Ghilardi, Mattia ORCID:, Salter, Michael A., Parravicini, Valeriano, Ferse, Sebastian ORCID:, Rixen, Tim, Wild, Christian, Birkicht, Matthias, Perry, Chris T., Berry, Alex, Wilson, Rod W., Mouillot, David and Bejarano, Sonia (2023) Temperature, species identity and morphological traits predict carbonate excretion and mineralogy in tropical reef fishes. Nature Communications, 14 . p. 985. DOI

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Anthropogenic pressures are restructuring coral reefs globally. Sound predictions of the expected changes in key reef functions require adequate knowledge of their drivers. Here we investigate the determinants of a poorly-studied yet relevant biogeochemical function sustained by marine bony fishes: the excretion of intestinal carbonates. Compiling carbonate excretion rates and mineralogical composition from 382 individual coral reef fishes (85 species and 35 families), we identify the environmental factors and fish traits that predict them. We find that body mass and relative intestinal length (RIL) are the strongest predictors of carbonate excretion. Larger fishes and those with longer intestines excrete disproportionately less carbonate per unit mass than smaller fishes and those with shorter intestines. The mineralogical composition of excreted carbonates is highly conserved within families, but also controlled by RIL and temperature. These results fundamentally advance our understanding of the role of fishes in inorganic carbon cycling and how this contribution will change as community composition shifts under increasing anthropogenic pressures.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA2
Research affiliation: Infrastructure > Chemistry Laboratory
Science Management
Biogeochemistry and Geology > Carbon and Nutrient Cycling
Affiliations > Not ZMT
Ecology > Reef Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.:
ISSN: 2041-1723
Date Deposited: 10 May 2023 08:02
Last Modified: 10 May 2023 16:49

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