Research scientists at Central Caribbean Marine Institute in Little Cayman are nearing the halfway point of a three-year study of herbivorous fish.
According to research scientist Dr. Claire Dell, the Bermuda chub has emerged as one species that plays a major role in keeping algae in check on coral reefs.
She told Cayman 27 her latest field work in the reef vegetarians study entails collecting small tissue samples from individual fish.
“What we have been doing is catching them and measuring their length and counting the number of dorsal spines, because that is how we can get an idea of what species it is, and then we have taken a small clip from their fin, which we will be able to analyze to verify species and also give information on diet,” explained Dr. Dell.
She said after taking tissue samples, these important reef grazers are returned to live their lives on the reef.