Morgan S Pratchett

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Many coral reefs worldwide have undergone phase shifts to alternate, degraded assemblages because of the combined effects of over-fishing, declining water quality, and the direct and indirect impacts of climate change. Here, we experimentally manipulated the density of large herbivorous fishes to test their influence on the resilience of coral assemblages(More)
The persistence of most coastal marine species depends on larvae finding suitable adult habitat at the end of an offshore dispersive stage that can last weeks or months. We tested the effects that ocean acidification from elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO(2)) could have on the ability of larvae to detect olfactory cues from adult habitats.(More)
Coral reef recovery from major disturbance is hypothesized to depend on the arrival of propagules from nearby undisturbed reefs. Therefore, reefs isolated by distance or current patterns are thought to be highly vulnerable to catastrophic disturbance. We found that on an isolated reef system in north Western Australia, coral cover increased from 9% to 44%(More)
Of the 5000 fish species on coral reefs, corals dominate the diet of just 41 species. Most (61%) belong to a single family, the butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae). We examine the evolutionary origins of chaetodontid corallivory using a new molecular phylogeny incorporating all 11 genera. A 1759-bp sequence of nuclear (S7I1 and ETS2) and mitochondrial(More)
Disturbances have a critical effect on the structure of natural communities. In this study long-term changes were examined in the reef community at Tiahura Reef, on the northern coast of Moorea, which had been subject to many and varied disturbances over the last 25 years. Tiahura Reef was subject to an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster(More)
Despite their significant influence on coral reef ecosystems, causes of population outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci L.) are still poorly understood. Essentially, outbreaks of A. planci could arise from either (1) a single mass recruitment event or (2) the progressive accumulation of starfish from multiple cohorts. This study(More)
Difficulties in scaling up theoretical and experimental results have raised controversy over the consequences of biodiversity loss for the functioning of natural ecosystems. Using a global survey of reef fish assemblages, we show that in contrast to previous theoretical and experimental studies, ecosystem functioning (as measured by standing biomass) scales(More)
Coral bleaching is a significant and increasingly prevalent source of coral mortality, representing one of the most severe and widespread disturbances affecting coral reef ecosystems (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999; Pockley 2000). In the last few years (mostly since 1998), major episodes of coral bleaching have occurred on many coral reefs throughout the world,(More)
Population outbreaks of crown-of-thorns sea star (Acanthaster planci L.) remain one of the most significant biological disturbances on tropical coral reefs although the increasing attention given to other threats has greatly limited recent progress in understanding the cause and consequences of this phenomenon. In September 2005 dramatic increases in the(More)
Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic and climate-induced stressors. The ability of reefs to reassemble and regenerate after disturbances (i.e., resilience) is largely dependent on the capacity of herbivores to prevent macroalgal expansion, and the replenishment of coral populations through larval recruitment. Currently there is a(More)