The group of which I am a part is studying disturbance attendant feeding behaviour. There is a large amount of mutualism and commensalism in reef communities. This particular one involves species of fish (others too, but our focus is on fish community) that take advantage of the work of others to churn up potential food sources. They mostly feed on tiny meiofauna living in the sand on the benthos. As other animals move about and churn up the sand, they kick up these tiny organisms, exposing them to the predation of our subject fish.
So, we will be replicating the effects of a tusk fish, which flips rocks, and the larger sting ray, which agitates the sand whenever it settles or pushes off. Then, we will be observing the species and numbers of fish that come to capitalize on the unsettled sediment.
We have four long days of snorkeling from site to site and watching fish ahead. While I thought I would never study fish again after Stradbroke Island, I am here again. However, this time, I am not studying the behaviour of a single fish. Rather, I am studying an ecological behaviour of a series of fish species. That is better...right?
|My hideous prison for the week|
|Litter can be happy too?|
|Corinne and Mia with a gorgonian skeleton|
|The gear racks|
|wetsuits in heaven|
Wish us luck as we pursue that data.