Jan 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:39 AM EST

Shark Populations Matter Reef Environment: Fishes Eat Diversely Around Sharks

Apr 24, 2017 12:00 PM EDT


A new research from The University of Western Australia and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) proposes that reef fishes eat diversely when sharks are around. To avoid undesirable consideration from huge predators, these fishes may devour less vitality rich food and subsequently move toward becoming 'less fatty', prompting for an effect in the environment of the reefs. In a way, shark populations matter the reef environment.

According to Phys.org, the researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences including Dr. Shanta Barley studied fishes at a marine reserve in Australia, known as Rowley Shoals. It is known that the Indonesian fishers are responsible for significantly reducing shark populations here in the marine reserve.

The study regarding the shark populations and reef environment was published in the journal PLoS One. The study showed that the areas, where the sharks were found in fewer numbers or were uncommon, reef fishes devoured more prey from the water column, where the danger of being assaulted is more noteworthy than from the reef, which provides more shelter.

The University of Western Australia reported that as the shark populations are declining, fishes are facing less pressure from the head of the food chain resulting in fatty bodies of fishes. As per the research study, reef fishes were likewise eight to 28 percent heavier where sharks were uncommon contrasted with shark-rich reefs. This can be connected to the observed contrasts in eating routine, as fishes and different creatures that frequent the water segment are up to six times higher in vitality content than crabs and other reef spineless creatures.

As per Dr. Shanta, the important driver of behavior in animals is fear. "When the risk of being attacked is high, prey eats less, fight less, and mateless and, in general, does less. They also spend more time in the shelter." Dr. Barley said. If the shark populations are declining, then the fishes which are placed below the shark in the food chain are having less risk of being attacked, resulting in becoming a fatter fish. It is still unknown that how the shark population declining will affect the reefs environment.

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