The macroecology of marine cleaning mutualisms

Authors

  • SERGIO R. FLOETER,

    1. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California, Santa Barbara, 735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA;
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    • Present address: Depto de Ecologia e Zoologia, CCB, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Universitario, Trindade, Florianópolis, SC 88010-970, Brazil. E-mail: floeter@ccb.ufsc.br

  • DIEGO P. VÁZQUEZ,

    1. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California, Santa Barbara, 735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA;
    2. Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Áridas, Centro Regional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas, CC 507, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina;
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  • ALEXANDRA S. GRUTTER

    1. School of Integrative Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia
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Diego P. Vázquez, Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Áridas, Centro Regional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas, CC 507, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina. Tel.: +54 261 524 4050. Fax: +54 261 428 7370. E-mail: dvazquez@lab.cricyt.edu.ar

Summary

  • 1Marine cleaning mutualisms generally involve small fish or shrimps removing ectoparasites and other material from cooperating ‘client’ fish. We evaluate the role of fish abundance, body size and behaviour as determinants of interactions with cleaning mutualists.
  • 2Data come from eight reef locations in Brazil, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Australia.
  • 3We conducted a meta-analysis of client–cleaner interactions involving 11 cleaner and 221 client species.
  • 4There was a strong, positive effect of client abundance on cleaning frequency, but only a weak, negative effect of client body size. These effects were modulated by client trophic group and social behaviour.
  • 5This study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting a central role of species abundance in structuring species interactions.

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