Global tropical reef fish richness could decline by around half if corals are lost

Type Article
Date 2021-06
Language English
Author(s) Strona Giovanni1, Lafferty Kevin D.2, Fattorini Simone3, Beck Pieter S. A.4, Guilhaumon François5, 6, Arrigoni Roberto4, 7, Montano Simone8, 9, Seveso Davide8, 9, Galli Paolo8, 9, Planes Serge10, Parravicini ValerianoORCID10
Affiliation(s) 1 : Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, University of Helsinki, Finland
2 : U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center c/o Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
3 : Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Italy
4 : European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
5 : MARBEC, IRD, CNRS, University of Montpellier, Ifremer, France
6 : IRD, Saint-Denis de la Réunion, France
7 : Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms (BEOM), Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy
8 : Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DISAT), University of Milan - Bicocca, Italy
9 : MaRHE Center (Marine Research and High Education Center), Republic of Maldives
10 : PSL Research University: EPHE-UPVD-CNRS, USR 3278 CRIOBE, Université de Perpignan, France
Source Proceedings Of The Royal Society B-biological Sciences (0962-8452) (The Royal Society), 2021-06 , Vol. 288 , N. 1953 , P. 20210274 (8p.)
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2021.0274
WOS© Times Cited 1
Keyword(s) bleaching, co-extinctions, ocean warming, structural equation modelling

Reef fishes are a treasured part of marine biodiversity, and also provide needed protein for many millions of people. Although most reef fishes might survive projected increases in ocean temperatures, corals are less tolerant. A few fish species strictly depend on corals for food and shelter, suggesting that coral extinctions could lead to some secondary fish extinctions. However, secondary extinctions could extend far beyond those few coral-dependent species. Furthermore, it is yet unknown how such fish declines might vary around the world. Current coral mass mortalities led us to ask how fish communities would respond to coral loss within and across oceans. We mapped 6964 coral-reef-fish species and 119 coral genera, and then regressed reef-fish species richness against coral generic richness at the 1° scale (after controlling for biogeographic factors that drive species diversification). Consistent with small-scale studies, statistical extrapolations suggested that local fish richness across the globe would be around half its current value in a hypothetical world without coral, leading to more areas with low or intermediate fish species richness and fewer fish diversity hotspots.

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Strona Giovanni, Lafferty Kevin D., Fattorini Simone, Beck Pieter S. A., Guilhaumon François, Arrigoni Roberto, Montano Simone, Seveso Davide, Galli Paolo, Planes Serge, Parravicini Valeriano (2021). Global tropical reef fish richness could decline by around half if corals are lost. Proceedings Of The Royal Society B-biological Sciences, 288(1953), 20210274 (8p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :