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Grazing snails rule the waves
Date:5/31/2012

om a selected area. When we return a few weeks later, the rocks are covered in green seaweed."

Of particular interest to ecologists is the team's finding that the global data set rejects the long-standing idea that herbivores in the sea and on land have stronger impacts on plants in the tropics.

"For decades, ecologists have believed that biological interactions like predation or herbivory are more intense in the tropics compared to temperate areas," says Poore. "But we found no evidence of stronger herbivory close to the equator, nor increased herbivore impacts with increased temperature. Despite expectations, grazing on coral reefs did not have larger impacts than in several other marine habitats."

The study also found that in some ways, marine plants are winning the long evolutionary battle with their herbivores. Some groups of seaweeds and seagrasses can avoid herbivore damage with the help of chemical or physical defences or because they are poor quality food.


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Contact: Bob Beale
bbeale@unsw.edu.au
University of New South Wales
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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