Fish schools: an asset to corals

Science
J L MeyerG S Helfman

Abstract

Schools of juvenile haemulid fish feed in sea grass beds at night. By day they rest over coral heads, where they excrete substantial quantities of ammonium and particulate nitrogen and phosphorus into the nutrient-poor waters. The percentages of these nutrients contributed by the fish were comparable to those from other sources. Coral heads with resident fish schools grew faster than those without resident schools, indicating that fish may be more beneficial to the corals than has been assumed.

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