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A team of scientists from Canada and Australia has discovered that a decline in shark populations is detrimental to coral reefs.
“Where shark numbers are reduced due to commercial fishing, there is also a decrease in the herbivorous fishes which play a key role in promoting reef health,” said Jonathan Ruppert, a recent University of Toronto PhD graduate. Ruppert was part of a team engaged in long-term monitoring of reefs off Australia’s northwest coast.
Team leader Mark Meekan, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), said that the results might, at first glance, seem strange.