Fish on coral reefs can thank an unlikely source for their abundance: tiny bottom-dwelling fish no more than three centimeters long.
A new study shows that these small vertebrates perform a critical function on coral reefs that permit large reef fish to flourish.
“These fish are like candy,” says lead author Simon Brandl, a Banting postdoctoral research fellow at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. “They are tiny, colorful bundles of energy that get eaten almost immediately by any coral reef organism that can bite, grab, or slurp them up.”
In fact, bigger fish eat the vast majority of tiny fish on reefs within the first few weeks of their existence.
“We were all truly excited to see how entire reef communities were being fueled by some of the smallest vertebrates on earth—including some species that live for an average of just 65 days,” says coauthor Luke Tornabene, an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and curator of fishes at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.
So how come these fishes aren’t disappearing from reefs? An examination of the larvae of reef fishes, which normally undertake epic journeys across the open ocean to find a home, solved the mystery, researchers say. Few of them survive.
But the tiny, bottom-dwelling fish avoid this migration altogether. Most of the larvae appear to simply stay close to home.
“…these miniature fishes are more than just a conveyer belt of nutrients.”
“Tiny fish larvae absolutely dominate the larval communities near reefs,” Brandl says. “Our data shows that these fish get a lot more bang for their buck with every egg they spawn, probably because they avoid the death trap of the open ocean.”
This, in turn, supplies adult tiny fish populations with a steady stream of babies that rapidly replace each adult that eaten on the reef. In total, these fish represent almost 60 percent of all fish tissue consumed on reefs.
The researchers expect this pattern is occurring on coral reefs around the world. Additionally, because these small fish likely spend the entirety of their short lives on a specific reef, they offer a good indication of how healthy a reef environment is, Tornabene says. If the habitat starts to degrade, the fish populations will also take an almost immediate hit.
“In many ways, these miniature fishes are more than just a conveyer belt of nutrients,” Tornabene says. “If we keep a watchful eye on these tiny communities, they may serve as sentinels of the reef, warning us of big impending changes in the entire ecosystem.”
The BNP Paribas Foundation, the National Agency for Research (France), the Smithsonian Institution, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Australian Research Council funded the work, which appears in Science.
Source: University of Washington
Climate Adaptation Finance and Investment in California
by Jesse M. Keenan
This book serves as a guide for local governments and private enterprises as they navigate the unchartered waters of investing in climate change adaptation and resilience. This book serves not only as a resource guide for identifying potential funding sources but also as a roadmap for asset management and public finance processes. It highlights practical synergies between funding mechanisms, as well as the conflicts that may arise between varying interests and strategies. While the main focus of this work is on the State of California, this book offers broader insights for how states, local governments and private enterprises can take those critical first steps in investing in society’s collective adaptation to climate change. Available On Amazon
Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas: Linkages between Science, Policy and Practice
by Nadja Kabisch, Horst Korn, Jutta Stadler, Aletta Bonn
This open access book brings together research findings and experiences from science, policy and practice to highlight and debate the importance of nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation in urban areas. Emphasis is given to the potential of nature-based approaches to create multiple-benefits for society.
The expert contributions present recommendations for creating synergies between ongoing policy processes, scientific programmes and practical implementation of climate change and nature conservation measures in global urban areas. Available On Amazon
A Critical Approach to Climate Change Adaptation: Discourses, Policies and Practices
by Silja Klepp, Libertad Chavez-Rodriguez
This edited volume brings together critical research on climate change adaptation discourses, policies, and practices from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Drawing on examples from countries including Colombia, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Russia, Tanzania, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands, the chapters describe how adaptation measures are interpreted, transformed, and implemented at grassroots level and how these measures are changing or interfering with power relations, legal pluralismm and local (ecological) knowledge. As a whole, the book challenges established perspectives of climate change adaptation by taking into account issues of cultural diversity, environmental justicem and human rights, as well as feminist or intersectional approaches. This innovative approach allows for analyses of the new configurations of knowledge and power that are evolving in the name of climate change adaptation. Available On Amazon
From The Publisher:
Purchases on Amazon go to defray the cost of bringing you InnerSelf.comelf.com, MightyNatural.com, and ClimateImpactNews.com at no cost and without advertisers that track your browsing habits. Even if you click on a link but don't buy these selected products, anything else you buy in that same visit on Amazon pays us a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, so please contribute to the effort. You can also use this link to use to Amazon at any time so you can help support our efforts.