Invasive rabbitfish team up to raze algal forests

Voracious tropical fish are working together to strip the Mediterranean seafloor of its algae forests. As climate change heats the sea basin, two rabbitfish species have invaded warming temperate waters to chomp both the adult and juvenile forms of algae, decimating the population, reports a study September 23 in the Journal of Ecology.

“It’s really quite eerie to dive in these areas where rabbitfish are abundant, because there’s just not that much in terms of the seascape,” says lead author Adriana Vergés, a marine ecologist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. “They’re able to completely overgraze. What they’re doing when they get to these new areas has cascading impacts on the entire community.”

 

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