Recent research published in the journal Nature by Peter Mumby and co-authors at the University of Exter (United Kingdom) and University of California shows that in the Caribbean, the parrotfish (see image on the left) plays a key role in preventing coral reefs from being dominated by macro-algae (Link to abstract). Following the mass mortality of sea-urchins across the Caribbean reefs in the early 1980′s due to an unknown disease, the majority of the grazing of macro-algae is conducted by the humble parrot fish (Link to Reuters article). Dr Mumby gave a fascinating seminar earlier this year at the University of Queensland entitled “Marine Protected Areas & Coral Reef Ecosystem Resilience” detailing this and other research from his team in this area:

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