Moorea: The Coral Reef Community

How does each of these living things play a role in a community?


This series is part of the first comprehensive inventory of a complex tropical coral reef using DNA barcoding. Central to the success of this ecosystem is the symbiotic relationships between the different organisms of this community. The stony coral (Pocillopora) provides fatty secretions, which is food for the Guard-Crabs (Trapezia, Tetralia). In return, the crabs protect the coral from predators like the Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster). Fish, depending on the species, can be predators or protectors of the ecosystem. Gobies (Paragobiodon) feed on the coral while Damselfish (Plectroglyphidodon) are fierce protectors of it. Researchers are still studying the roles of various residents in this ecosystem.