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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 422 - Feature article
Bloom of Ulva sp. on a shallow water reef in Hawaii; germination of Ulva spores is inhibited by crustose coralline algae in a laboratory setting.
Image: Mark Vermeij

Vermeij MJA, Dailer ML, Smith CM


Crustose coralline algae can suppress macroalgal growth and recruitment on Hawaiian coral reefs


Competition between corals and neighbouring algae has been extensively investigated. Vermeij and co-authors looked at competition between two major algal groups on Hawaiian reefs and found that a group of calcifying red algae (crustose coralline algae or CCA) suppressed the growth and reproduction of co-occurring macroalgae. Because CCA also promote settlement and metamorphosis in coral larvae, CCA are a keystone functional group simultaneously affecting the abundance of corals and macroalgae in a positive and negative manner, respectively.


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