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Stable isotope dynamics of herbivorous reef fishes and their ectoparasites: 2012, 2013, 2018

November 20, 2020

Acanthurid surgeonfishes are an abundant and diverse group of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs. While their contribution to trophic linkages and dynamics in coral reef systems has received considerable attention, the role of linkages involving their parasites has not. As both consumers of fish tissue and prey to microcarnivores, external parasites can play a significant role in trophic transfer between the primarily algae-based food source and the broader coral reef community. Stable isotope analysis is a common tool for studying trophic linkages, which can be used for studies involving parasites. These data were collected to examine the stable isotope ecology (13C and 15N) of copepod (Caligus atromaculatus) and monogenean (Neobenedenia sp.) ectoparasites collected from two species of Caribbean acanthurids (Acanthurus coeruleus and Acanthurus bahianus).