Herbivorous Fish Studies

July 24, 2017

Researchers have completed two phases of the Darwin Initiative-funded collaboration between CCMI, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, and the Smithsonian Institute. Following the completion of benthic habitat surveys and fish population surveys at 17 sites around all three of the Cayman Islands, researchers next tracked different species of herbivorous fishes to determine what quantity and types of algae are consumed by these herbivorous fishes over time. Early findings indicate the importance of parrotfish based upon the variety and volume of aquatic plants they consume. Algal growth is a serious concern for the overall health of reefs as algae competes with coral, so determining the most impactful herbivorous fish is essential to the overall success of reef management plans.