Publications link below.

     

  • Other Descriptors
    • Descriptor

      This dataset is available as a spreadsheet saved in both MS Excel (.xlsx) and Open Document (.ods) formats.

    • Descriptor type Note
  • Data type dataset
  • Keywords
    • mesograzers
  • Funding source
  • Research grant(s)/Scheme name(s)
    • -
  • Research themes
    Tropical Ecosystems, Conservation and Climate Change
    FoR Codes (*)
    • 060205 - Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
    SEO Codes
    Specify spatial or temporal setting of the data
    Temporal (time) coverage
  • Start Date 2020/11/01
  • End Date 2018/12/26
  • Time Period
    Spatial (location) coverage
  • Locations
    • Green Island region, northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
    Data Locations

    Type Location Notes
    Attachment Hoffmann_etal_2020.xlsx MS Excel (.xlsx) format
    Attachment Hoffmann_etal_2020.ods Open Document (.ods) format
    The Data Manager is: Luke Hoffmann
    College or Centre
    Access conditions Open: free access under license
  • Alternative access conditions
  • Data record size
  • Related publications
      Name Hoffmann, Luke, Edwards, Will, York, Paul H., and Rasheed, Michael A. (2020) Richness of primary producers and consumer abundance mediate epiphyte loads in a tropical seagrass system. Diversity, 12 (10). 384.
    • URL https://doi.org/10.3390/d12100384
    • Notes Open Access
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    Citation Hoffmann, Luke (2020): Richness of primary producers and consumer abundance mediate epiphyte loads in a tropical seagrass system. James Cook University. https://doi.org/10.25903/5f45d97cc5081