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Synergistic Predation, Density Dependence, and Population Regulation in Marine Fish
Mark A. Hixon and Mark H. Carr
New Series, Vol. 277, No. 5328 (Aug. 15, 1997), pp. 946-949
Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2892910
Page Count: 4
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Understanding natural causes of density dependence is essential for identifying possible sources of population regulation. Field experiments on a model system of coral reef fishes showed that small juveniles of Chromis cyanea suffer heavy mortality that is spatially density-dependent only in the presence of two suites of predators: transient piscivores attacking from above, and reef-resident piscivores attacking from below. In the absence of either kind of predator, early mortality of Chromis is virtually density-independent. Because piscivores may have regulatory roles in this and similar marine systems, overfishing these predators may have ramifications for the remainder of the exploited community.
Science © 1997 American Association for the Advancement of Science