June 2016 cover
Coral reef in the tropical pacific within the island chain of the Line Islands, Republic of Kiribati. Image by Dr. Yan Wei Lim, cover design by Karen Moore
In these pristine reefs organic nutrients provided by corals through primary production support a multitude of trophic levels and allow for high fish abundance. As non-calcifying algae take over the benthos during phase shifts these efficient nutrient recycling mechanisms get disrupted and more energy is taken up by the microbial community at the expanse of higher trophic levels.
Refers to Global microbialization of coral reefs by Haas et al.
Nature Microbiology 1, 16042 (2016)