Smith Lab’s Clinton Edwards is now a proud author of the Proceedings of the Royal Society Biology!
His Master’s thesis: Global assessment of the status of coral reef herbivorous fishes: evidence for fishing effects examines the global status of herbivorous fish and how their presence affects the dynamics of the marine ecosystem.
Abstract: Coral reefs are among the most threatened ecosystems on the planet due to overfishing, pollution, warming and ocean acidification. Coral reef herbivores–the “lawn mowers” of the landscape are widely known for their importance in maintaining reef health and assisting in recovery following disturbances because they eat seaweeds that compete with fragile corals for space. We conducted the first global assessment of the status of these important fish and found that herbivore mass is reduced by > 50% in areas accessible to fishing in comparison to unfished locations. Further, we show that fishing affects the structure of the herbivore community in a way that may actually harm reefs. We recommend greater global protection of this highly important group of reef fishes.