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標題: 熱帶海草床生態系對魚類資源的生態功能
The ecological functions for coastal fish in tropical seagrass beds
作者: Chen-Lu Lee
關鍵字: 海草床;珊瑚礁魚類;草食作用;Ecopath;成長遷移;seagrass beds;coral reef fish;herbivory;Ecopath;ontogenetic niche shift
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Tropical seagrass beds are important ecosystem which serves numerous key eco-functions in coastal regions. In this study, we evaluated what eco- functions did seagrass beds provide for fish resources around Dongsha Island, a remote island on South China Sea. We found the multi-species seagrass meadow around Dongsha had high primary production. However, seagrass shoots are poor-quality food for most reef fish. Only parrotfish and some invertebrate grazers (sea urchin, isopod and nerite snail) feed seagrass as main food sources. Significant spatial and seasonal herbivory differences were found. Grazers removed seagrass biomass about 3.6 times higher in subtidal zones than in intertidal zones and 2.6 times higher in warm season than in cool season. Leaf biomass losses were positively correlated with water depth, leaf production, and starch content. We found that only less than 10% of the leaf production was consumed by grazers at Dongsha. This indicated that most seagrass production was not directly used by consumers and most seagrass production will flow into detrital pathway in system. The large amount of seagrass detritus is the main energy sources to support various consumers at Dongsha. Deposit-feeding invertebrates are important secondary producers as they recycle energy from detritus in the systems. Most consumers (especially fish) in Dongsha seagrass beds are carnivorous and these invertebrate-feeding carnivores contributed about 70% of the total fish abundance.
Seagrass provide a perfect shelter for many juvenile reef fish. Fish assemblage around Dongsha seagrass beds are highly affected by tides and habitats. The deeper water during flood tides supports more space for many fish in intertidal zones. Moreover, the subtidal zones had more abundant fish than intertidal zones because of deeper water. The complex landscapes of seagrass and coral reef mosaics also tend to high fish diversity around Dongsha. We found that high coral reef dominant habitats, especially in the mixture habitats provide higher habitat complexity for more juvenile fish than pure seagrass beds. Although coral reefs have abundant juvenile assemblages, they supply shelter mostly for small-sized coral resident species. Seagrass, on the other hand, supply shelter for more diverse habitat niche groups and large-sized species. Coral reefs have high predator and competitor densities, and may lead to lower survival rate for many juvenile fish. However some juvenile fish may select coral habitat for more prey invertebrates or fish when under a low predation risk condition. Fish from different niche have distinctly habitat usage pattern among seagrass and coral mixture gradients. These differences in habitat selection may relate to the dietary variations which different species would optimize their growth benefit and competition avoiding on the ideal habitat. The seagrass/coral mixture habitat can provides flexible habitat choices for various juveniles, leading to high diversity within fish assemblages.
We revealed Dongsha seagrass bed ecosystem is considered to be a developing, but well-structured ecosystem. High seagrass production and low cycling rate suggest that most detritus may not be reused or exported and become benthic detrital storage around Dongsha. As a result, we considered the large part of unconsumed seagrass will accumulate into benthic organic mass sink in seafloor. The high trophic level fish and large crustaceans are the main key stones at tropical seagrass beds. Their predation affects the abundance of various compartments and lead to a strong top-down control in trophic cascade. High ecotrophic transfer efficiency (11.3) in system indicates the trophic structure at Dongsha is a relative unexploted sytem comparing with other overfishing reef systems.

海草床是熱帶沿海重要的生態系,其提供許多重要的生態服務。在本研究中,我們評估東沙島周圍海草床,對魚類資源提供何種生態服務功能。我們發現,東沙周圍多種混棲地海草床提供很高的初級生產。然而,海草對於魚類而言食用價值極低。只有鸚哥魚和部分無脊椎動物 (海膽,等足類和蜑螺)以海草為主食。鸚哥魚是東沙最主要的食海草動物。在東沙,草食作用有顯著的時空差異。食草量在亞潮帶約為潮間帶的3.6倍;在溫季約為冷季的2.6倍。海草被取食的量受到水深,葉生產和澱粉含量有關。細葉且生長快速的單脈二藥草是最受草食者青睞的海草。我們發現在東沙只有不到10%的葉生產量被草食動物食用。意謂大部分海草生產沒有被消費者使用,大多海草的生產量最終將流入碎屑循環之中。大量海草碎屑是東沙食物網的主要能量來源。底棲碎屑分解的無脊椎動物是東沙重要的二次生產量,他們從碎屑回收能量至食物鏈之中。大多數魚在東沙海草床的魚類都是肉食性,以無脊椎動物為食的魚類占約70%東沙魚類的總豐度。其中甲殼類是魚類最重要的食物。
東沙海草床生態系是一個發展中,但結構完整的生態系。海草的高生產和低回收表示系統中大部分的能量是不被利用或輸出,並以碎屑沉積在東沙周圍海底。我們認為未消耗的海草有一大部分將累積在海底成為有機碳的匯存。高生態效率顯示的營養結構層級完整。高階層的肉食魚類和大型甲殼類為東沙生態系中主要的基石物種。它們的捕食產生高度的top-down control,控制系統中各層級的豐度。比較其他珊瑚礁生態系,我們發現東沙的結構完整,屬於一個相較低干擾的生態系統。
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