Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Damselfish 'gardeners' selectively weed algal gardens

Date:
June 21, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
A species of damselfish, Stegastes nigricans, selectively weed the algal gardens on which they feed in order to encourage the growth of their preferred algal species of Polysiphonia and suppress the growth of less palatable algae. In a new study, researchers investigate the feeding preferences of damselfish and explore their diverse gardening systems across the Indo-West Pacific region.

This is a damselfish.
Credit: Hata et al., BMC Evolutionary Biology

A species of damselfish, Stegastes nigricans, selectively weed the algal gardens on which they feed in order to encourage the growth of their preferred algal species of Polysiphonia and suppress the growth of less palatable algae. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology investigate the feeding preferences of damselfish and explore their diverse gardening systems across the Indo-West Pacific region.

Hiroki Hata from Ehime University, Japan, worked with a team of researchers to explore this 'gardening' behavior. He said, "We surveyed 320 territories of 18 damselfish species and thoroughly examined algae from each fish territory from coral reefs in Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, the Maldives, Thailand, Borneo, the Okinawa Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef. We found that although the crop alga species shifted in the West Indian Ocean, the intensive farming by damselfish was seen throughout this geographic range."

The damselfish do not have any organs to allow them to grind cellulose fibers, and lack the digestive enzymes required to digest many algal species. The most common algae they can eat, the red alga Polysiphonia, are less competitive than the inedible species and so the damselfish help them out by killing off their rivals. This 'gardening' behavior results in a mutualistic association between Polysiphonia and this particular species of damselfish and it is notable for being one of the first examples of mutualism to be found in a non-terrestrial habitat.

Speaking about the results, Hata said, "Obligate reciprocal interaction between marine algae and herbivorous damselfish, called 'cultivation mutualism' was found to be largely maintained in the Indo-West Pacific."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hiroki Hata, Katsutoshi Watanabe and Makoto Kato. Geographic variation in the damselfish-red alga cultivation mutualism in the Indo-West Pacific. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2010; (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Damselfish 'gardeners' selectively weed algal gardens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617194322.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, June 21). Damselfish 'gardeners' selectively weed algal gardens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617194322.htm
BioMed Central. "Damselfish 'gardeners' selectively weed algal gardens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100617194322.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins