This study tested the efficacy of bubble curtains as an exclusion device for herbivorous fishes. Specifically, it asked whether changes in transplanted seaweed biomass and fish feeding rates differ among unprotected transplants, caged transplants or transplants protected by bubble curtains. In addition, they compared bubble curtains with a benthic exclusion area of 0.785 and 3.14m2 to examine the effect of curtain size on herbivore exclusion.
Site Selection Criteria:
This study was conducted in Port Gregory in Western Australia. This site was selected because it has some of the highest browsing herbivore biomasses and feeding rates reported from either temperate or tropical reef systems.
Cause Of Decline:
In marine systems, herbivores are estimated to consume 68% of benthic primary production on average globally. Moreover, abrupt changes in herbivore abundances and over-grazing have contributed to catastrophic regime shifts from vegetated to denuded states in temperate systems. In addition to the direct effects of herbivores, many vegetated marine ecosystems such as seagrass meadows and kelp forests are in decline as a result of anthropogenic disturbances from eutrophication, climatic warming and extreme events, sediment-loading, salinity changes and invasive species.
, Vol. 4., Frontiers in Marine Sciencehttps://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2017.00302