Research Data

Data for: McCormick MI, Fakan EP, Palacios, M. Habitat degradation and predators have independent trait-mediated effects on prey


Print this Page Print this Page
Show all sections
Data for: McCormick MI, Fakan EP, Palacios, M. Habitat degradation and predators have independent trait-mediated effects on prey
Date Record Created
Date Record Modified
Date Coverage
2017-10-01 to 2017-12-16
Time Period
(no information)
Geospatial Location
  • Lizard Island, northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  1. Type: full

    Coral reefs are degrading globally leading to a catastrophic loss of biodiversity. While shifts in the species composition of communities have been well documented associated with habitat change, the mechanisms that underlie change are often poorly understood. This study experimentally examines the effects of coral degradation on trait-mediated effects of predators on the morphology, behaviour and performance of a juvenile coral reef fish. Juvenile damselfish were exposed to predators or controls (omnivore or nothing) in seawater that had passed over either live coral or dead-degraded coral. Despite previous research predicting that the chemistry from dead-degraded coral would alter non-consumptive predator effects, there were only minor effects on the traits of juvenile damselfish relative to the impact of the presence of predator cues over the 45d experimental period. No interaction between water source and predator exposure was found. Fish exposed to degraded water had larger false eyespots relative to the size of their true eyes, which may lead to a survival advantage. They were also more active, which may increase spatial awareness and the capacity to learn the risks associated with local community members. Non-consumptive effects of predators on prey that occurred regardless of water source included longer and deeper bodies, large false eyespots that may distract predator strikes away from the vulnerable head region, and shorter latencies in their response to a simulated predator strike. Trait-mediated effects originating from the chemistry of the water from degraded coral affect morphology and performance of fish and may enhance survival in a habitat that diminishes their capacity to assess risks. This mechanism may promote greater resilience to habitat change than may otherwise be predicted.

  2. Type: note

    This dataset is available as a spreadsheet saved in both MS Excel (.xlsx) and Open Document (.ods) formats. The dataset contains two sheets: Data and Key & Variable CODES)

Related Publications
(no information)
Related Websites
(no information)
Related Data
(no information)
Related Services
(no information)
Technical metadata
(no information)
  1. Associated with: Prof Mark McCormick , , ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Marine Biology & Aquaculture
  2. Associated with: Mrs Maria Palacios Otero , , College of Science & Engineering, James Cook University
Primary Contact
Prof Mark McCormick,
(no information)
(no information)
Fields of Research
  1. 060205 - Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205)
Socio-Economic Objective
  1. 960808 - Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity (960808)
  1. coral reef fish
  2. trait-mediated predator effect
  3. fear effect
  4. predator-prey
  5. behavioural ecology
  6. ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Research Activity
(no information)
Research Themes
Tropical Ecosystems, Conservation and Climate Change
CC BY-NC: Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 AU
License - Other
(no information)
Access Rights/Conditions
Open access. If the data is not freely accessible via the link provided, please contact the nominated data manager or for assistance.
(no information)
Data Location
McCormick, M.; Palacios Otero, M. (2019): Data for: McCormick MI, Fakan EP, Palacios, M. Habitat degradation and predators have independent trait-mediated effects on prey. James Cook University. (dataset).
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):