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Blackbacked butterfly fish

Reef Indicator

The blackbacked butterflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus) often feeds on soft corals. During a trip to the Farasan Banks in the Saudi Arabian waters of the Red Sea in 2009, WHOI biologist Simon Thorrold, in collaboration with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), collected several of this type of fish. Thorrold later analyzed stable carbon isotopes in amino acids of the organisms he and his colleagues collected to investigate food web dynamics on coral reefs in the Saudi Red Sea. (Photo by Simon Thorrold, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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