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Journal Articles Royal Society Open Science Year : 2022

The war of corals: patterns, drivers and implications of changing coral competitive performances across reef environments

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Abstract

Amidst global environmental changes, predicting species' responses to future environments is a critical challenge for preserving biodiversity and associated human benefits. We explored the original idea that coral competitive performances, the ability of corals to preempt ecological space on the reef through territorial warfare, serve as indicators of species’ ecological niches and environmental windows, and therefore, responses to future environments. Our surveys indicated that coral performances varied with taxonomic identity, size and position along environmental gradients, highlighting complex interplays between life-history, warfare-strategy and niche segregation. Our results forewarn that growing alterations of coastal environments may trigger shifts in coral dominance, with the decline of major reef-building taxa like acroporids, and emphasize the importance of limiting human impacts for coastal resilience. Our empirical approach untangles the complexity of species' battle-like interactions and can help identify winners and losers in various communities caught in the interplay between ecological niches, environmental windows and global changes.

Dates and versions

hal-03880565 , version 1 (01-12-2022)

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Mohsen Kayal, Mehdi Adjeroud. The war of corals: patterns, drivers and implications of changing coral competitive performances across reef environments. Royal Society Open Science, 2022, 9 (6), ⟨10.1098/rsos.220003⟩. ⟨hal-03880565⟩
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