Professor David Bellwood from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) in Australia has published an international study aimed at protecting the most important species within a reef ecosystem. “What we often assume is that if we lose one species on a reef, there are many others that can step in and take over their job,” explains Professor Bellwood. However, he and his colleagues believe a different theory that involves stressing the importance of “specialist” species that play very important and specific roles in maintaining the equilibrium of a reef. “It’s not about numbers of species,” adds Professor David Mouillot from the University of Montpellier who led the team. “Biodiversity is important and desirable in an ecosystem, but it is not necessarily the key to being safe and secure.” Using a parrotfish for analogy Professor Bellwood adds: “The parrotfish is a particularly valuable species. To protect ecosystems, we need to ensure that specific jobs are maintained, and that means we must protect the fish that do them.” Read more here!