MEPS 133:303-306 (1996)  -  doi:10.3354/meps133303

Long-term changes on coral reefs in booming populations of a competitive colonial ascidian

Bak RPM, Lambrechts DYM, Joenje M, Nieuwland G, Van Veghel MLJ

A long-term study of the common coral reef spatial competitor Trididemnum solidum (van Name), a benthic colonial ascidian, showed a 900% increase in densities along the 84 km of fringing reef in Curaçao over 15 yr. The pattern of distribution along the coast did not change significantly and showed long-term effects of philopatry. This pattern relates to limited dispersal potential and the impact of the clonal ecological strategy of this modular organism. All hard reef substrata were overgrown but between 1978 and 1993 there was a significant increase in the number of ascidian colonies overgrowing dominant scleractinian corals such as Montastrea annularis.

Coral reef . Ascidian . Competition . Long-term change

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