The genus Tubastraea, with natural occurrence in the Pacific Ocean, was reported for the first time in Brazil along the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Since then it has also been reported in other sites along the south and southeast Brazilian coasts in oil platforms and rocky shores. We describe for the first time the occurrence of Tubastraea tagusensis and T. coccinea in the Northeastern coast of Brazil. The corals were found in the state of Bahia, sitting on shipwrecks, marina jetties as well as occupying space on a coral reef.
The interactive effects of ocean warming and invasive species are complex and remain a source of uncertainty for projecting future ecological change. Climate-mediated change to trophic interactions can have pervasive ecological consequences, but the role of invasion in mediating trophic effects is largely unstudied. Using manipulative experiments in replicated outdoor mesocosms, we reveal how near-future ocean warming and macrophyte invasion scenarios interactively impact gastropod grazing intensity and preference for consumption of foundation macroalgae (
). Elevated water temperature increased the consumption of both macroalgae through greater grazing intensity. Given the documented decline of kelp (
) growth at higher water temperatures, enhanced grazing could contribute to the shift from kelp-dominated to
-dominated reefs that is occurring at the low-latitude margins of kelp distribution. However, the presence of a native invader (
) was related to low consumption by the herbivores on dominant kelp at warmer temperatures. Thus, antagonistic effects between climate change and a range expanding species can favour kelp persistence in a warmer future. Introduction of species should, therefore, not automatically be considered unfavourable under climate change scenarios. Climatic changes are increasing the need for effective management actions to address the interactive effects of multiple stressors and their ecological consequences, rather than single threats in isolation.
Predator-prey dynamics can affect assemblage structure and ecosystem processes representing a central theory in ecology. In coral reef ecosystems, recent evidences have suggested that sponge assemblages in regions with high diversity, like the Caribbean, are controlled by reef fishes (i.e., top-down control); however, this has been poorly studied in low diversity coral reefs. This study investigated the influence of fish predators on sponge assemblage structure in South Atlantic coral reefs, systems with high endemism and relatively low hermatypic coral diversity. We investigates (i) whether sponge cover is negatively correlated to spongivorous fish density, (ii) potential spongivory effects on competitive interactions between sponges and hermatypic corals, and (iii) foraging preferences of spongivorous fishes. Benthic cover and spongivorous fish density were assessed by photo sampling and visual census, respectively. We did not observe a negative correlation of the total density of spongivorous fish with total sponge cover. However, a significant negative correlation between density of fish species Pomacanthus arcuatus and cover of sponge species Scopalina ruetzleri was found. Spongivorous fish consumed preferentially the sponges Desmapsamma anchorata, Niphates erecta, Aplysina cauliformis, and S. ruetzleri, the first two species considered palatable and the second two with chemically defense mechanism. An increase to angelfish density was not related with the number of coral-sponge encounters. Thus, the effects of spongivorous fishes on sponges cover and competitive interactions with hermatypic corals is weaker in Southwestern Atlantic than previously reported in Caribbean coral reefs. We discuss how local human impacts (e.g., fishing and nutrients input) can influence the observed patterns.
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