MO3 D04

Tang blue lined Zebrasoma scopa

General Information for the case study: if you would like access to this data set, please email your country office via the contact page

WRL reference M03 D04
Module M03 Animal Behaviour
Data Set D04 – Surgeonfish feeding behaviour on coral reefs
Research questions
  1. Is there a difference between the proportion of feeding time spent using the focused strategy in the two surgeonfish species Acanthurus pyroferus and Zebrasoma scopas? What does this tell us about their approach to sharing resources?
  2. How does a change in food availability between different reefs affect their use of the focus feeding strategy?
Keywords Adaptation; behaviour; interspecific competition: coral; error bars; ecosystem; niche; herbivore; human impact; sampling: selection;standard deviation;  standard error; territory
Potential Curriculum links for Biology AP Biology 1.C.1, 2.C.2, 4.A.6
AP Env Sci II Living world A-E
IB Biology 5.1, 5.2, A.4, A.6, C.2
IB Ess 4.2.7, 5.2.3
AQA 3.4.6, 3.4.7, 3.7.4, MS, AT, PS, practical 12
edexcel A – 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 5.1, B –  10.1 Maths A
OCR A –4.2.1, 6.3.1, 6.3.2 – M, PAG, HSW
SQA HOAL 1(b) (c) (d) (e)
CCEA  4.4.3
WJEC C1-5, C2 -1, C3-3, App B, Pract.req.
Summary

On a healthy coral reef, seaweed/algae growth is kept low due to lack of nutrients and the grazing behaviour of herbivores such as surgeonfish.  Different species of surgeonfish use different feeding strategies to, as far as is possible, avoid interspecific competition.  This study compares two feeding strategies (focused and diffuse feeding) for two different species of surgeonfish on two separate reefs.  The method involved a SCUBA diver observing five individual fish for 20 minutes. The results are analysed and help biologists to understand how different species are able to co-exist on a coral reef.  The study might also be used to predict how the reef community might react to environmental change due to human activities e.g. pollution.

Difficulty:
Research Q1 and Q2 – Plotting and analysis 6/10