This dataset contains the data associated with the following publication: Tebbett SB, Goatley CHR, Streit RP, Bellwood DR (2020) Algal turf sediments limit the spatial extent of function delivery on coral reefs. Science of the Total Environment 734: 139422 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139422
In this study we assessed the capacity of a stressor (sediments) to shape the delivery of a model function (detritivory) delivered by the surgeonfish Ctenochaetus striatus. To do this we used a multi-scale approach ranging from across the continental shelf of Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), to centimeters within a reef habitat. Firstly, we sourced data on C. striatus abundance on reef crests across the shelf of the Northern GBR and across habitats at Lizard Island on the GBR from Wismer et al. (2009). This abundance data was compared to data on algal turf sediment loads across the same spatial scales (sourced from Tebbett et al.  and Purcell ). Secondly, in the shelf position and habitat where C. striatus was most abundant we quantified the preferred feeding surface (based on behavioural observations) and subsequently examined selectivity/electivity indices. Third, on these preferred feeding surfaces we examined if C. striatus feeding 'hotspots' contained lower algal turf sediment loads than random locations within the same sites (sediments were quantified using vacuum sampling). Fourth, we quantified the spatial heterogeneity of sediments on a reef crest (using vacuum sampling) and used this to model feeding rates of C. striatus. Finally, we examined relationships between algal turf sediment loads with algal turf length, detritus mass and the proportion of detritus in the benthic particulates.
For full methodological details, please see the published manuscript (referenced above).
This data publication contains: The data used to derive C. striatus feeding selectivity. C. striatus abundance across the shelf and across habitats. Algal turf and crustose coralline algae cover across the shelf and across habitats. Sediment load data across the shelf and across habitats. Sediment load data for C. striatus feeding hotspots and random areas within the same sites. Sediment load data used to examine the spatial heterogeneity of sediments and the relationship between sediments and the nature of algal turf communities. Details of the datasets including units of measure can be found in the 'read me' file.
Purcell SW (2000) Association of epilithic algae with sediment distribution on a windward reef in the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Bull. Mar. Sci. 66:199–214.
Tebbett SB, Goatley CHR, Bellwood DR (2017) Algal turf sediments and sediment production by parrotfishes across the continental shelf of the northern Great Barrier Reef. PLoS One 12:e0170854.
Wismer S, Hoey AS, Bellwood DR (2009) Cross-shelf benthic community structure on the Great Barrier Reef: relationships between macroalgal cover and herbivore biomass. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 376:45–54.