Australian scientists have urged greater consideration for the brilliantly hued parrot fishes that tend and renew the world’s imperilled coral reefs. In a major new study published marine biologists have investigated parrot fish populations on 18 coral island reefs from Mauritius in the west Indian Ocean to Tahiti in the central Pacific.
“Parrot fish fulfil a number of key roles on the reef. They remove sick and dead corals and clean areas for new corals to settle, they remove weedy growth, and they cart away literally tonnes of sand and sediment that would otherwise smother the corals.”
Prof David Bellwood, Dr Andrew Hoey and Prof Terry Hughes, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) and James Cook University
Proceedings of the Royal Society