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Sample records for reef benthic communities

  1. Benthic community composition on submerged reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, T. E.; Moloney, J. M.; Sweatman, H. P. A.; Bridge, T. C. L.

    2015-06-01

    Community dynamics on coral reefs are often examined only in relatively shallow waters, which are most vulnerable to many disturbances. The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) includes extensive submerged reefs that do not approach sea level and are within depths that support many coral reef taxa that also occur in shallow water. However, the composition of benthic communities on submerged reefs in the GBRWHA is virtually unknown. We examined spatial patterns in benthic community composition on 13 submerged reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR) at depths of 10-30 m. We show that benthic communities on submerged reefs include similar species groups to those on neighbouring emergent reefs. The spatial distribution of species groups was well explained by depth and cross-shelf gradients that are well-known determinants of community composition on emergent reefs. Many equivalent species groups occurred at greater depths on submerged reefs, likely due to variability in the hydrodynamic environment among reef morphologies. Hard coral cover and species richness were lowest at the shallowest depth (6 m) on emergent reefs and were consistently higher on submerged reefs for any given depth. These results suggest that disturbances are less frequent on submerged reefs, but evidence that a severe tropical cyclone in 2011 caused significant damage to shallow regions of more exposed submerged reefs demonstrates that they are not immune. Our results confirm that submerged reefs in the central GBR support extensive and diverse coral assemblages that deserve greater attention in ecosystem assessments and management decisions.

  2. Fish-derived nutrient hotspots shape coral reef benthic communities.

    PubMed

    Shantz, Andrew A; Ladd, Mark C; Schrack, Elizabeth; Burkepile, Deron E

    2015-12-01

    Animal-derived nutrients play an important role in structuring nutrient regimes within and between ecosystems. When animals undergo repetitive, aggregating behavior through time, they can create nutrient hotspots where rates of biogeochemical activity are higher than those found in the surrounding environment. In turn, these hotspots can influence ecosystem processes and community structure. We examined the potential for reef fishes from the family Haemulidae (grunts) to create nutrient hotspots and the potential impact of these hotspots on reef communities. To do so, we tracked the schooling locations of diurnally migrating grunts, which shelter at reef sites during the day but forage off reef each night, and measured the impact of these fish schools on benthic communities. We found that grunt schools showed a high degree of site fidelity, repeatedly returning to the same coral heads. These aggregations created nutrient hotspots around coral heads where nitrogen and phosphorus delivery was roughly 10 and 7 times the respective rates of delivery to structurally similar sites that lacked schools of these fishes. In turn, grazing rates of herbivorous fishes at grunt-derived hotspots were approximately 3 times those of sites where grunts were rare. These differences in nutrient delivery and grazing led to distinct benthic communities with higher cover of crustose coralline algae and less total algal abundance at grunt aggregation sites. Importantly, coral growth was roughly 1.5 times greater at grunt hotspots, likely due to the important nutrient subsidy. Our results suggest that schooling reef fish and their nutrient subsidies play an important role in mediating community structure on coral reefs and that overfishing may have important negative consequences on ecosystem functions. As such, management strategies must consider mesopredatory fishes in addition to current protection often offered to herbivores and top-tier predators. Furthermore, our results suggest that

  3. Measuring coral reef community metabolism using new benthic chamber technology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Yates, K.K.; Halley, R.B.

    2003-01-01

    Accurate measurement of coral reef community metabolism is a necessity for process monitoring and in situ experimentation on coral reef health. Traditional methodologies used for these measurements are effective but limited by location and scale constraints. We present field trial results for a new benthic chamber system called the Submersible Habitat for Analyzing Reef Quality (SHARQ). This large, portable incubation system enables in situ measurement and experimentation on community- scale metabolism. Rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification were measured using the SHARQ for a variety of coral reef substrate types on the reef flat of South Molokai, Hawaii, and in Biscayne National Park, Florida. Values for daily gross production, 24-h respiration, and net calcification ranged from 0.26 to 6.45 g O2 m-2 day-1, 1.96 to 8.10 g O2 m-2 24 h-1, and 0.02 to 2.0 g CaCO3 m -2 day-1, respectively, for all substrate types. Field trials indicate that the SHARQ incubation chamber is an effective tool for in situ isolation of a water mass over a variety of benthic substrate types for process monitoring, experimentation, and other applications.

  4. 27 years of benthic and coral community dynamics on turbid, highly urbanised reefs off Singapore

    PubMed Central

    Guest, J. R.; Tun, K.; Low, J.; Vergés, A.; Marzinelli, E. M.; Campbell, A. H.; Bauman, A. G.; Feary, D. A.; Chou, L. M.; Steinberg, P. D.

    2016-01-01

    Coral cover on reefs is declining globally due to coastal development, overfishing and climate change. Reefs isolated from direct human influence can recover from natural acute disturbances, but little is known about long term recovery of reefs experiencing chronic human disturbances. Here we investigate responses to acute bleaching disturbances on turbid reefs off Singapore, at two depths over a period of 27 years. Coral cover declined and there were marked changes in coral and benthic community structure during the first decade of monitoring at both depths. At shallower reef crest sites (3–4 m), benthic community structure recovered towards pre-disturbance states within a decade. In contrast, there was a net decline in coral cover and continuing shifts in community structure at deeper reef slope sites (6–7 m). There was no evidence of phase shifts to macroalgal dominance but coral habitats at deeper sites were replaced by unstable substrata such as fine sediments and rubble. The persistence of coral dominance at chronically disturbed shallow sites is likely due to an abundance of coral taxa which are tolerant to environmental stress. In addition, high turbidity may interact antagonistically with other disturbances to reduce the impact of thermal stress and limit macroalgal growth rates. PMID:27824083

  5. 27 years of benthic and coral community dynamics on turbid, highly urbanised reefs off Singapore.

    PubMed

    Guest, J R; Tun, K; Low, J; Vergés, A; Marzinelli, E M; Campbell, A H; Bauman, A G; Feary, D A; Chou, L M; Steinberg, P D

    2016-11-08

    Coral cover on reefs is declining globally due to coastal development, overfishing and climate change. Reefs isolated from direct human influence can recover from natural acute disturbances, but little is known about long term recovery of reefs experiencing chronic human disturbances. Here we investigate responses to acute bleaching disturbances on turbid reefs off Singapore, at two depths over a period of 27 years. Coral cover declined and there were marked changes in coral and benthic community structure during the first decade of monitoring at both depths. At shallower reef crest sites (3-4 m), benthic community structure recovered towards pre-disturbance states within a decade. In contrast, there was a net decline in coral cover and continuing shifts in community structure at deeper reef slope sites (6-7 m). There was no evidence of phase shifts to macroalgal dominance but coral habitats at deeper sites were replaced by unstable substrata such as fine sediments and rubble. The persistence of coral dominance at chronically disturbed shallow sites is likely due to an abundance of coral taxa which are tolerant to environmental stress. In addition, high turbidity may interact antagonistically with other disturbances to reduce the impact of thermal stress and limit macroalgal growth rates.

  6. Differential modification of seawater carbonate chemistry by major coral reef benthic communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Page, Heather N.; Andersson, Andreas J.; Jokiel, Paul L.; Rodgers, Ku'ulei S.; Lebrato, Mario; Yeakel, Kiley; Davidson, Charlie; D'Angelo, Sydney; Bahr, Keisha D.

    2016-12-01

    Ocean acidification (OA) resulting from uptake of anthropogenic CO2 may negatively affect coral reefs by causing decreased rates of biogenic calcification and increased rates of CaCO3 dissolution and bioerosion. However, in addition to the gradual decrease in seawater pH and Ω a resulting from anthropogenic activities, seawater carbonate chemistry in these coastal ecosystems is also strongly influenced by the benthic metabolism which can either exacerbate or alleviate OA through net community calcification (NCC = calcification - CaCO3 dissolution) and net community organic carbon production (NCP = primary production - respiration). Therefore, to project OA on coral reefs, it is necessary to understand how different benthic communities modify the reef seawater carbonate chemistry. In this study, we used flow-through mesocosms to investigate the modification of seawater carbonate chemistry by benthic metabolism of five distinct reef communities [carbonate sand, crustose coralline algae (CCA), corals, fleshy algae, and a mixed community] under ambient and acidified conditions during summer and winter. The results showed that different communities had distinct influences on carbonate chemistry related to the relative importance of NCC and NCP. Sand, CCA, and corals exerted relatively small influences on seawater pH and Ω a over diel cycles due to closely balanced NCC and NCP rates, whereas fleshy algae and mixed communities strongly elevated daytime pH and Ω a due to high NCP rates. Interestingly, the influence on seawater pH at night was relatively small and quite similar across communities. NCC and NCP rates were not significantly affected by short-term acidification, but larger diel variability in pH was observed due to decreased seawater buffering capacity. Except for corals, increased net dissolution was observed at night for all communities under OA, partially buffering against nighttime acidification. Thus, algal-dominated areas of coral reefs and increased

  7. Benthic communities at two remote Pacific coral reefs: effects of reef habitat, depth, and wave energy gradients on spatial patterns.

    PubMed

    Williams, Gareth J; Smith, Jennifer E; Conklin, Eric J; Gove, Jamison M; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A

    2013-01-01

    Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll in the central Pacific are among the most remote coral reefs on the planet. Here we describe spatial patterns in their benthic communities across reef habitats and depths, and consider these in the context of oceanographic gradients. Benthic communities at both locations were dominated by calcifying organisms (54-86% cover), namely hard corals (20-74%) and crustose coralline algae (CCA) (10-36%). While turf algae were relatively common at both locations (8-22%), larger fleshy macroalgae were virtually absent at Kingman (<1%) and rare at Palmyra (0.7-9.3%). Hard coral cover was higher, but with low diversity, in more sheltered habitats such as Palmyra's backreef and Kingman's patch reefs. Almost exclusive dominance by slow-growing Porites on Kingman's patch reefs provides indirect evidence of competitive exclusion, probably late in a successional sequence. In contrast, the more exposed forereef habitats at both Kingman and Palmyra had higher coral diversity and were characterized by fast-growing corals (e.g., Acropora and Pocillopora), indicative of more dynamic environments. In general at both locations, soft coral cover increased with depth, likely reflecting increasingly efficient heterotrophic abilities. CCA and fleshy macroalgae cover decreased with depth, likely due to reduced light. Cover of other calcified macroalgae, predominantly Halimeda, increased with depth. This likely reflects the ability of many calcifying macroalgae to efficiently harvest light at deeper depths, in combination with an increased nutrient supply from upwelling promoting growth. At Palmyra, patterns of hard coral cover with depth were inconsistent, but cover peaked at mid-depths at Kingman. On Kingman's forereef, benthic community composition was strongly related to wave energy, with hard coral cover decreasing and becoming more spatially clustered with increased wave energy, likely as a result of physical damage leading to patches of coral in localized

  8. Benthic communities at two remote Pacific coral reefs: effects of reef habitat, depth, and wave energy gradients on spatial patterns

    PubMed Central

    Conklin, Eric J.; Gove, Jamison M.; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A.

    2013-01-01

    Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll in the central Pacific are among the most remote coral reefs on the planet. Here we describe spatial patterns in their benthic communities across reef habitats and depths, and consider these in the context of oceanographic gradients. Benthic communities at both locations were dominated by calcifying organisms (54–86% cover), namely hard corals (20–74%) and crustose coralline algae (CCA) (10–36%). While turf algae were relatively common at both locations (8–22%), larger fleshy macroalgae were virtually absent at Kingman (<1%) and rare at Palmyra (0.7–9.3%). Hard coral cover was higher, but with low diversity, in more sheltered habitats such as Palmyra’s backreef and Kingman’s patch reefs. Almost exclusive dominance by slow-growing Porites on Kingman’s patch reefs provides indirect evidence of competitive exclusion, probably late in a successional sequence. In contrast, the more exposed forereef habitats at both Kingman and Palmyra had higher coral diversity and were characterized by fast-growing corals (e.g., Acropora and Pocillopora), indicative of more dynamic environments. In general at both locations, soft coral cover increased with depth, likely reflecting increasingly efficient heterotrophic abilities. CCA and fleshy macroalgae cover decreased with depth, likely due to reduced light. Cover of other calcified macroalgae, predominantly Halimeda, increased with depth. This likely reflects the ability of many calcifying macroalgae to efficiently harvest light at deeper depths, in combination with an increased nutrient supply from upwelling promoting growth. At Palmyra, patterns of hard coral cover with depth were inconsistent, but cover peaked at mid-depths at Kingman. On Kingman’s forereef, benthic community composition was strongly related to wave energy, with hard coral cover decreasing and becoming more spatially clustered with increased wave energy, likely as a result of physical damage leading to patches of

  9. Incorporating benthic community changes into hydrochemical-based projections of coral reef calcium carbonate production under ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shaw, Emily C.; Hamylton, Sarah M.; Phinn, Stuart R.

    2016-06-01

    The existence of coral reefs is dependent on the production and maintenance of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) framework that is produced through calcification. The net production of CaCO3 will likely decline in the future, from both declining net calcification rates (decreasing calcification and increasing dissolution) and shifts in benthic community composition from calcifying organisms to non-calcifying organisms. Here, we present a framework for hydrochemical studies that allows both declining net calcification rates and changes in benthic community composition to be incorporated into projections of coral reef CaCO3 production. The framework involves upscaling net calcification rates for each benthic community type using mapped proportional cover of the benthic communities. This upscaling process was applied to the reef flats at One Tree and Lady Elliot reefs (Great Barrier Reef) and Shiraho Reef (Okinawa), and compared to existing data. Future CaCO3 budgets were projected for Lady Elliot Reef, predicting a decline of 53 % from the present value by end-century (800 ppm CO2) without any changes to benthic community composition. A further 5.7 % decline in net CaCO3 production is expected for each 10 % decline in calcifier cover, and net dissolution is predicted by end-century if calcifier cover drops below 18 % of the present extent. These results show the combined negative effect of both declining net calcification rates and changing benthic community composition on reefs and the importance of considering both processes for determining future reef CaCO3 production.

  10. Diel variability in seawater pH relates to calcification and benthic community structure on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Price, Nichole N; Martz, Todd R; Brainard, Russell E; Smith, Jennifer E

    2012-01-01

    Community structure and assembly are determined in part by environmental heterogeneity. While reef-building corals respond negatively to warming (i.e. bleaching events) and ocean acidification (OA), the extent of present-day natural variability in pH on shallow reefs and ecological consequences for benthic assemblages is unknown. We documented high resolution temporal patterns in temperature and pH from three reefs in the central Pacific and examined how these data relate to community development and net accretion rates of early successional benthic organisms. These reefs experienced substantial diel fluctuations in temperature (0.78°C) and pH (>0.2) similar to the magnitude of 'warming' and 'acidification' expected over the next century. Where daily pH within the benthic boundary layer failed to exceed pelagic climatological seasonal lows, net accretion was slower and fleshy, non-calcifying benthic organisms dominated space. Thus, key aspects of coral reef ecosystem structure and function are presently related to natural diurnal variability in pH.

  11. Diel Variability in Seawater pH Relates to Calcification and Benthic Community Structure on Coral Reefs

    PubMed Central

    Martz, Todd R.; Brainard, Russell E.

    2012-01-01

    Community structure and assembly are determined in part by environmental heterogeneity. While reef-building corals respond negatively to warming (i.e. bleaching events) and ocean acidification (OA), the extent of present-day natural variability in pH on shallow reefs and ecological consequences for benthic assemblages is unknown. We documented high resolution temporal patterns in temperature and pH from three reefs in the central Pacific and examined how these data relate to community development and net accretion rates of early successional benthic organisms. These reefs experienced substantial diel fluctuations in temperature (0.78°C) and pH (>0.2) similar to the magnitude of ‘warming’ and ‘acidification’ expected over the next century. Where daily pH within the benthic boundary layer failed to exceed pelagic climatological seasonal lows, net accretion was slower and fleshy, non-calcifying benthic organisms dominated space. Thus, key aspects of coral reef ecosystem structure and function are presently related to natural diurnal variability in pH. PMID:22952785

  12. Spatial patterns in benthic communities and the dynamics of a mosaic ecosystem on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ninio, R.; Meekan, M.

    2002-04-01

    The benthic communities of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) have been characterized as a mosaic with patches at scales of tens to hundreds of kilometres formed by clusters of reefs with comparable environmental settings and histories of disturbance. We use data sets of changes in cover of abundant benthic organisms to examine the relationship between community composition and the dynamics of this mosaic. Our data were compiled from seven annual video surveys of permanent transects on the north-east flanks of up to 52 reefs at different shelf positions throughout most of the GBR. Classification analysis of these data sets identified three distinct groups of reefs, the first dominated by poritid hard corals and alcyoniid soft corals, the second by hard corals of the genus Acropora, and the third by xeniid soft corals. These groups underwent different amounts of change in cover during the period of our study. As acroporan corals are fast growing but susceptible to mortality due to predators and wave action, the group of reefs dominated by this genus displayed rapid rates of growth and loss of cover. In contrast, cover in the remaining groups changed very slowly or remained stable. Some evidence suggests that competition for space may limit growth of acroporan corals and thus rates of change in the group dominated by xeniid soft corals. These contrasting patterns imply that susceptibility to, and recovery from, disturbances such as cyclones, predators, and bleaching events will differ among these groups of reefs.

  13. Carbonate Production by Benthic Communities on Shallow Coralgal Reefs of Abrolhos Bank, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Reis, Vanessa Moura Dos; Karez, Cláudia Santiago; Mariath, Rodrigo; de Moraes, Fernando Coreixas; de Carvalho, Rodrigo Tomazetto; Brasileiro, Poliana Silva; Bahia, Ricardo da Gama; Lotufo, Tito Monteiro da Cruz; Ramalho, Laís Vieira; de Moura, Rodrigo Leão; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo Bastos; Pereira-Filho, Guilherme Henrique; Thompson, Fabiano Lopes; Bastos, Alex Cardoso; Salgado, Leonardo Tavares; Amado-Filho, Gilberto Menezes

    2016-01-01

    The abundance of reef builders, non-builders and the calcium carbonate produced by communities established in Calcification Accretion Units (CAUs) were determined in three Abrolhos Bank shallow reefs during the period from 2012 to 2014. In addition, the seawater temperature, the irradiance, and the amount and composition of the sediments were determined. The inner and outer reef arcs were compared. CAUs located on the inner reef shelf were under the influence of terrigenous sediments. On the outer reefs, the sediments were composed primarily of marine biogenic carbonates. The mean carbonate production in shallow reefs of Abrolhos was 579 ± 98 g m-2 y-1. The builder community was dominated by crustose coralline algae, while the non-builder community was dominated by turf. A marine heat wave was detected during the summer of 2013-2014, and the number of consecutive days with a temperature above or below the summer mean was positively correlated with the turf cover increase. The mean carbonate production of the shallow reefs of Abrolhos Bank was greater than the estimated carbonate production measured for artificial structures on several other shallow reefs of the world. The calcimass was higher than the non-calcareous mass, suggesting that the Abrolhos reefs are still in a positive carbonate production balance. Given that marine heat waves produce an increase of turf cover on the shallow reefs of the Abrolhos, a decrease in the cover represented by reef builders and shifting carbonate production are expected in the near future.

  14. Carbonate Production by Benthic Communities on Shallow Coralgal Reefs of Abrolhos Bank, Brazil

    PubMed Central

    dos Reis, Vanessa Moura; Karez, Cláudia Santiago; Mariath, Rodrigo; de Moraes, Fernando Coreixas; de Carvalho, Rodrigo Tomazetto; Brasileiro, Poliana Silva; Bahia, Ricardo da Gama; Lotufo, Tito Monteiro da Cruz; Ramalho, Laís Vieira; de Moura, Rodrigo Leão; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo Bastos; Pereira-Filho, Guilherme Henrique; Thompson, Fabiano Lopes; Bastos, Alex Cardoso; Salgado, Leonardo Tavares; Amado-Filho, Gilberto Menezes

    2016-01-01

    The abundance of reef builders, non-builders and the calcium carbonate produced by communities established in Calcification Accretion Units (CAUs) were determined in three Abrolhos Bank shallow reefs during the period from 2012 to 2014. In addition, the seawater temperature, the irradiance, and the amount and composition of the sediments were determined. The inner and outer reef arcs were compared. CAUs located on the inner reef shelf were under the influence of terrigenous sediments. On the outer reefs, the sediments were composed primarily of marine biogenic carbonates. The mean carbonate production in shallow reefs of Abrolhos was 579 ± 98 g m-2 y-1. The builder community was dominated by crustose coralline algae, while the non-builder community was dominated by turf. A marine heat wave was detected during the summer of 2013–2014, and the number of consecutive days with a temperature above or below the summer mean was positively correlated with the turf cover increase. The mean carbonate production of the shallow reefs of Abrolhos Bank was greater than the estimated carbonate production measured for artificial structures on several other shallow reefs of the world. The calcimass was higher than the non-calcareous mass, suggesting that the Abrolhos reefs are still in a positive carbonate production balance. Given that marine heat waves produce an increase of turf cover on the shallow reefs of the Abrolhos, a decrease in the cover represented by reef builders and shifting carbonate production are expected in the near future. PMID:27119151

  15. Variable Responses of Benthic Communities to Anomalously Warm Sea Temperatures on a High-Latitude Coral Reef

    PubMed Central

    Bryson, Mitch; Hovey, Renae; Figueira, Will F.; Williams, Stefan B.; Pizarro, Oscar; Harborne, Alastair R.; Byrne, Maria

    2014-01-01

    High-latitude reefs support unique ecological communities occurring at the biogeographic boundaries between tropical and temperate marine ecosystems. Due to their lower ambient temperatures, they are regarded as potential refugia for tropical species shifting poleward due to rising sea temperatures. However, acute warming events can cause rapid shifts in the composition of high-latitude reef communities, including range contractions of temperate macroalgae and bleaching-induced mortality in corals. While bleaching has been reported on numerous high-latitude reefs, post-bleaching trajectories of benthic communities are poorly described. Consequently, the longer-term effects of thermal anomalies on high-latitude reefs are difficult to predict. Here, we use an autonomous underwater vehicle to conduct repeated surveys of three 625 m2 plots on a coral-dominated high-latitude reef in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, over a four-year period spanning a large-magnitude thermal anomaly. Quantification of benthic communities revealed high coral cover (>70%, comprising three main morphospecies) prior to the bleaching event. Plating Montipora was most susceptible to bleaching, but in the plot where it was most abundant, coral cover did not change significantly because of post-bleaching increases in branching Acropora. In the other two plots, coral cover decreased while macroalgal cover increased markedly. Overall, coral cover declined from 73% to 59% over the course of the study, while macroalgal cover increased from 11% to 24%. The significant differences in impacts and post-bleaching trajectories among plots underline the importance of understanding the underlying causes of such variation to improve predictions of how climate change will affect reefs, especially at high-latitudes. PMID:25426718

  16. Variable responses of benthic communities to anomalously warm sea temperatures on a high-latitude coral reef.

    PubMed

    Bridge, Tom C L; Ferrari, Renata; Bryson, Mitch; Hovey, Renae; Figueira, Will F; Williams, Stefan B; Pizarro, Oscar; Harborne, Alastair R; Byrne, Maria

    2014-01-01

    High-latitude reefs support unique ecological communities occurring at the biogeographic boundaries between tropical and temperate marine ecosystems. Due to their lower ambient temperatures, they are regarded as potential refugia for tropical species shifting poleward due to rising sea temperatures. However, acute warming events can cause rapid shifts in the composition of high-latitude reef communities, including range contractions of temperate macroalgae and bleaching-induced mortality in corals. While bleaching has been reported on numerous high-latitude reefs, post-bleaching trajectories of benthic communities are poorly described. Consequently, the longer-term effects of thermal anomalies on high-latitude reefs are difficult to predict. Here, we use an autonomous underwater vehicle to conduct repeated surveys of three 625 m(2) plots on a coral-dominated high-latitude reef in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, over a four-year period spanning a large-magnitude thermal anomaly. Quantification of benthic communities revealed high coral cover (>70%, comprising three main morphospecies) prior to the bleaching event. Plating Montipora was most susceptible to bleaching, but in the plot where it was most abundant, coral cover did not change significantly because of post-bleaching increases in branching Acropora. In the other two plots, coral cover decreased while macroalgal cover increased markedly. Overall, coral cover declined from 73% to 59% over the course of the study, while macroalgal cover increased from 11% to 24%. The significant differences in impacts and post-bleaching trajectories among plots underline the importance of understanding the underlying causes of such variation to improve predictions of how climate change will affect reefs, especially at high-latitudes.

  17. The effects of top-down versus bottom-up control on benthic coral reef community structure.

    PubMed

    Smith, Jennifer E; Hunter, Cynthia L; Smith, Celia M

    2010-06-01

    While climate change and associated increases in sea surface temperature and ocean acidification, are among the most important global stressors to coral reefs, overfishing and nutrient pollution are among the most significant local threats. Here we examined the independent and interactive effects of reduced grazing pressure and nutrient enrichment using settlement tiles on a coral-dominated reef via long-term manipulative experimentation. We found that unique assemblages developed in each treatment combination confirming that both nutrients and herbivores are important drivers of reef community structure. When herbivores were removed, fleshy algae dominated, while crustose coralline algae (CCA) and coral were more abundant when herbivores were present. The effects of fertilization varied depending on herbivore treatment; without herbivores fleshy algae increased in abundance and with herbivores, CCA increased. Coral recruits only persisted in treatments exposed to grazers. Herbivore removal resulted in rapid changes in community structure while there was a lag in response to fertilization. Lastly, re-exposure of communities to natural herbivore populations caused reversals in benthic community trajectories but the effects of fertilization remained for at least 2 months. These results suggest that increasing herbivore populations on degraded reefs may be an effective strategy for restoring ecosystem structure and function and in reversing coral-algal phase-shifts but that this strategy may be most effective in the absence of other confounding disturbances such as nutrient pollution.

  18. Dynamics in benthic community composition and influencing factors in an upwelling-exposed coral reef on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez-Noguera, Celeste; Roth, Florian; Jiménez, Carlos; Rixen, Tim; Cortés, Jorge; Wild, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Seasonal upwelling at the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica offers the opportunity to investigate the effects of pronounced changes in key water parameters on fine-scale dynamics of local coral reef communities. This study monitored benthic community composition at Matapalo reef (10.539°N, 85.766°W) by weekly observations of permanent benthic quadrats from April 2013 to April 2014. Monitoring was accompanied by surveys of herbivore abundance and biomass and measurements of water temperature and inorganic nutrient concentrations. Findings revealed that the reef-building corals Pocillopora spp. exhibited an exceptional rapid increase from 22 to 51% relative benthic cover. By contrast, turf algae cover decreased from 63 to 24%, resulting in a corresponding increase in crustose coralline algae cover. The macroalga Caulerpa sertularioides covered up to 15% of the reef in April 2013, disappeared after synchronized gamete release in May, and subsequently exhibited slow regrowth. Parallel monitoring of influencing factors suggest that C. sertularioides cover was mainly regulated by their reproductive cycle, while that of turf algae was likely controlled by high abundances of herbivores. Upwelling events in February and March 2014 decreased mean daily seawater temperatures by up to 7 °C and increased nutrient concentrations up to 5- (phosphate) and 16-fold (nitrate) compared to mean values during the rest of the year. Changes in benthic community composition did not appear to correspond to the strong environmental changes, but rather shifted from turf algae to hard coral dominance over the entire year of observation. The exceptional high dynamic over the annual observation period encourages further research on the adaptation potential of coral reefs to environmental variability. PMID:26623190

  19. Dynamics in benthic community composition and influencing factors in an upwelling-exposed coral reef on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Stuhldreier, Ines; Sánchez-Noguera, Celeste; Roth, Florian; Jiménez, Carlos; Rixen, Tim; Cortés, Jorge; Wild, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Seasonal upwelling at the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica offers the opportunity to investigate the effects of pronounced changes in key water parameters on fine-scale dynamics of local coral reef communities. This study monitored benthic community composition at Matapalo reef (10.539°N, 85.766°W) by weekly observations of permanent benthic quadrats from April 2013 to April 2014. Monitoring was accompanied by surveys of herbivore abundance and biomass and measurements of water temperature and inorganic nutrient concentrations. Findings revealed that the reef-building corals Pocillopora spp. exhibited an exceptional rapid increase from 22 to 51% relative benthic cover. By contrast, turf algae cover decreased from 63 to 24%, resulting in a corresponding increase in crustose coralline algae cover. The macroalga Caulerpa sertularioides covered up to 15% of the reef in April 2013, disappeared after synchronized gamete release in May, and subsequently exhibited slow regrowth. Parallel monitoring of influencing factors suggest that C. sertularioides cover was mainly regulated by their reproductive cycle, while that of turf algae was likely controlled by high abundances of herbivores. Upwelling events in February and March 2014 decreased mean daily seawater temperatures by up to 7 °C and increased nutrient concentrations up to 5- (phosphate) and 16-fold (nitrate) compared to mean values during the rest of the year. Changes in benthic community composition did not appear to correspond to the strong environmental changes, but rather shifted from turf algae to hard coral dominance over the entire year of observation. The exceptional high dynamic over the annual observation period encourages further research on the adaptation potential of coral reefs to environmental variability.

  20. Monitoring of coastal coral reefs near Dahab (Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea) indicates local eutrophication as potential cause for change in benthic communities.

    PubMed

    Naumann, Malik S; Bednarz, Vanessa N; Ferse, Sebastian C A; Niggl, Wolfgang; Wild, Christian

    2015-02-01

    Coral reef ecosystems fringing the coastline of Dahab (South Sinai, Egypt) have experienced increasing anthropogenic disturbance as an emergent international tourism destination. Previous reports covering tourism-related impacts on coastal environments, particularly mechanical damage and destructive fishing, have highlighted the vital necessity for regular ecosystem monitoring of coral reefs near Dahab. However, a continuous scientific monitoring programme of permanent survey sites has not been established to date. Thus, this study conducted in situ monitoring surveys to investigate spatio-temporal variability of benthic reef communities and selected reef-associated herbivores along with reef health indicator organisms by revisiting three of the locally most frequented dive sites during expeditions in March 2010, September 2011 and February 2013. In addition, inorganic nutrient concentrations in reef-surrounding waters were determined to evaluate bottom-up effects of key environmental parameters on benthic reef community shifts in relation to grazer-induced top-down control. Findings revealed that from 2010 to 2013, live hard coral cover declined significantly by 12 % at the current-sheltered site Three Pools (TP), while showing negative trends for the Blue Hole (BH) and Lighthouse (LH) sites. Hard coral cover decline was significantly and highly correlated to a substantial increase in turf algae cover (up to 57 % at TP) at all sites, replacing hard corals as dominant benthic space occupiers in 2013. These changes were correlated to ambient phosphate and ammonium concentrations that exhibited highest values (0.64 ± 0.07 μmol PO4 (3-) l(-1), 1.05 ± 0.07 μmol NH4 (+) l(-1)) at the degraded site TP. While macroalgae appeared to respond to both bottom-up and top-down factors, change in turf algae was consistent with expected indications for bottom-up control. Temporal variability measured in herbivorous reef fish stocks reflected seasonal impacts by

  1. Floating and fixed artificial habitats: Spatial and temporal patterns of benthic communities in a coral reef environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perkol-Finkel, S.; Zilman, G.; Sella, I.; Miloh, T.; Benayahu, Y.

    2008-04-01

    While natural marine habitats with motion capabilities, e.g., kelps and seaweeds, have been studied alongside their associated fouling communities, little is known of the effect of motion on the communities of floating artificial habitats such as buoys, rafts, and pontoons, particularly in tropical systems. Hydrodynamic features greatly differ between floating and fixed artificial substrata, which in turn affect the structure of their associated communities. This study tested the hypothesis that floating and fixed artificial installations in a tropical reef system (Eilat, Red Sea) would support different benthic communities throughout space and time. Specifically, we examined differences in communities recruited onto settlement plates between floating and fixed installations deployed at three different sites, along a two-year monitoring period. The three sites exhibited distinct differences in species assemblages between the monitoring dates (6, 12, 18 and 24 months post deployment), mainly between the first and the last two dates. The average level of dissimilarity between floating and fixed installations increased over time at all sites. Over 50% of the dissimilarity between the floating and fixed installations resulted from five taxonomic groups i.e., bryozoans, bivalves, barnacles, sponges, including the amount of bare space on the settlement plates. The contribution of these groups to the dissimilarity changed both temporally within each site, and spatially among sites. The observed differences were related to the hydrodynamic characteristics of floating and fixed habitats, interacting with biotic features such as predation, successional processes and seasonality; and abiotic features including small-scale spatial changes, light, and position in the water column.

  2. Toward a universal mass-momentum transfer relationship for predicting nutrient uptake and metabolite exchange in benthic reef communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Falter, James L.; Lowe, Ryan J.; Zhang, Zhenlin

    2016-09-01

    Here we synthesize data from previous field and laboratory studies describing how rates of nutrient uptake and metabolite exchange (mass transfer) are related to form drag and bottom stresses (momentum transfer). Reanalysis of this data shows that rates of mass transfer are highly correlated (r2 ≥ 0.9) with the root of the bottom stress (τbot0.4) under both waves and currents and only slightly higher under waves (~10%). The amount of mass transfer that can occur per unit bottom stress (or form drag) is influenced by morphological features ranging anywhere from millimeters to meters in scale; however, surface-scale roughness (millimeters) appears to have little effect on actual nutrient uptake by living reef communities. Although field measurements of nutrient uptake by natural reef communities agree reasonably well with predictions based on existing mass-momentum transfer relationships, more work is needed to better constrain these relationships for more rugose and morphologically complex communities.

  3. Northern Florida reef tract benthic metabolism scaled by remote sensing

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brock, J.C.; Yates, K.K.; Halley, R.B.; Kuffner, I.B.; Wright, C.W.; Hatcher, B.G.

    2006-01-01

    Holistic rates of excess organic carbon production (E) and calcification for a 0.5 km2 segment of the backreef platform of the northern Florida reef tract (NFRT) were estimated by combining biotope mapping using remote sensing with community metabolic rates determined with a benthic incubation system. The use of ASTER multispectral satellite imaging for the spatial scaling of benthic metabolic processes resulted in errors in E and net calcification (G) of 48 and 431% respectively, relative to estimates obtained using AISA hyperspectral airborne scanning. At 19 and 125%, the E and G errors relative to the AISA-based estimates were less pronounced for an analysis that used IKONOS multispectral satellite imagery to spatially extrapolate the chamber process measurements. Our scaling analysis indicates that the holistic calcification rate of the backreef platform of the northern Florida reef tract is negligible at 0.07 g CaCO3 m-2 d-1. All of the mapped biotopes in this reef zone are net heterotrophic, resulting in an estimated holistic excess production rate of -0.56 g C m-2 d-1, and an overall gross primary production to respiration ratio of 0.85. Based on our finding of ubiquitous heterotrophy, we infer that the backreef platform of the NFRT is a sink for external inputs of suspended particulate organic matter. Further, our results suggest that the inward advection of inorganic nutrients is not a dominant forcing mechanism for benthic biogeochemical function in the NFRT. We suggest that the degradation of the northern Florida reef tract may parallel the community phase shifts documented within other reef systems polluted by organic detritus.

  4. The influence of coral reef benthic condition on associated fish assemblages.

    PubMed

    Chong-Seng, Karen M; Mannering, Thomas D; Pratchett, Morgan S; Bellwood, David R; Graham, Nicholas A J

    2012-01-01

    Accumulative disturbances can erode a coral reef's resilience, often leading to replacement of scleractinian corals by macroalgae or other non-coral organisms. These degraded reef systems have been mostly described based on changes in the composition of the reef benthos, and there is little understanding of how such changes are influenced by, and in turn influence, other components of the reef ecosystem. This study investigated the spatial variation in benthic communities on fringing reefs around the inner Seychelles islands. Specifically, relationships between benthic composition and the underlying substrata, as well as the associated fish assemblages were assessed. High variability in benthic composition was found among reefs, with a gradient from high coral cover (up to 58%) and high structural complexity to high macroalgae cover (up to 95%) and low structural complexity at the extremes. This gradient was associated with declining species richness of fishes, reduced diversity of fish functional groups, and lower abundance of corallivorous fishes. There were no reciprocal increases in herbivorous fish abundances, and relationships with other fish functional groups and total fish abundance were weak. Reefs grouping at the extremes of complex coral habitats or low-complexity macroalgal habitats displayed markedly different fish communities, with only two species of benthic invertebrate feeding fishes in greater abundance in the macroalgal habitat. These results have negative implications for the continuation of many coral reef ecosystem processes and services if more reefs shift to extreme degraded conditions dominated by macroalgae.

  5. Spatial dynamics of benthic competition on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Sandin, Stuart A; McNamara, Dylan E

    2012-04-01

    The community structure of sedentary organisms is largely controlled by the outcome of direct competition for space. Understanding factors defining competitive outcomes among neighbors is thus critical for predicting large-scale changes, such as transitions to alternate states within coral reefs. Using a spatially explicit model, we explored the importance of variation in two spatial properties in benthic dynamics on coral reefs: (1) patterns of herbivory are spatially distinct between fishes and sea urchins and (2) there is wide variation in the areal extent into which different coral species can expand. We reveal that the size-specific, competitive asymmetry of corals versus fleshy algae highlights the significance of spatial patterning of herbivory and of coral growth. Spatial dynamics that alter the demographic importance of coral recruitment and maturation have profound effects on the emergent structure of the reef benthic community. Spatially constrained herbivory (as by sea urchins) is more effective than spatially unconstrained herbivory (as by many fish) at opening space for the time needed for corals to settle and to recruit to the adult population. Further, spatially unconstrained coral growth (as by many branching coral species) reduces the number of recruitment events needed to fill a habitat with coral relative to more spatially constrained growth (as by many massive species). Our model predicts that widespread mortality of branching corals (e.g., Acropora spp) and herbivorous sea urchins (particularly Diadema antillarum) in the Caribbean has greatly reduced the potential for restoration across the region.

  6. Oyster reef restoration in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: effect of artificial substrate and sge on nekton and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblage use

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brown, Laura A.; Furlong, Jessica N.; Brown, Kenneth M.; LaPeyre, Megan K.

    2013-01-01

    In the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM), reefs built by eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica, provide critical habitat within shallow estuaries, and recent efforts have focused on restoring reefs to benefit nekton and benthic macroinvertebrates. We compared nekton and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages at historic, newly created (<5years) and old (>6years) shell and rock substrate reefs. Using crab traps, gill-nets, otter trawls, cast nets, and benthic macroinvertebrate collectors, 20 shallow reefs (<5m) in the northern GOM were sampled throughout the summer of 2011. We compared nekton and benthic assemblage abundance, diversity and composition across reef types. Except for benthic macroinvertebrate abundance, which was significantly higher on old rock reefs as compared to historic reefs, all reefs were similar to historic reefs, suggesting created reefs provide similar support of nekton and benthic assemblages as historic reefs. To determine refuge value of oyster structure for benthic macroinvertebrates compared to bare bottom, we tested preferences of juvenile crabs across depth and refuge complexity in the presence and absence of adult blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus). Juveniles were more likely to use deep water with predators present only when provided oyster structure. Provision of structural material to support and sustain development of benthic and mobile reef communities may be the most important factor in determining reef value to these assemblages, with biophysical characteristics related to reef location influencing assemblage patterns in areas with structure; if so, appropriately locating created reefs is critical.

  7. How does the proliferation of the coral-killing sponge Terpios hoshinota affect benthic community structure on coral reefs?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elliott, Jennifer; Patterson, Mark; Summers, Natalie; Miternique, Céline; Montocchio, Emma; Vitry, Eugene

    2016-09-01

    Terpios hoshinota is an encrusting sponge and a fierce space competitor. It kills stony corals by overgrowing them and can impact reefs on the square kilometer scale. We investigated an outbreak of T. hoshinota in 2014 at the island of Mauritius to determine its impacts on coral community structure. Surveys were conducted at the putative outbreak center, an adjacent area, and around the island to determine the extent of spread of the sponge and which organisms it impacted. In addition, quadrats were monitored for 5 months (July-December) to measure the spreading rates of T. hoshinota and Acropora austera in areas both with and without T. hoshinota. The photosynthetic capabilities of T. hoshinota and A. austera were also measured. Terpios hoshinota was well established, covering 13% of an estimated 416 m2 of available hard coral substrate at the putative outbreak center, and 10% of an estimated 588 m2 of available hard coral substrate at the adjacent area. The sponge was observed at only one other site around Mauritius. Terpios hoshinota and A. austera increased their planar areas by 26.9 and 13.9%, respectively, over five months. No new colonies of T. hoshinota were recorded in adjacent sponge-free control areas, suggesting that sponge recruitment is very low during austral winter and spring. The sponge was observed to overgrow five stony corals; however, it showed a preference for branching corals, especially A. austera. This is the first time that a statistically significant coral substrate preference by T. hoshinota has been reported. Terpios hoshinota also had a significantly higher photosynthetic capacity than A. austera at irradiance >500 μmol photons m-2 s-1, a possible explanation for its high spreading rate. We discuss the long-term implications of the proliferation of T. hoshinota on community structure and dynamics of our study site.

  8. Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Small Scale Fluorescent Optical Signatures and Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Coral Reef Habitats

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2001-09-30

    Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Small Scale Fluorescent Optical Signatures and Hyperspectral Remote...Sensing of Coral Reef Habitats Dr. Michael P. Lesser University of New Hampshire Department of Zoology and Center for Marine Biology Durham, NH 03824... reefs . Coral reef communities are coastal areas of high water transparency which make them ideal systems to study optical signatures originating from

  9. Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Small Scale Fluorescent Optical Signatures and Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Coral Reef Habitats

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2002-09-30

    Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Small Scale Fluorescent Optical Signatures and Hyperspectral Remote...Sensing of Coral Reef Habitats Dr. Michael P. Lesser University of New Hampshire Department of Zoology and Center for Marine Biology Durham, NH 03824... reefs . Coral reef communities are coastal areas of high water transparency which make them ideal systems to study optical signatures originating from

  10. Effects of Coral Reef Benthic Primary Producers on Dissolved Organic Carbon and Microbial Activity

    PubMed Central

    Haas, Andreas F.; Nelson, Craig E.; Wegley Kelly, Linda; Carlson, Craig A.; Rohwer, Forest; Leichter, James J.; Wyatt, Alex; Smith, Jennifer E.

    2011-01-01

    Benthic primary producers in marine ecosystems may significantly alter biogeochemical cycling and microbial processes in their surrounding environment. To examine these interactions, we studied dissolved organic matter release by dominant benthic taxa and subsequent microbial remineralization in the lagoonal reefs of Moorea, French Polynesia. Rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) release were assessed for several common benthic reef organisms from the backreef habitat. We assessed microbial community response to dissolved exudates of each benthic producer by measuring bacterioplankton growth, respiration, and DOC drawdown in two-day dark dilution culture incubations. Experiments were conducted for six benthic producers: three species of macroalgae (each representing a different algal phylum: Turbinaria ornata – Ochrophyta; Amansia rhodantha – Rhodophyta; Halimeda opuntia – Chlorophyta), a mixed assemblage of turf algae, a species of crustose coralline algae (Hydrolithon reinboldii) and a dominant hermatypic coral (Porites lobata). Our results show that all five types of algae, but not the coral, exuded significant amounts of labile DOC into their surrounding environment. In general, primary producers with the highest rates of photosynthesis released the most DOC and yielded the greatest bacterioplankton growth; turf algae produced nearly twice as much DOC per unit surface area than the other benthic producers (14.0±2.8 µmol h−1 dm−2), stimulating rapid bacterioplankton growth (0.044±0.002 log10 cells h−1) and concomitant oxygen drawdown (0.16±0.05 µmol L−1 h−1 dm−2). Our results demonstrate that benthic reef algae can release a significant fraction of their photosynthetically-fixed carbon as DOC, these release rates vary by species, and this DOC is available to and consumed by reef associated microbes. These data provide compelling evidence that benthic primary producers differentially influence reef

  11. Effects of coral reef benthic primary producers on dissolved organic carbon and microbial activity.

    PubMed

    Haas, Andreas F; Nelson, Craig E; Wegley Kelly, Linda; Carlson, Craig A; Rohwer, Forest; Leichter, James J; Wyatt, Alex; Smith, Jennifer E

    2011-01-01

    Benthic primary producers in marine ecosystems may significantly alter biogeochemical cycling and microbial processes in their surrounding environment. To examine these interactions, we studied dissolved organic matter release by dominant benthic taxa and subsequent microbial remineralization in the lagoonal reefs of Moorea, French Polynesia. Rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) release were assessed for several common benthic reef organisms from the backreef habitat. We assessed microbial community response to dissolved exudates of each benthic producer by measuring bacterioplankton growth, respiration, and DOC drawdown in two-day dark dilution culture incubations. Experiments were conducted for six benthic producers: three species of macroalgae (each representing a different algal phylum: Turbinaria ornata--Ochrophyta; Amansia rhodantha--Rhodophyta; Halimeda opuntia--Chlorophyta), a mixed assemblage of turf algae, a species of crustose coralline algae (Hydrolithon reinboldii) and a dominant hermatypic coral (Porites lobata). Our results show that all five types of algae, but not the coral, exuded significant amounts of labile DOC into their surrounding environment. In general, primary producers with the highest rates of photosynthesis released the most DOC and yielded the greatest bacterioplankton growth; turf algae produced nearly twice as much DOC per unit surface area than the other benthic producers (14.0±2.8 µmol h⁻¹ dm⁻²), stimulating rapid bacterioplankton growth (0.044±0.002 log10 cells h⁻¹) and concomitant oxygen drawdown (0.16±0.05 µmol L⁻¹ h⁻¹ dm⁻²). Our results demonstrate that benthic reef algae can release a significant fraction of their photosynthetically-fixed carbon as DOC, these release rates vary by species, and this DOC is available to and consumed by reef associated microbes. These data provide compelling evidence that benthic primary producers differentially influence reef microbial

  12. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages

    PubMed Central

    Waheed, Zarinah; van Mil, Harald G. J.; Syed Hussein, Muhammad Ali; Jumin, Robecca; Golam Ahad, Bobita; Hoeksema, Bert W.

    2015-01-01

    The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park. PMID:26719987

  13. Coral Reefs at the Northernmost Tip of Borneo: An Assessment of Scleractinian Species Richness Patterns and Benthic Reef Assemblages.

    PubMed

    Waheed, Zarinah; van Mil, Harald G J; Syed Hussein, Muhammad Ali; Jumin, Robecca; Golam Ahad, Bobita; Hoeksema, Bert W

    2015-01-01

    The coral reefs at the northernmost tip of Sabah, Borneo will be established under a marine protected area: the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) by the end of 2015. This area is a passage where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea and it is situated at the border of the area of maximum marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. The TMP includes fringing and patch reefs established on a relatively shallow sea floor. Surveys were carried out to examine features of the coral reefs in terms of scleractinian species richness, and benthic reef assemblages following the Reef Check substrate categories, with emphasis on hard coral cover. Variation in scleractinian diversity was based on the species composition of coral families Fungiidae (n = 39), Agariciidae (n = 30) and Euphylliidae (n = 15). The number of coral species was highest at reefs with a larger depth gradient i.e. at the periphery of the study area and in the deep South Banggi Channel. Average live hard coral cover across the sites was 49%. Only 7% of the examined reefs had > 75% hard coral cover, while the majority of the reef sites were rated fair (51%) and good (38%). Sites with low coral cover and high rubble fragments are evidence of blast fishing, although the observed damage appeared old. Depth was a dominant factor in influencing the coral species composition and benthic reef communities in the TMP. Besides filling in the information gaps regarding species richness and benthic cover for reef areas that were previously without any data, the results of this study together with information that is already available on the coral reefs of TMP will be used to make informed decisions on zoning plans for conservation priorities in the proposed park.

  14. Benthic N2 fixation in coral reefs and the potential effects of human-induced environmental change

    PubMed Central

    Cardini, Ulisse; Bednarz, Vanessa N; Foster, Rachel A; Wild, Christian

    2014-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs are among the most productive and diverse ecosystems, despite being surrounded by ocean waters where nutrients are in short supply. Benthic dinitrogen (N2) fixation is a significant internal source of “new” nitrogen (N) in reef ecosystems, but related information appears to be sparse. Here, we review the current state (and gaps) of knowledge on N2 fixation associated with coral reef organisms and their ecosystems. By summarizing the existing literature, we show that benthic N2 fixation is an omnipresent process in tropical reef environments. Highest N2 fixation rates are detected in reef-associated cyanobacterial mats and sea grass meadows, clearly showing the significance of these functional groups, if present, to the input of new N in reef ecosystems. Nonetheless, key benthic organisms such as hard corals also importantly contribute to benthic N2 fixation in the reef. Given the usually high coral coverage of healthy reef systems, these results indicate that benthic symbiotic associations may be more important than previously thought. In fact, mutualisms between carbon (C) and N2 fixers have likely evolved that may enable reef communities to mitigate N limitation. We then explore the potential effects of the increasing human interferences on the process of benthic reef N2 fixation via changes in diazotrophic populations, enzymatic activities, or availability of benthic substrates favorable to these microorganisms. Current knowledge indicates positive effects of ocean acidification, warming, and deoxygenation and negative effects of increased ultraviolet radiation on the amount of N fixed in coral reefs. Eutrophication may either boost or suppress N2 fixation, depending on the nutrient becoming limiting. As N2 fixation appears to play a fundamental role in nutrient-limited reef ecosystems, these assumptions need to be expanded and confirmed by future research efforts addressing the knowledge gaps identified in this review. PMID:24967086

  15. Benthic N2 fixation in coral reefs and the potential effects of human-induced environmental change.

    PubMed

    Cardini, Ulisse; Bednarz, Vanessa N; Foster, Rachel A; Wild, Christian

    2014-05-01

    Tropical coral reefs are among the most productive and diverse ecosystems, despite being surrounded by ocean waters where nutrients are in short supply. Benthic dinitrogen (N2) fixation is a significant internal source of "new" nitrogen (N) in reef ecosystems, but related information appears to be sparse. Here, we review the current state (and gaps) of knowledge on N2 fixation associated with coral reef organisms and their ecosystems. By summarizing the existing literature, we show that benthic N2 fixation is an omnipresent process in tropical reef environments. Highest N2 fixation rates are detected in reef-associated cyanobacterial mats and sea grass meadows, clearly showing the significance of these functional groups, if present, to the input of new N in reef ecosystems. Nonetheless, key benthic organisms such as hard corals also importantly contribute to benthic N2 fixation in the reef. Given the usually high coral coverage of healthy reef systems, these results indicate that benthic symbiotic associations may be more important than previously thought. In fact, mutualisms between carbon (C) and N2 fixers have likely evolved that may enable reef communities to mitigate N limitation. We then explore the potential effects of the increasing human interferences on the process of benthic reef N2 fixation via changes in diazotrophic populations, enzymatic activities, or availability of benthic substrates favorable to these microorganisms. Current knowledge indicates positive effects of ocean acidification, warming, and deoxygenation and negative effects of increased ultraviolet radiation on the amount of N fixed in coral reefs. Eutrophication may either boost or suppress N2 fixation, depending on the nutrient becoming limiting. As N2 fixation appears to play a fundamental role in nutrient-limited reef ecosystems, these assumptions need to be expanded and confirmed by future research efforts addressing the knowledge gaps identified in this review.

  16. Community dynamics of Pleistocene coral reefs during alternative climatic regimes.

    PubMed

    Tager, Danika; Webster, Jody M; Potts, Donald C; Renema, Willem; Braga, Juan C; Pandolfi, John M

    2010-01-01

    Reef ecosystems built during successive periods of Pleistocene sea level rise have shown remarkable persistence in coral community structure, but little is known of the ecological characteristics of reef communities during periods of low sea stands or sea level falls. We sampled the relative species abundance of coral, benthic foraminifera, and calcareous red algae communities from eight submerged coral reefs in the Huon Gulf, Papua New Guinea, which formed during successive sea level fall and lowstand periods over the past approximately kyr. We found that dissimilarity in coral species composition increased significantly with increasing time between reef-building events. However, neither coral diversity nor the taxonomic composition of benthic foraminifera and calcareous red algae assemblages varied significantly over time. The taxonomic composition of coral communities from lowstand reefs was significantly different from that of highstand reefs previously reported from the nearby Huon Peninsula. We interpret the community composition and temporal dynamics of lowstand reefs as a result of shifting energy regimes in the Huon Gulf, and differences between low and highstand reefs as a result of differences in the interaction between biotic and environmental factors between the Huon Gulf and Huon Peninsula. Regardless of the exact processes driving these trends, our study represents the first glimpse into the ecological dynamics of coral reefs during low sea level stands when climatic conditions for reef growth were much different and less optimal than during previously studied highstand periods.

  17. Structure of Benthic Communities along the Taiwan Latitudinal Gradient

    PubMed Central

    De Palmas, Stéphane; Kuo, Chao-Yang; Hsieh, Hernyi Justin; Chen, Chaolun Allen

    2016-01-01

    The distribution and the structure of benthic assemblages vary with latitude. However, few studies have described benthic communities along large latitudinal gradients, and patterns of variation are not fully understood. Taiwan, lying between 21.90°N and 25.30°N, is located at the center of the Philippine-Japan arc and lies at the northern margin of coral reef development. A wide range of habitats is distributed along this latitudinal gradient, from extensive fringing coral reefs at the southern coast to non-reefal communities at the north. In this study, we examined the structure of benthic communities around Taiwan, by comparing its assemblages in four regions, analyzing the effects of the latitudinal gradient, and highlighting regional characteristics. A total of 25 sites, 125 transects, and 2,625 photographs were used to analyze the benthic communities. Scleractinian corals present an obvious gradient of increasing diversity from north to south, whereas macro-algae diversity is higher on the north-eastern coast. At the country scale, Taiwanese coral communities were dominated by turf algae (49%). At the regional scale, we observed an important heterogeneity that may be caused by local disturbances and habitat degradation that smooths out regional differences. In this context, our observations highlight the importance of managing local stressors responsible for reef degradation. Overall, this study provides an important baseline upon which future changes in benthic assemblages around Taiwan can be assessed. PMID:27513665

  18. Benthic foraminifera baseline assemblages from a coastal nearshore reef complex on the central Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Jamie; Perry, Chris; Smithers, Scott; Morgan, Kyle

    2016-04-01

    Declining water quality due to river catchment modification since European settlement (c. 1850 A.D.) represents a major threat to the health of coral reefs on Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), particularly for those located in the coastal waters of the GBR's inner-shelf. These nearshore reefs are widely perceived to be most susceptible to declining water quality owing to their close proximity to river point sources. Despite this, nearshore reefs have been relatively poorly studied with the impacts and magnitudes of environmental degradation still remaining unclear. This is largely due to ongoing debates concerning the significance of increased sediment yields against naturally high background sedimentary regimes. Benthic foraminifera are increasingly used as tools for monitoring environmental and ecological change on coral reefs. On the GBR, the majority of studies have focussed on the spatial distributions of contemporary benthic foraminiferal assemblages. While baseline assemblages from other environments (e.g. inshore reefs and mangroves) have been described, very few records exist for nearshore reefs. Here, we present preliminary results from the first palaeoecological study of foraminiferal assemblages of nearshore reefs on the central GBR. Cores were recovered from the nearshore reef complex at Paluma Shoals using percussion techniques. Recovery was 100%, capturing the entire Holocene reef sequence of the selected reef structures. Radiocarbon dating and subsequent age-depth modelling techniques were used to identify reef sequences pre-dating European settlement. Benthic foraminifera assemblages were reconstructed from the identified sequences to establish pre-European ecological baselines with the aim of providing a record of foraminiferal distribution during vertical reef accretion and against which contemporary ecological change may be assessed.

  19. Homogeneity of coral reef communities across 8 degrees of latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Roberts, May B; Jones, Geoffrey P; McCormick, Mark I; Munday, Philip L; Neale, Stephen; Thorrold, Simon; Robitzch, Vanessa S N; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-04-30

    Coral reef communities between 26.8 °N and 18.6 °N latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea were surveyed to provide baseline data and an assessment of fine-scale biogeography of communities in this region. Forty reefs along 1100 km of coastline were surveyed using depth-stratified visual transects of fish and benthic communities. Fish abundance and benthic cover data were analyzed using multivariate approaches to investigate whether coral reef communities differed with latitude. A total of 215 fish species and 90 benthic categories were recorded on the surveys. There were no significant differences among locations in fish abundance, species richness, or among several diversity indices. Despite known environmental gradients within the Red Sea, the communities remained surprisingly similar. The communities do, however, exhibit subtle changes across this span of reefs that likely reflect the constrained distributions of several species of reef fish and benthic fauna.

  20. The evolution of reef communities

    SciTech Connect

    Fagerstrom, J.A.

    1987-01-01

    This book discusses the composition, structure, occurrence, and changes in reefs during the past 2 billion years. It emphasizes the functional roles of major groups (guilds) of reef-building, reef-destroying, and reed-dwelling organisms in the most complex of all marine communities. A structural model, based on modern reef guilds, is developed. Then the functional roles of each major reef-building higher biologic taxon (algae, sponges, coral, etc.) is determined, and, on this basis, each such taxon is assigned to a reef community guild. Next, the authors traces the geologic history and guild assignment of each major taxon through geologic time. The final chapter establishes a succession of ten major reef community types, and considers their extinction and recovery in the light of modern theories of cosmic and earthly events.

  1. Assessment of the benthic macrofauna in an artificial shell reef zone in Shuangdao Bay, Yellow Sea.

    PubMed

    Liu, Guoshan; Li, Wen-Tao; Zhang, Xiumei

    2017-01-30

    The effects of artificial shell reef (ASR) on the benthic macroinvertebrates were studied in Shuangdao Bay, Yellow Sea, China. Results showed that the biomass of macroinvertebrates in the ASR increased with the age of the ASR. Based on self-organizing map (SOM), the macroinvertebrate community of short-term artificial reef (SAR), medium-term artificial reef (MAR) and long-term artificial reef (LAR) emerged as a cluster, which may indicate that the benthic community in the ASR formed after three years. The age of the ASR was the main factor affecting the benthic community. The macroinvertebrates belonged to six phyla, Platyhelminthes, Nemertea, Annelida, Mollusca, Arthropoda and Echinodermata, among which the latter four were the ones that contributed the most for abundance. The biomass of Mollusca increased dramatically with age. The dissimilarity of the species composition of Mollusca was mainly caused by Meretrix meretrix and Protothaca jedoensis. The two species accounted for 15.61%, 28.05% and 75.11% of the macroinvertebrate biomass found in SAR, MAR and LAR, respectively. The ASR might be served as a bivalve stock enhancement tool. We conclude that ASR could assemble macrobenthos effectively and increase the environmental quality of the adjacent area, being a valid option for marine habitat restoration purposes.

  2. Distribution of benthic habitats at Crocker Reef, Florida, 2014

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zawada, David G.; Netchy, Kristin; Resnick, Jessica

    2016-01-01

    The distribution of benthic habitats for a 1-km x 1-km area around Crocker Reef in the Florida Key is based upon underwater digital images of the seafloor collected June 24-25, 2014. The imagery was collected using the USGS shallow Along-Track Reef Imaging System (sATRIS), a boat-based, pole-mounted sensor package for mapping shallow-water benthic environments.  The polygons contained in this shapefile represent the 4 general habitat types found at Crocker Reef:  hardbottom, rubble, sand, and seagrass.For further information regarding data collection methods refer to DOI: 10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00078.1The shallow ATRIS imagery is available in USGS data release http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7SF2T9Z

  3. Benthic Foraminifera from the Capricorn Group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Mamo, Briony L

    2016-12-23

    Effective reef management and monitoring has become increasingly important as anthropogenic processes impact upon natural ecosystems. One locality that is under direct threat due to human activities is the Australian Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Marine foraminifera represent an abundant and readily applicable tool that can be used in reef studies to investigate a variety of ecological parameters and assist in understanding reef dynamics and influence management protocols. The first step is to establish a baseline knowledge of taxonomic composition within the region to facilitate comparative studies and monitor how assemblages change in order to maximise effective management. A detailed taxonomic assessment is provided of 133 species of benthic foraminifera in 76 genera from Heron Island, One Tree Island, Wistari and Sykes Reefs, which form the core of the Capricorn Group (CG) at the southern end of the GBR. Of these 133 species, 46% belong to the order Miliolida, 34% to Rotaliida, 7% to Textulariida, 5% to Lagenida, 3% to Lituolida, 3% to Spirillinida, 1% to Loftusiida and 1% to Robertinida. Samples were collected from a variety of shallow shelf reef environments including reef flat, lagoonal and channel environments. Seventy species, representing the most abundant forms, are formally described with detailed distribution data for the remaining 63 species supplied.

  4. Extensive metazoan reefs from the Ediacaran Nama Group, Namibia: the rise of benthic suspension feeding.

    PubMed

    Wood, R; Curtis, A

    2015-03-01

    We describe new, ecologically complex reef types from the Ediacaran Nama Group, Namibia, dated at ~548 million years ago (Ma), where the earliest known skeletal metazoans, Cloudina riemkeae and Namacalathus, formed extensive reefs up to 20 m in height and width. C. riemkeae formed densely aggregating assemblages associated with microbialite and thrombolite, each from 30 to 100 mm high, which successively colonised former generations to create stacked laminar or columnar reef frameworks. C. riemkeae individuals show budding, multiple, radiating attachment sites and cementation between individuals. Isolated Namacalathus either intergrew with C. riemkeae or formed dense, monospecific aggregations succeeding C. riemkeae frameworks, providing a potential example of environmentally mediated ecological succession. Cloudina and Namacalathus also grow cryptically, either as pendent aggregations from laminar crypt ceilings in microbial framework reefs or as clusters associated with thrombolite attached to neptunian dyke walls. These reefs are notable for their size, exceeding that of the succeeding Lower Cambrian archaeocyath-microbial communities. The repeated colonisation shown by C. riemkeae of former assemblages implies philopatric larval aggregation to colonise limited favourable substrates. As such, not only were skeletal metazoans more important contributors to reef building in the Ediacaran, but there were also more variable reef types with more complex ecologies, than previously thought. Such an abundance of inferred suspension feeders with biomineralised skeletons indicates the efficient exploitation of new resources, more active carbon removal with a strengthened energy flow between planktic and benthic realms, and the rise of biological control over benthic carbonate production. These mark the prelude to the Cambrian Explosion and the modernisation of the global carbon cycle.

  5. Reefs, sand and reef-like sand: A comparison of the benthic biodiversity of habitats in the Dutch Borkum Reef Grounds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coolen, Joop W. P.; Bos, Oscar G.; Glorius, Sander; Lengkeek, Wouter; Cuperus, Joël; van der Weide, Babeth; Agüera, Antonio

    2015-09-01

    Reefs play an important role in the distribution of species associated with hard substrates and are of value for biodiversity conservation. High densities of the habitat building annelid Lanice conchilega also increase local biodiversity. This study describes the benthic biodiversity of a rocky reef and its surrounding sand bottom with dense L. conchilega beds in the Borkum Reef Grounds, north of the island of Schiermonnikoog in the Dutch North Sea. A side-scan sonar survey revealed distinct seabed areas with high acoustic reflections, indicating the presence of hard substrate on the sandy seafloor. To ground truth the side-scan sonar data and make an inventory of the biodiversity of the observed habitats, a multi-method sampling approach (box corer, SCUBA airlift sampler and visual transects, drop-down camera) was used. This revealed (1) rocky reefs: a combination of gravel, stones and rocks; (2) individual rocks in a sandy environment; (3) sand with dense L. conchilega beds (> 1500 ind·m- 2) and (4) sand bottom habitat. A total of 193 taxa were found with many unique species per habitat. Species richness was significantly higher on sand when compared to the rocky reef (NB-GLM; p = 0.006), caused by the presence of dense L. conchilega beds (Poisson GLM; p < 0.001). Including dense L. conchilega beds as an additional habitat showed that these held a higher species richness than the rocky reefs (NB-GLM; p = 0.002), while sand without dense L. conchilega beds did not (NB-GLM; p = 0.14). Since the rocky reefs were present on a sandy bottom, the local biodiversity more than doubled with the presence of rocky reefs. The nMDS plot clearly separated the sand and rocky reef communities and also showed a clustering of dense L. conchilega beds within the sand samples. Each method detected unique species, demonstrating the value of a multi-method approach compared to e.g. box coring alone. This study identified several species previously unknown to the Borkum Reefs Grounds

  6. Fatty acid profiles of benthic environment associated with artificial reefs in subtropical Hong Kong.

    PubMed

    Cheung, Siu Gin; Wai, Ho Yin; Shin, Paul K S

    2010-02-01

    Artificial reefs can enhance habitat heterogeneity, especially in seabed degraded by bottom-dredging and trawling. However, the trophodynamics of such reef systems are not well understood. This study provided baseline data on trophic relationships in the benthic environment associated with artificial reefs in late spring and mid summer of subtropical Hong Kong, using fatty acid profiles as an indicator. Data from sediments collected at the reef base, materials from sediment traps deployed on top and bottom of the reefs, total particulate matter from the water column and oyster tissues from reef surface were subjected to principal component analysis. Results showed variations of fatty acid profiles in the total particulate matter, upper sediment trap and oyster tissue samples collected in the two samplings, indicating seasonal, trophodynamic changes within the reef system. The wastes produced by fish aggregating at the reefs can also contribute a source of biodeposits to the nearby benthic environment.

  7. Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Effects of Changes in the Spectral Quality and Quantity of the Underwater Light Field and Elevated Temperatures on Small Scale (0.01 to 0.1 m) Optical Properties of Corals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1998-01-01

    1 Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Effects of Changes in the Spectral Quality and Quantity of the Underwater...Properties (CoBOP) project is directed at understanding the optical properties of coastal benthic communities in general, and in particular, coral reefs . Coral ...benthos. The scientific objectives of my project are: 1. to attain optical closure for coral reef communities 2. to understand the causes of benthic

  8. Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Effects of Changes in the Spectral Quality and Quantity of the Underwater Light Field and Elevated Temperatures on Small Scale (0.01 to 0.1 m) Optical Properties of Corals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1997-09-30

    1 Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Effects of Changes in the Spectral Quality and Quantity of the Underwater...Properties (CoBOP) project is directed at understanding the optical properties of coastal benthic communities in general, and in particular, coral reefs . Coral ...benthos. The scientific objectives of my project are: 1. to attain optical closure for coral reef communities 2. to understand the causes of benthic

  9. Dynamics of coral reef benthic assemblages of the Abrolhos Bank, eastern Brazil: inferences on natural and anthropogenic drivers.

    PubMed

    Francini-Filho, Ronaldo B; Coni, Ericka O C; Meirelles, Pedro M; Amado-Filho, Gilberto M; Thompson, Fabiano L; Pereira-Filho, Guilherme H; Bastos, Alex C; Abrantes, Douglas P; Ferreira, Camilo M; Gibran, Fernando Z; Güth, Arthur Z; Sumida, Paulo Y G; Oliveira, Nara L; Kaufman, Les; Minte-Vera, Carolina V; Moura, Rodrigo L

    2013-01-01

    The Abrolhos Bank (eastern Brazil) encompasses the largest and richest coral reefs of the South Atlantic. Coral reef benthic assemblages of the region were monitored from 2003 to 2008. Two habitats (pinnacles' tops and walls) were sampled per site with 3-10 sites sampled within different reef areas. Different methodologies were applied in two distinct sampling periods: 2003-2005 and 2006-2008. Spatial coverage and taxonomic resolution were lower in the former than in the latter period. Benthic assemblages differed markedly in the smallest spatial scale, with greater differences recorded between habitats. Management regimes and biomass of fish functional groups (roving and territorial herbivores) had minor influences on benthic assemblages. These results suggest that local environmental factors such as light, depth and substrate inclination exert a stronger influence on the structure of benthic assemblages than protection from fishing. Reef walls of unprotected coastal reefs showed highest coral cover values, with a major contribution of Montastraea cavernosa (a sediment resistant species that may benefit from low light levels). An overall negative relationship between fleshy macroalgae and slow-growing reef-building organisms (i.e. scleractinians and crustose calcareous algae) was recorded, suggesting competition between these organisms. The opposite trend (i.e. positive relationships) was recorded for turf algae and the two reef-building organisms, suggesting beneficial interactions and/or co-occurrence mediated by unexplored factors. Turf algae cover increased across the region between 2006 and 2008, while scleractinian cover showed no change. The need of a continued and standardized monitoring program, aimed at understanding drivers of change in community patterns, as well as to subsidize sound adaptive conservation and management measures, is highlighted.

  10. Benthic metabolic feedbacks to carbonate chemistry on coral reefs:implications for ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Price, N.; Rohwer, F. L.; Stuart, S. A.; Andersson, A.; Smith, J.

    2012-12-01

    The metabolic activity of resident organisms can cause spatio-temporal variability in carbonate chemistry within the benthic boundary layer, and thus potentially buffer the global impacts of ocean acidification. But, little is known about the capacity for particular species assemblages to contribute to natural daily variability in carbonate chemistry. We encapsulated replicate areas (~3m2) of reef across six Northern Line Islands in the central Pacific for 24 hrs to quantify feedbacks to carbonate chemistry within the benthic boundary layer from community metabolism. Underneath each 'tent', we quantified relative abundance and biomass of each species of corals and algae. We coupled high temporal resolution time series data on the natural diurnal variability in pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature (using autonomous sensors) with resident organisms' net community calcification and productivity rates (using change in total dissolved carbon and total alkalinity over time) to examine feedbacks from reef metabolism to boundary layer carbonate chemistry. These reefs experienced large ranges in pH (> 0.2 amplitude) each day, similar to the magnitude of 'acidification' expected over the next century. Daily benthic pH, pCO2, and aragonite saturation state (Ωaragonite) were contrasted with seasonal threshold values estimated from open ocean climatological data extrapolated at each island to determine relative inter-island feedbacks. Diurnal amplitude in pH, pCO2, and Ωaragonite at each island was dependent upon the resident species assemblage of the benthos and was particularly reliant upon the biomass, productivity, and calcification rate of Halimeda. Net primary productivity of fleshy algae (algal turfs and Lobophora spp.) predominated on degraded, inhabited islands where net community calcification was negligible. In contrast, the chemistry over reefs on 'pristine', uninhabited islands was driven largely by net calcification of calcareous algae and stony

  11. Seasonal sediment dynamics shape temperate bedrock reef communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Figurski, Jared D.; Freiwald, Jan; Lonhart, Steve I.; Storlazzi, Curt

    2016-01-01

    Mobilized seafloor sediment can impact benthic reef communities through burial, scour, and turbidity. These processes are ubiquitous in coastal oceans and, through their influence on the survival, fitness, and interactions of species, can alter the structure and function of benthic communities. In northern Monterey Bay, California, USA, as much as 30% of the seafloor is buried or exposed seasonally, making this an ideal location to test how subtidal temperate rocky reef communities vary in the presence and absence of chronic sediment-based disturbances. Designated dynamic plots were naturally inundated by sediment in summer (50 to 100% cover) and swept clean in winter, whereas designated stable plots remained free of sediment during our study. Multivariate analyses indicated significant differences in the structure of sessile and mobile communities between dynamic and stable reef habitats. For sessile species, community structure in disturbed plots was less variable in space and time than in stable plots due to the maintenance of an early successional state. In contrast, community structure of mobile species varied more in disturbed plots than in stable plots, reflecting how mobile species distribute in response to sediment dynamics. Some species were found only in these disturbed areas, suggesting that the spatial mosaic of disturbance could increase regional diversity. We discuss how the relative ability of species to tolerate disturbance at different life history stages and their ability to colonize habitat translate into community-level differences among habitats, and how this response varies between mobile and sessile communities.

  12. Assessment of net community production and calcification of a coral reef using a boundary layer approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takeshita, Yuichiro; McGillis, Wade; Briggs, Ellen M.; Carter, Amanda L.; Donham, Emily M.; Martz, Todd R.; Price, Nichole N.; Smith, Jennifer E.

    2016-08-01

    Coral reefs are threatened worldwide, and there is a need to develop new approaches to monitor reef health under natural conditions. Because simultaneous measurements of net community production (NCP) and net community calcification (NCC) are used as important indicators of reef health, tools are needed to assess them in situ. Here we present the Benthic Ecosystem and Acidification Measurement System (BEAMS) to provide the first fully autonomous approach capable of sustained, simultaneous measurements of reef NCP and NCC under undisturbed, natural conditions on time scales ranging from tens of minutes to weeks. BEAMS combines the chemical and velocity gradient in the benthic boundary layer to quantify flux from the benthos for a variety of parameters to measure NCP and NCC. Here BEAMS was used to measure these rates from two different sites with different benthic communities on the western reef terrace at Palmyra Atoll for 2 weeks in September 2014. Measurements were made every ˜15 min. The trends in metabolic rates were consistent with the benthic communities between the two sites with one dominated by fleshy organisms and the other dominated by calcifiers (degraded and healthy reefs, respectively). This demonstrates the potential utility of BEAMS as a reef health monitoring tool. NCP and NCC were tightly coupled on time scales of minutes to days, and light was the primary driver for the variability of daily integrated metabolic rates. No correlation between CO2 levels and daily integrated NCC was observed, indicating that NCC at these sites were not significantly affected by CO2.

  13. Coastal Benthic Optical Properties(CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Effects of Changes in the Spectral Quality and Quantity of the Underwater Light Field on Productivity and Fluorescence Yields of Hermatypic Corals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1997-09-30

    CoBOP) project is directed at understanding the optical properties of coastal benthic communities in general, and in particular, coral reefs. Coral ... reef communities are coastal areas of high water transparency which make them ideal systems to study optical signatures originating from the benthos. The

  14. Biogeochemical responses following coral mass spawning on the Great Barrier Reef: pelagic-benthic coupling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wild, C.; Jantzen, C.; Struck, U.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Huettel, M.

    2008-03-01

    This study quantified how the pulse of organic matter from the release of coral gametes triggered a chain of pelagic and benthic processes during an annual mass spawning event on the Australian Great Barrier Reef. Particulate organic matter (POM) concentrations in reef waters increased by threefold to 11-fold the day after spawning and resulted in a stimulation of pelagic oxygen consumption rates that lasted for at least 1 week. Water column microbial communities degraded the organic carbon of gametes of the broadcast-spawning coral Acropora millepora at a rate of >15% h-1, which is about three times faster than the degradation rate measured for larvae of the brooding coral Stylophora pistillata. Stable isotope signatures of POM in the water column reflected the fast transfer of organic matter from coral gametes into higher levels of the food chain, and the amount of POM reaching the seafloor immediately increased after coral spawning and then tailed-off in the next 2 weeks. Short-lasting phytoplankton blooms developed within a few days after the spawning event, indicating a prompt recycling of nutrients released through the degradation of spawning products. These data show the profound effects of coral mass spawning on the reef community and demonstrate the tight recycling of nutrients in this oligotrophic ecosystem.

  15. Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Barott, Katie L; Rohwer, Forest L

    2012-12-01

    Recent work has shown that hydrophilic and hydrophobic organic matter (OM) from algae disrupts the function of the coral holobiont and promotes the invasion of opportunistic pathogens, leading to coral morbidity and mortality. Here we refer to these dynamics as the (3)DAM [dissolved organic matter (DOM), direct contact, disease, algae and microbes] model. There is considerable complexity in coral-algae interactions; turf algae and macroalgae promote heterotrophic microbial overgrowth of coral, macroalgae also directly harm the corals via hydrophobic OM, whereas crustose coralline algae generally encourage benign microbial communities. In addition, complex flow patterns transport OM and pathogens from algae to downstream corals, and direct algal contact enhances their delivery. These invisible players (microbes, viruses, and OM) are important drivers of coral reefs because they have non-linear responses to disturbances and are the first to change in response to perturbations, providing near real-time trajectories for a coral reef, a vital metric for conservation and restoration.

  16. Benthic primary production in an upwelling-influenced coral reef, Colombian Caribbean

    PubMed Central

    Bayraktarov, Elisa; Hauffe, Torsten; Pizarro, Valeria; Wilke, Thomas; Wild, Christian

    2014-01-01

    In Tayrona National Natural Park (Colombian Caribbean), abiotic factors such as light intensity, water temperature, and nutrient availability are subjected to high temporal variability due to seasonal coastal upwelling. These factors are the major drivers controlling coral reef primary production as one of the key ecosystem services. This offers the opportunity to assess the effects of abiotic factors on reef productivity. We therefore quantified primary net (Pn) and gross production (Pg) of the dominant local primary producers (scleractinian corals, macroalgae, algal turfs, crustose coralline algae, and microphytobenthos) at a water current/wave-exposed and-sheltered site in an exemplary bay of Tayrona National Natural Park. A series of short-term incubations was conducted to quantify O2 fluxes of the different primary producers during non-upwelling and the upwelling event 2011/2012, and generalized linear models were used to analyze group-specific O2 production, their contribution to benthic O2 fluxes, and total daily benthic O2 production. At the organism level, scleractinian corals showed highest Pn and Pg rates during non-upwelling (16 and 19 mmol O2 m−2 specimen area h−1), and corals and algal turfs dominated the primary production during upwelling (12 and 19 mmol O2 m−2 specimen area h−1, respectively). At the ecosystem level, corals contributed most to total Pn and Pg during non-upwelling, while during upwelling, corals contributed most to Pn and Pg only at the exposed site and macroalgae at the sheltered site, respectively. Despite the significant spatial and temporal differences in individual productivity of the investigated groups and their different contribution to reef productivity, differences for daily ecosystem productivity were only present for Pg at exposed with higher O2 fluxes during non-upwelling compared to upwelling. Our findings therefore indicate that total benthic primary productivity of local autotrophic reef communities is

  17. Relationships between benthic cover, current strength, herbivory, and a fisheries closure in Glovers Reef Atoll, Belize

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McClanahan, T.; Karnauskas, M.

    2011-03-01

    Benthic cover, current strengths, and fish abundance and diversity were examined on 150 lagoonal patch reefs and mapped to determine their distribution, inter-relationships, and relationship to the fisheries closure in Glovers Reef Atoll. Current strength was highest at both the northern and southern ends of the atoll and largely controlled by local wind and weakly by tidal forcing. Benthic functional group distributions varied throughout the atoll and had distinct areas of dominance. In contrast, dominance of coral species was weaker, reflecting the lost cover and zonation of Acropora, Porites, and Montastraea that were reported in the 1970s. Hard and soft corals dominated the windward rim, while the central and leeward lagoon had lower current strengths and sea grass and fleshy green algae were relatively more abundant. Brown erect algae were relatively more common in the north and calcifying green and red algae the southern ends of the atoll. Only Montastraea- Agaricia agaricites distributions were similar to reports from the 1970s with high relative dominance in the southern and northeast atoll. The central-northern zone, which was described as an Acropora zone in the 1970s, was not recognizable, and Porites porites, P. astreoides, Millepora alcicornis, and Favia fragum were the most abundant species during this survey . Hard and soft coral cover abundance declined away from the reef rim and tidal channels and was associated with fast seawater turnover and high surgeonfish abundance. Consequently, the windward rim area has retained the most original and persistent hard-soft coral and surgeonfish community and is considered a priority for future management, if the goal is to protect coral from fishing impacts.

  18. Effects of seawater acidification on a coral reef meiofauna community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sarmento, V. C.; Souza, T. P.; Esteves, A. M.; Santos, P. J. P.

    2015-09-01

    Despite the increasing risk that ocean acidification will modify benthic communities, great uncertainty remains about how this impact will affect the lower trophic levels, such as members of the meiofauna. A mesocosm experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of water acidification on a phytal meiofauna community from a coral reef. Community samples collected from the coral reef subtidal zone (Recife de Fora Municipal Marine Park, Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil), using artificial substrate units, were exposed to a control pH (ambient seawater) and to three levels of seawater acidification (pH reductions of 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 units below ambient) and collected after 15 and 30 d. After 30 d of exposure, major changes in the structure of the meiofauna community were observed in response to reduced pH. The major meiofauna groups showed divergent responses to acidification. Harpacticoida and Polychaeta densities did not show significant differences due to pH. Nematoda, Ostracoda, Turbellaria, and Tardigrada exhibited their highest densities in low-pH treatments (especially at the pH reduction of 0.6 units, pH 7.5), while harpacticoid nauplii were strongly negatively affected by low pH. This community-based mesocosm study supports previous suggestions that ocean acidification induces important changes in the structure of marine benthic communities. Considering the importance of meiofauna in the food web of coral reef ecosystems, the results presented here demonstrate that the trophic functioning of coral reefs is seriously threatened by ocean acidification.

  19. Field Spectroscopy And Spectral Analysis Of Caribbean Scleractinian Reef Corals And Related Benthic Biota

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Torres-Perez, J. L.; Guild, L. S.; Armstrong, R.; Corredor, J. E.; Polanco, R.; Zuluaga-Montero, A. B.

    2013-05-01

    Coral reefs are highly heterogenic ecosystems with a plethora of photosynthetic organisms forming most of the benthic communities. Usually coral reef benthos is a composite of reef corals, different groups of algae, seagrasses, sandy bottoms, dead rubble, and even mangrove forests living in a relatively small area. The remote characterization of these important tropical ecosystems represents a challenge to scientists, particularly due to the similarity of the spectral signatures among some of these components. As such, we examined the similarities and differences between nine Scleractinian Caribbean shallow-water reef corals' spectral reflectance curves. Samples were also collected from each species for pigment analysis using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Reflectance curves were obtained with the aid of a GER-1500 hand-held field spectroradiometer enclosed in an underwater housing. Our findings showed that even though most of the pigmentation was directly related to the relationship of corals with their symbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae), the presence of other endolithic photosynthetic organisms can also contribute to the light absorption of corals and, hence, the reflectance spectra of each species. Also, the relative contribution of chlorophylls vs. carotenes or xanthophylls depends on the coral species with some species relying more on Chlorophyll a and other species relying on Chlorophyl c2 and Peridinin with a small Chlorophyll a component. Pigments associated with the xanthophyll cycle of dinoflagellates (Diadinoxanthin and Diatoxanthin) were detected in most species. Pigments typical of endolithic organisms such as Zeaxanthin, Fucoxanthin, Violaxanthin and Siphonaxanthin were also detected in some coral species. The influence of major pigments on the reflectance curve was evidenced with a 2nd derivative analysis. This could be used to discriminate among most species. Further, an analysis of the integration of the area under the

  20. Ecology of the south Florida coral reefs: a community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Jaap, W.C.

    1984-08-01

    An overview of coral reef research in southern Florida is provided as a prelude to a genuine description of the coral reef ecosystem in the Florida Keys and surrounding environments. Coral reef community types, reef benthos, plankton and reef fish are given specific treatment. Coral reef ecology and management are described. 27 figs., 31 tabs.

  1. Effects of different disturbance types on butterflyfish communities of Australia's Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emslie, M. J.; Pratchett, M. S.; Cheal, A. J.

    2011-06-01

    The effects of disturbances on coral reef fishes have been extensively documented but most studies have relied on opportunistic sampling following single events. Few studies have the spatial and temporal extent to directly compare the effects of multiple disturbances over a large geographic scale. Here, benthic communities and butterflyfishes on 47 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef were surveyed annually to examine their responses to physical disturbances (cyclones and storms) and/or biological disturbances (bleaching, outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish and white syndrome disease). The effects on benthic and butterflyfish communities varied among reefs depending on the structure and geographical setting of each community, on the size and type of disturbance, and on the disturbance history of that reef. There was considerable variability in the response of butterflyfishes to different disturbances: physical disturbances (occurring with or without biological disturbances) produced substantial declines in abundance, whilst biological disturbances occurring on their own did not. Butterflyfishes with the narrowest feeding preferences, such as obligate corallivores, were always the species most affected. The response of generalist feeders varied with the extent of damage. Wholesale changes to the butterflyfish community were only recorded where structural complexity of reefs was drastically reduced. The observed effects of disturbances on butterflyfishes coupled with predictions of increased frequency and intensity of disturbances sound a dire warning for the future of butterflyfish communities in particular and reef fish communities in general.

  2. Benthic assemblages on artificial reefs in the northwestern Adriatic Sea: does structure type and age matter?

    PubMed

    Ponti, Massimo; Fava, Federica; Perlini, Rossella Angela; Giovanardi, Otello; Abbiati, Marco

    2015-03-01

    The use of artificial reefs is on the rise worldwide. While their fish aggregating effects are well known, the epibenthic assemblages have been poorly investigated. Two types of artificial reefs (pyramids of concrete slabs and bundles of concrete tubes) have been deployed out of the Po River Delta in 2006 and 2010. The epibenthic assemblages were investigated in 2009 and 2012. Benthic assemblages on both structure typologies were dominated by species tolerating high sedimentation rates. Dissimilarities were found among assemblages with different ages, and, in less extend, between reef typologies. Colonisation by Mytilus galloprovincialis and other major space occupiers did not follow a clear succession pattern and was not affected by reef typology. Species colonisation was likely driven by variability in environmental conditions and recruitment processes rather than by reef typology. This study suggests that environmental features of the deployment sites should be carefully considered in planning and designing artificial reefs, especially in eutrophic and turbid coastal waters, exposed to high river loads.

  3. Influence of stability and fragmentation of a worm-reef on benthic macrofauna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Godet, Laurent; Fournier, Jérôme; Jaffré, Mikaël; Desroy, Nicolas

    2011-05-01

    In coastal areas, reef-builder worms often are bio-engineers by structuring their physical and biological environment. Many studies showed that this engineering role is determined by the densities of the engineer species itself, the highest densities approximately corresponding to the most stable areas from a sedimentological point of view, and hosting the richest and the most diverse benthic fauna. Here, we tested the potential influence of the spatio-temporal dynamics and the spatial fragmentation of one of the largest European intertidal reefs generated by the marine worm Lanice conchilega (Pallas, 1766) (Annelida, Polychaeta) on the associated benthic macrofauna. We demonstrated that the worm densities do have a significant positive role on the abundance, biomass, species richness and species diversity of the benthic macrofauna and that the reef stability also significantly influences the biomass and species diversity. Moreover, the reef fragmentation has significant negative effects on the abundance, biomass and species richness. In addition to L. conchilega densities, the stability and the spatial fragmentation of the reef also significantly structure the associated benthic assemblages. This study demonstrates the interest of "benthoscape ecology" in understanding the role played by marine engineer species from a spatial point of view.

  4. Baseline Assessment of Mesophotic Reefs of the Vitória-Trindade Seamount Chain Based on Water Quality, Microbial Diversity, Benthic Cover and Fish Biomass Data

    PubMed Central

    Meirelles, Pedro M.; Amado-Filho, Gilberto M.; Pereira-Filho, Guilherme H.; Pinheiro, Hudson T.; de Moura, Rodrigo L.; Joyeux, Jean-Christophe; Mazzei, Eric F.; Bastos, Alex C.; Edwards, Robert A.; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Paranhos, Rodolfo; Santos, Eidy O.; Iida, Tetsuya; Gotoh, Kazuyoshi; Nakamura, Shota; Sawabe, Tomoo; Rezende, Carlos E.; Gadelha, Luiz M. R.; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo B.; Thompson, Cristiane; Thompson, Fabiano L.

    2015-01-01

    Seamounts are considered important sources of biodiversity and minerals. However, their biodiversity and health status are not well understood; therefore, potential conservation problems are unknown. The mesophotic reefs of the Vitória-Trindade Seamount Chain (VTC) were investigated via benthic community and fish surveys, metagenomic and water chemistry analyses, and water microbial abundance estimations. The VTC is a mosaic of reef systems and includes fleshy algae dominated rhodolith beds, crustose coralline algae (CCA) reefs, and turf algae dominated rocky reefs of varying health levels. Macro-carnivores and larger fish presented higher biomass at the CCA reefs (4.4 kg per frame) than in the rhodolith beds and rocky reefs (0.0 to 0.1 kg per frame). A larger number of metagenomic sequences identified as primary producers (e.g., Chlorophyta and Streptophyta) were found at the CCA reefs. However, the rocky reefs contained more diseased corals (>90%) than the CCA reefs (~40%) and rhodolith beds (~10%). Metagenomic analyses indicated a heterotrophic and fast-growing microbiome in rocky reef corals that may possibly lead to unhealthy conditions possibly enhanced by environmental features (e.g. light stress and high loads of labile dissolved organic carbon). VTC mounts represent important hotspots of biodiversity that deserve further conservation actions. PMID:26090804

  5. Baseline Assessment of Mesophotic Reefs of the Vitória-Trindade Seamount Chain Based on Water Quality, Microbial Diversity, Benthic Cover and Fish Biomass Data.

    PubMed

    Meirelles, Pedro M; Amado-Filho, Gilberto M; Pereira-Filho, Guilherme H; Pinheiro, Hudson T; de Moura, Rodrigo L; Joyeux, Jean-Christophe; Mazzei, Eric F; Bastos, Alex C; Edwards, Robert A; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Paranhos, Rodolfo; Santos, Eidy O; Iida, Tetsuya; Gotoh, Kazuyoshi; Nakamura, Shota; Sawabe, Tomoo; Rezende, Carlos E; Gadelha, Luiz M R; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo B; Thompson, Cristiane; Thompson, Fabiano L

    2015-01-01

    Seamounts are considered important sources of biodiversity and minerals. However, their biodiversity and health status are not well understood; therefore, potential conservation problems are unknown. The mesophotic reefs of the Vitória-Trindade Seamount Chain (VTC) were investigated via benthic community and fish surveys, metagenomic and water chemistry analyses, and water microbial abundance estimations. The VTC is a mosaic of reef systems and includes fleshy algae dominated rhodolith beds, crustose coralline algae (CCA) reefs, and turf algae dominated rocky reefs of varying health levels. Macro-carnivores and larger fish presented higher biomass at the CCA reefs (4.4 kg per frame) than in the rhodolith beds and rocky reefs (0.0 to 0.1 kg per frame). A larger number of metagenomic sequences identified as primary producers (e.g., Chlorophyta and Streptophyta) were found at the CCA reefs. However, the rocky reefs contained more diseased corals (>90%) than the CCA reefs (~40%) and rhodolith beds (~10%). Metagenomic analyses indicated a heterotrophic and fast-growing microbiome in rocky reef corals that may possibly lead to unhealthy conditions possibly enhanced by environmental features (e.g. light stress and high loads of labile dissolved organic carbon). VTC mounts represent important hotspots of biodiversity that deserve further conservation actions.

  6. Linking Demographic Processes of Juvenile Corals to Benthic Recovery Trajectories in Two Common Reef Habitats

    PubMed Central

    Doropoulos, Christopher; Ward, Selina; Roff, George; González-Rivero, Manuel; Mumby, Peter J.

    2015-01-01

    Tropical reefs are dynamic ecosystems that host diverse coral assemblages with different life-history strategies. Here, we quantified how juvenile (<50 mm) coral demographics influenced benthic coral structure in reef flat and reef slope habitats on the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Permanent plots and settlement tiles were monitored every six months for three years in each habitat. These environments exhibited profound differences: the reef slope was characterised by 95% less macroalgal cover, and twice the amount of available settlement substrata and rates of coral settlement than the reef flat. Consequently, post-settlement coral survival in the reef slope was substantially higher than that of the reef flat, and resulted in a rapid increase in coral cover from 7 to 31% in 2.5 years. In contrast, coral cover on the reef flat remained low (~10%), whereas macroalgal cover increased from 23 to 45%. A positive stock-recruitment relationship was found in brooding corals in both habitats; however, brooding corals were not directly responsible for the observed changes in coral cover. Rather, the rapid increase on the reef slope resulted from high abundances of broadcast spawning Acropora recruits. Incorporating our results into transition matrix models demonstrated that most corals escape mortality once they exceed 50 mm, but for smaller corals mortality in brooders was double those of spawners (i.e. acroporids and massive corals). For corals on the reef flat, sensitivity analysis demonstrated that growth and mortality of larger juveniles (21–50 mm) highly influenced population dynamics; whereas the recruitment, growth and mortality of smaller corals (<20 mm) had the highest influence on reef slope population dynamics. Our results provide insight into the population dynamics and recovery trajectories in disparate reef habitats, and highlight the importance of acroporid recruitment in driving rapid increases in coral cover following large-scale perturbation

  7. Linking demographic processes of juvenile corals to benthic recovery trajectories in two common reef habitats.

    PubMed

    Doropoulos, Christopher; Ward, Selina; Roff, George; González-Rivero, Manuel; Mumby, Peter J

    2015-01-01

    Tropical reefs are dynamic ecosystems that host diverse coral assemblages with different life-history strategies. Here, we quantified how juvenile (<50 mm) coral demographics influenced benthic coral structure in reef flat and reef slope habitats on the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Permanent plots and settlement tiles were monitored every six months for three years in each habitat. These environments exhibited profound differences: the reef slope was characterised by 95% less macroalgal cover, and twice the amount of available settlement substrata and rates of coral settlement than the reef flat. Consequently, post-settlement coral survival in the reef slope was substantially higher than that of the reef flat, and resulted in a rapid increase in coral cover from 7 to 31% in 2.5 years. In contrast, coral cover on the reef flat remained low (~10%), whereas macroalgal cover increased from 23 to 45%. A positive stock-recruitment relationship was found in brooding corals in both habitats; however, brooding corals were not directly responsible for the observed changes in coral cover. Rather, the rapid increase on the reef slope resulted from high abundances of broadcast spawning Acropora recruits. Incorporating our results into transition matrix models demonstrated that most corals escape mortality once they exceed 50 mm, but for smaller corals mortality in brooders was double those of spawners (i.e. acroporids and massive corals). For corals on the reef flat, sensitivity analysis demonstrated that growth and mortality of larger juveniles (21-50 mm) highly influenced population dynamics; whereas the recruitment, growth and mortality of smaller corals (<20 mm) had the highest influence on reef slope population dynamics. Our results provide insight into the population dynamics and recovery trajectories in disparate reef habitats, and highlight the importance of acroporid recruitment in driving rapid increases in coral cover following large-scale perturbation in

  8. Stable isotope analysis reveals community-level variation in fish trophodynamics across a fringing coral reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wyatt, A. S. J.; Waite, A. M.; Humphries, S.

    2012-12-01

    In contrast to trophodynamic variations, the marked zonation in physical and biological processes across coral reefs and the concomitant changes in habitat and community structure are well documented. In this study, we demonstrate consistent spatial changes in the community-level trophodynamics of 46 species of fish across the fringing Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, using tissue stable isotope and fatty acid analyses. Increasing nitrogen (δ15N) and decreasing carbon (δ13C) isotope ratios in the tissues of herbivores, planktivores and carnivores with increasing proximity to the ocean were indicative of increased reliance on oceanic productivity. In contrast, detritivores and corallivores displayed no spatial change in δ15N or δ13C, indicative of the dependence on reef-derived material across the reef. Higher δ13C, as well as increased benthic- and bacterial-specific fatty acids, suggested reliance on reef-derived production increased in back-reef habitats. Genus-level analyses supported community- and trophic group-level trends, with isotope modelling of species from five genera ( Abudefduf sexfasciatus, Chromis viridis, Dascyllus spp., Pomacentrus spp. and Stegastes spp.), demonstrating declining access to oceanic zooplankton and, in the case of Pomacentrus spp. and Stegastes spp., a switch to herbivory in the back-reef. The spatial changes in fish trophodynamics suggest that the relative roles of oceanic and reef-derived nutrients warrant more detailed consideration in reef-level community ecology.

  9. Floating mucus aggregates derived from benthic microorganisms on rocky intertidal reefs: Potential as food sources for benthic animals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tamura, Y.; Tsuchiya, M.

    2011-09-01

    Mucus films, flocs or foams consisting of fine sand, algae and detritus frequently occur in the surface waters of rocky intertidal reef flats during incoming tide. These masses are referred to as mucus aggregates. We examined the developmental process of mucus aggregates and their abundance, distribution, migration and trophic composition. The trophic composition of mucus aggregates was then compared to those of sediments to evaluate their potential nutritional value for benthic animals. The organic matter content, chlorophyll a concentration, microalgal density and bacteria-derived fatty acid contents of mucus aggregates were higher than those observed in sediment, suggesting that mucus aggregates contain not only high levels of organic matter but also dense concentrations of microalgae and bacteria; therefore, mucus aggregates may serve as a qualitatively more energetic food source for benthic fauna compared to sediments. Benthic diatoms were the most abundant organisms in mucus aggregates. Large numbers of diatoms were trapped in fine mineral particles and mucilage-like strings, suggesting that a portion of the mucus is secreted by these benthic microalgae. Mucus aggregate accounted for only 0.01-3.9% of the daily feeding requirements of the dominant detritivore, Ophiocoma scolopendrina (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) over the entire sampling area. In contrast, for the species population on the back reef, where mucus aggregates ultimately accumulate, mucus aggregates provided from 0.4 to 113.3% of food for this species. These results suggest that mucus aggregate availability varies spatiotemporally and that they do not always provide adequate food sources for O. scolopendrina populations.

  10. Coral-associated bacterial communities on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Ceh, Janja; Van Keulen, Mike; Bourne, David G

    2011-01-01

    Coral-associated microbial communities from three coral species (Pocillopora damicornis, Acropora tenuis and Favites abdita) were examined every 3 months (January, March, June, October) over a period of 1 year on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Tissue from corals was collected throughout the year and additional sampling of coral mucus and seawater samples was performed in January. Tissue samples were also obtained in October from P. damicornis coral colonies on Rottnest Island off Perth, 1200 km south of Ningaloo Reef, to provide comparisons between coral-microbial associates in different locations. The community structures of the coral-associated microorganisms were analysed using phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries, which demonstrated highly diverse microbial profiles among all the coral species sampled. Principal component analysis revealed that samples grouped according to time and not species, indicating that coral-microbial associations may be a result of environmental drivers such as oceanographic characteristics, benthic community structure and temperature. Tissue samples from P. damicornis at Rottnest Island revealed similarities in bacteria to the samples at Ningaloo Reef. This study highlights that coral-associated microbial communities are highly diverse; however, the complex interactions that determine the stability of these associations are not necessarily dependent on coral host specificity.

  11. A geospatial assessment of the relationship between reef flat community calcium carbonate production and wave energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamylton, S. M.; Pescud, A.; Leon, J. X.; Callaghan, D. P.

    2013-12-01

    The ability of benthic communities inhabiting coral reefs to produce calcium carbonate underpins the development of reef platforms and associated sedimentary landforms, as well as the fixation of inorganic carbon and buffering of diurnal pH fluctuations in ocean surface waters. Quantification of the relationship between reef flat community calcium carbonate production and wave energy provides an empirical basis for understanding and managing this functionally important process. This study employs geospatial techniques across the reef platform at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, to (1) map the distribution and estimate the total magnitude of reef community carbonate production and (2) empirically ascertain the influence of wave energy on community carbonate production. A World-View-2 satellite image and a field data set of 364 ground referencing points are employed, along with data on physical reef characteristics (e.g. bathymetry, rugosity) to map and validate the spatial distribution of the four major community carbonate producers (live coral, carbonate sand, green calcareous macroalgae and encrusting calcified algae) across the reef platform. Carbonate production is estimated for the complete reef platform from the composition of these community components. A synoptic model of wave energy is developed using the Simulating WAves Nearshore (SWAN) two-dimensional model for the entire reef platform. The relationship between locally derived measures of carbonate production and wave energy is evaluated at both the global scale and local scale along spatial gradients of wave energy traversing the reef platform. A wave energy threshold is identified, below which carbonate production levels appear to increase with wave energy and above which mechanical forcing reduces community production. This implies an optimal set of hydrodynamic conditions characterized by wave energy levels of approximately 300 J m-2, providing an empirical basis for management of potential changes

  12. Biological community structure on patch reefs in Biscayne National Park, FL, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Grober-Dunsmore, Rikki; Brock, John C.; Hickey, T. Don

    2010-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystem management benefits from continual quantitative assessment of the resources being managed, plus assessment of factors that affect distribution patterns of organisms in the ecosystem. In this study, we investigate the relationships among physical, benthic, and fish variables in an effort to help explain the distribution patterns of organisms on patch reefs within Biscayne National Park, FL, USA. We visited a total of 196 randomly selected sampling stations on 12 shallow (<10 m) patch reefs and measured physical variables (e.g., substratum rugosity, substratum type) and benthic and fish community variables. We also incorporated data on substratum rugosity collected remotely via airborne laser surveying (Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar—EAARL). Across all stations, only weak relationships were found between physical, benthic cover, and fish assemblage variables. Much of the variance was attributable to a “reef effect,” meaning that community structure and organism abundances were more variable at stations among reefs than within reefs. However, when the reef effect was accounted for and removed statistically, patterns were detected. Within reefs, juvenile scarids were most abundant at stations with high coverage of the fleshy macroalgae Dictyota spp., and the calcified alga Halimeda tuna was most abundant at stations with low EAARL rugosity. Explanations for the overwhelming importance of “reef” in explaining variance in our dataset could include the stochastic arrangement of organisms on patch reefs related to variable larval recruitment in space and time and/or strong historical effects due to patchy disturbances (e.g., hurricanes, fishing), as well as legacy effects of prior residents (“priority” effects).

  13. Biological Communities and Geomorphology of Patch Reefs in Biscayne National Park, Florida, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Brock, John C.; Grober-Dunsmore, Rikki; Hickey, T. Don; Bonito, Victor; Bracone, Jeremy E.; Wright, C. Wayne

    2008-01-01

    Coral reef ecosystem management benefits from continual, quantitative assessment of the resources being managed, plus assessment of factors that affect distribution patterns of organisms in the ecosystem. In this study, we investigated the relationships among physical, benthic, and fish variables in effort to help explain the distribution patterns of ecologically and economically important species on twelve patch reefs within Biscayne National Park (BNP), Florida, U.S.A. We visited 196 randomly-located sampling stations across twelve shallow (< 10m) patch reefs, using SCUBA to conduct our surveys. We measured physical variables (e.g., substratum type), estimated the percent cover of benthic community members (e.g., coral, algae), and counted and estimated mean size for each fish species observed. We also used high-density bathymetric data collected remotely via airborne laser surveying (Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL)) to calculate rugosity (bumpiness) of the reef habitat. Here we present our findings visually by graphing our quantitative community and physical structure data simultaneously in a GIS map format. You will see that biological organisms arrange themselves on each patch reef in a non-random manner. For example, many species of fish prefer to locate themselves in areas of the reef where the rugosity index is high. Rugose parts of the reef provide them with good hiding places from predators. These maps (and the data used to create them) are permanent records of the status of reef resources found on these twelve patch reefs in BNP as of September, 2003. The survey data found in the shapefile located on this CD product includes benthic percent cover data for algae, coral, encrusting invertebrates, and substratum type, in addition to gorgonian abundance and volume, total fish abundance and species richness, and specific counts for Acanthurids (surgeonfish), Scarids (parrotfish), Lutjanids (snappers), Haemulids (grunts), Serranids

  14. Benthic Primary Production Budget of a Caribbean Reef Lagoon (Puerto Morelos, Mexico)

    PubMed Central

    Naumann, Malik S.; Jantzen, Carin; Haas, Andreas F.; Iglesias-Prieto, Roberto; Wild, Christian

    2013-01-01

    High photosynthetic benthic primary production (P) represents a key ecosystem service provided by tropical coral reef systems. However, benthic P budgets of specific ecosystem compartments such as macrophyte-dominated reef lagoons are still scarce. To address this, we quantified individual and lagoon-wide net (Pn) and gross (Pg) primary production by all dominant functional groups of benthic primary producers in a typical macrophyte-dominated Caribbean reef lagoon near Puerto Morelos (Mexico) via measurement of O2 fluxes in incubation experiments. The photosynthetically active 3D lagoon surface area was quantified using conversion factors to allow extrapolation to lagoon-wide P budgets. Findings revealed that lagoon 2D benthic cover was primarily composed of sand-associated microphytobenthos (40%), seagrasses (29%) and macroalgae (27%), while seagrasses dominated the lagoon 3D surface area (84%). Individual Pg was highest for macroalgae and scleractinian corals (87 and 86 mmol O2 m−2 specimen area d−1, respectively), however seagrasses contributed highest (59%) to the lagoon-wide Pg. Macroalgae exhibited highest individual Pn rates, but seagrasses generated the largest fraction (51%) of lagoon-wide Pn. Individual R was highest for scleractinian corals and macroalgae, whereas seagrasses again provided the major lagoon-wide share (68%). These findings characterise the investigated lagoon as a net autotrophic coral reef ecosystem compartment revealing similar P compared to other macrophyte-dominated coastal environments such as seagrass meadows and macroalgae beds. Further, high lagoon-wide P (Pg: 488 and Pn: 181 mmol O2 m−2 lagoon area d−1) and overall Pg:R (1.6) indicate substantial benthic excess production within the Puerto Morelos reef lagoon and suggest the export of newly synthesised organic matter to surrounding ecosystems. PMID:24367570

  15. Organic matter degradation drives benthic cyanobacterial mat abundance on Caribbean coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Brocke, Hannah J; Polerecky, Lubos; de Beer, Dirk; Weber, Miriam; Claudet, Joachim; Nugues, Maggy M

    2015-01-01

    Benthic cyanobacterial mats (BCMs) are impacting coral reefs worldwide. However, the factors and mechanisms driving their proliferation are unclear. We conducted a multi-year survey around the Caribbean island of Curaçao, which revealed highest BCM abundance on sheltered reefs close to urbanised areas. Reefs with high BCM abundance were also characterised by high benthic cover of macroalgae and low cover of corals. Nutrient concentrations in the water-column were consistently low, but markedly increased just above substrata (both sandy and hard) covered with BCMs. This was true for sites with both high and low BCM coverage, suggesting that BCM growth is stimulated by a localised, substrate-linked release of nutrients from the microbial degradation of organic matter. This hypothesis was supported by a higher organic content in sediments on reefs with high BCM coverage, and by an in situ experiment which showed that BCMs grew within days on sediments enriched with organic matter (Spirulina). We propose that nutrient runoff from urbanised areas stimulates phototrophic blooms and enhances organic matter concentrations on the reef. This organic matter is transported by currents and settles on the seabed at sites with low hydrodynamics. Subsequently, nutrients released from the organic matter degradation fuel the growth of BCMs. Improved management of nutrients generated on land should lower organic loading of sediments and other benthos (e.g. turf and macroalgae) to reduce BCM proliferation on coral reefs.

  16. Organic Matter Degradation Drives Benthic Cyanobacterial Mat Abundance on Caribbean Coral Reefs

    PubMed Central

    Brocke, Hannah J.; Polerecky, Lubos; de Beer, Dirk; Weber, Miriam; Claudet, Joachim; Nugues, Maggy M.

    2015-01-01

    Benthic cyanobacterial mats (BCMs) are impacting coral reefs worldwide. However, the factors and mechanisms driving their proliferation are unclear. We conducted a multi-year survey around the Caribbean island of Curaçao, which revealed highest BCM abundance on sheltered reefs close to urbanised areas. Reefs with high BCM abundance were also characterised by high benthic cover of macroalgae and low cover of corals. Nutrient concentrations in the water-column were consistently low, but markedly increased just above substrata (both sandy and hard) covered with BCMs. This was true for sites with both high and low BCM coverage, suggesting that BCM growth is stimulated by a localised, substrate-linked release of nutrients from the microbial degradation of organic matter. This hypothesis was supported by a higher organic content in sediments on reefs with high BCM coverage, and by an in situ experiment which showed that BCMs grew within days on sediments enriched with organic matter (Spirulina). We propose that nutrient runoff from urbanised areas stimulates phototrophic blooms and enhances organic matter concentrations on the reef. This organic matter is transported by currents and settles on the seabed at sites with low hydrodynamics. Subsequently, nutrients released from the organic matter degradation fuel the growth of BCMs. Improved management of nutrients generated on land should lower organic loading of sediments and other benthos (e.g. turf and macroalgae) to reduce BCM proliferation on coral reefs. PMID:25941812

  17. Benthic Foraminifera as ecological indicators for water quality on the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uthicke, Sven; Nobes, Kristie

    2008-07-01

    Benthic foraminifera are established indicators for Water Quality (WQ) in Florida and the Caribbean. However, nearshore coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and other Pacific regions are also subjected to increased nutrient and sediment loads. Here, we investigate the use of benthic foraminifera as indicators to assess status and trends of WQ on GBR reefs. We quantified several sediment parameters and the foraminiferan assemblage composition on 20 reefs in four geographic regions of the GBR, and along a water column nutrient and turbidity gradient. Twenty-seven easily recognisable benthic foraminiferan taxa (>63 μm) were distinguished. All four geographic regions differed significantly ( p < 0.05, ANOSIM) in their assemblage composition, and a redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that sediment parameters only explained a small proportion of the variance in the assemblage composition. On nine reefs along a previously studied water quality gradient, foraminifera showed a distinct shift in assemblage composition towards larger symbiont-bearing taxa from turbid inner shelf towards clearer outer shelf reefs. A RDA separated symbiotic and aposymbiotic (heterotrophic) taxa. In addition, total suspended solid and water column chlorophyll a concentrations were negatively correlated, and optical depth and distance to the mainland were positively correlated, with the abundance of symbiont-bearing taxa. Several large foraminifera were identified as indicators for offshore, clear water conditions. In contrast, heterotrophic rotaliids and a species retaining plastids ( Elphidium sp.) where highly characteristic for low light, higher nutrient conditions. Application of the FORAM index to GBR assemblage composition showed a significant increase in the value of this index with increased distance from the mainland in the Whitsunday region ( r2 = 0.75, p < 0.001), and therefore with increasing light and decreased nutrient availability. We conclude that it will be possible to

  18. Re-evaluating the health of coral reef communities: baselines and evidence for human impacts across the central Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Jennifer E.; Brainard, Rusty; Carter, Amanda; Grillo, Saray; Edwards, Clinton; Harris, Jill; Lewis, Levi; Obura, David; Rohwer, Forest; Sala, Enric; Vroom, Peter S.; Sandin, Stuart

    2016-01-01

    Numerous studies have documented declines in the abundance of reef-building corals over the last several decades and in some but not all cases, phase shifts to dominance by macroalgae have occurred. These assessments, however, often ignore the remainder of the benthos and thus provide limited information on the present-day structure and function of coral reef communities. Here, using an unprecedentedly large dataset collected within the last 10 years across 56 islands spanning five archipelagos in the central Pacific, we examine how benthic reef communities differ in the presence and absence of human populations. Using islands as replicates, we examine whether benthic community structure is associated with human habitation within and among archipelagos and across latitude. While there was no evidence for coral to macroalgal phase shifts across our dataset we did find that the majority of reefs on inhabited islands were dominated by fleshy non-reef-building organisms (turf algae, fleshy macroalgae and non-calcifying invertebrates). By contrast, benthic communities from uninhabited islands were more variable but in general supported more calcifiers and active reef builders (stony corals and crustose coralline algae). Our results suggest that cumulative human impacts across the central Pacific may be causing a reduction in the abundance of reef builders resulting in island scale phase shifts to dominance by fleshy organisms. PMID:26740615

  19. Re-evaluating the health of coral reef communities: baselines and evidence for human impacts across the central Pacific.

    PubMed

    Smith, Jennifer E; Brainard, Rusty; Carter, Amanda; Grillo, Saray; Edwards, Clinton; Harris, Jill; Lewis, Levi; Obura, David; Rohwer, Forest; Sala, Enric; Vroom, Peter S; Sandin, Stuart

    2016-01-13

    Numerous studies have documented declines in the abundance of reef-building corals over the last several decades and in some but not all cases, phase shifts to dominance by macroalgae have occurred. These assessments, however, often ignore the remainder of the benthos and thus provide limited information on the present-day structure and function of coral reef communities. Here, using an unprecedentedly large dataset collected within the last 10 years across 56 islands spanning five archipelagos in the central Pacific, we examine how benthic reef communities differ in the presence and absence of human populations. Using islands as replicates, we examine whether benthic community structure is associated with human habitation within and among archipelagos and across latitude. While there was no evidence for coral to macroalgal phase shifts across our dataset we did find that the majority of reefs on inhabited islands were dominated by fleshy non-reef-building organisms (turf algae, fleshy macroalgae and non-calcifying invertebrates). By contrast, benthic communities from uninhabited islands were more variable but in general supported more calcifiers and active reef builders (stony corals and crustose coralline algae). Our results suggest that cumulative human impacts across the central Pacific may be causing a reduction in the abundance of reef builders resulting in island scale phase shifts to dominance by fleshy organisms.

  20. High dissolved organic carbon release by benthic cyanobacterial mats in a Caribbean reef ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brocke, Hannah J.; Wenzhoefer, Frank; de Beer, Dirk; Mueller, Benjamin; van Duyl, Fleur C.; Nugues, Maggy M.

    2015-03-01

    Benthic cyanobacterial mats (BCMs) are increasing in abundance on coral reefs worldwide. However, their impacts on biogeochemical cycling in the surrounding water and sediment are virtually unknown. By measuring chemical fluxes in benthic chambers placed over sediment covered by BCMs and sediment with BCMs removed on coral reefs in Curaçao, Southern Caribbean, we found that sediment covered by BCMs released 1.4 and 3.5 mmol C m-2 h-1 of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) during day and night, respectively. Conversely, sediment with BCMs removed took up DOC, with day and night uptake rates of 0.9 and 0.6 mmol C m-2 h-1. DOC release by BCMs was higher than reported rates for benthic algae (turf and macroalgae) and was estimated to represent 79% of the total DOC released over a 24 h diel cycle at our study site. The high nocturnal release of DOC by BCMs is most likely the result of anaerobic metabolism and degradation processes, as shown by high respiration rates at the mat surface during nighttime. We conclude that BCMs are significant sources of DOC. Their increased abundance on coral reefs will lead to increased DOC release into the water column, which is likely to have negative implications for reef health.

  1. Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Effects of Changes in the Spectral Quality and Quantity of the Underwater Light Field and Elevated Temperatures on Small Scale (0.01 to 0.1 m) Optical Properties of Corals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1999-09-30

    1 Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Effects of Changes in the Spectral Quality and Quantity of the Underwater...relate bottom reflectance measurements of coral reefs to hyperspectral remote sensing reflectance measurements made from buoys or airborne platforms...general, and in particular, coral reefs . Coral reef communities are coastal areas of high water transparency which make them ideal systems to study

  2. The importance of large benthic foraminifera to reef island sediment budget and dynamics at Raine Island, northern Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dawson, John L.; Smithers, Scott G.; Hua, Quan

    2014-10-01

    Low-lying reef islands are among the most vulnerable environments on earth to anthropogenic-induced climate change and sea-level rise over the next century because they are low, composed of unconsolidated sediment that is able to be mobilised by waves and currents, and depend on sediments supplied by reef organisms that are particularly sensitive to environmental changes (e.g. ocean temperatures and chemistry). Therefore, the spatial and temporal links between active carbonate production and island formation and dynamics are fundamental to predicting future island resilience, yet remain poorly quantified. In this paper we present results of a detailed geomorphological and sedimentological study of a reef and sand cay on the northern Great Barrier Reef. We provide an empirical investigation of the temporal linkages between sediment production and reef island development using a large collection of single grain AMS 14C dates. Large benthic foraminifera (LBF) are the single most important contributor to contemporary island sand mass (47%; ranging from 36% to 63%) at Raine Island, reflecting rapid rates of sediment production and delivery. Standing stock data reveal extremely high production rates on the reef (1.8 kg m- 2 yr- 1), while AMS 14C dates of single LBF tests indicate rapid rates of sediment transferral across the reef. We also demonstrate that age is statistically related to preservation and taphonomic grade (severely abraded tests > moderately abraded tests > pristine tests). We construct a contemporary reef and island sediment budget model for Raine Island that shows that LBF (Baculogypsina, Marginopora and Amphistegina) contribute 55% of the sediment produced on the reef annually, of which a large proportion (54%) contribute to the net annual accretion of the island. The tight temporal coupling between LBF growth and island sediment supply combined with the sensitivity of LBF to bleaching and ocean acidification suggests that islands dominated by LBF are

  3. Importance of benthic prey for fishes in coral reef-associated sediments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeFelice, R.C.; Parrish, J.D.

    2003-01-01

    The importance of open, sandy substrate adjacent to coral reefs as habitat and a food source for fishes has been little studied in most shallow tropical waters in the Pacific, including Hawai'i. In this study, in Hanalei Bay, Hiwai'i, we identified and quantified the major invertebrate fauna (larger than 0.5 mm) in the well-characterized sands adjoining the shallow fringing reefs. Concurrently, we identified the fish species that seemed to make substantial use of these sand habitats, estimated their density there, sampled their gut contents to examine trophic links with the sand habitat, and made other observations and collections to determine the times, locations, and types of activity there. A variety of (mostly small) polychaeres were dominant in the sediments at most sampling stations, along with many small crustaceans (e.g., amphipods, isopods, ostracods, and small shrimps) and fair numbers of mollusks (especially bivalves) and small echinoids. Fish guts examined contained ???77% of the total number of benthic taxa collected, including nearly all those just listed. However, fish consumption was selective, and the larger shrimps, crabs, and small cryptic fishes were dominant in the diets of most of the numerous predator taxa. Diets of benthic-feeding fishes showed relatively low specific overlap. The fish fauna in this area included substrate-indifferent pelagics, species with various degrees of reef relatedness, reef-restricted species, and (at the other extreme) permanent cryptic sand dwellers. Data on occurrence and movements of fishes indicated that a band of sandy substrate several tens of meters wide next to the reef was an active area for fishes, and activity was considerably different at different times of day and for fish of different ages. These results imply an important trophic role for the benthos in these near-reef habitats in support of reef-associated fishes.

  4. Perturbation and change in coral reef communities

    PubMed Central

    Porter, James W.; Battey, James F.; Smith, G. Jason

    1982-01-01

    Ninety-six percent of surveyed shallow-water Dry Tortugas reef corals died during the severe winter of 1976-1977. Data from skeletal stains indicate that death occurred during the mid-January intrusion of 14°C water onto the reef. In deeper water, community parameters such as percent cover, species number, and relative abundance showed no significant change. However, an analysis of competitive interactions at the growing edges of adjacent colonies reveals a 70% reduction in space competition during this environmental disturbance. These results can explain high variability in the growth rate of Floridian reefs and demonstrate the importance of obtaining long-term spatial information to interpret successional dynamics of complex communities. Images PMID:16578761

  5. Between-Habitat Variation of Benthic Cover, Reef Fish Assemblage and Feeding Pressure on the Benthos at the Only Atoll in South Atlantic: Rocas Atoll, NE Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Longo, G. O.; Morais, R. A.; Martins, C. D. L.; Mendes, T. C.; Aued, A. W.; Cândido, D. V.; de Oliveira, J. C.; Nunes, L. T.; Fontoura, L.; Sissini, M. N.; Teschima, M. M.; Silva, M. B.; Ramlov, F.; Gouvea, L. P.; Ferreira, C. E. L.; Segal, B.; Horta, P. A.; Floeter, S. R.

    2015-01-01

    The Southwestern Atlantic harbors unique and relatively understudied reef systems, including the only atoll in South Atlantic: Rocas atoll. Located 230 km off the NE Brazilian coast, Rocas is formed by coralline red algae and vermetid mollusks, and is potentially one of the most “pristine” areas in Southwestern Atlantic. We provide the first comprehensive and integrative description of the fish and benthic communities inhabiting different shallow reef habitats of Rocas. We studied two contrasting tide pool habitats: open pools, which communicate with the open ocean even during low tides, thus more exposed to wave action; and closed pools, which remain isolated during low tide and are comparatively less exposed. Reef fish assemblages, benthic cover, algal turfs and fish feeding pressure on the benthos remarkably varied between open and closed pools. The planktivore Thalassoma noronhanum was the most abundant fish species in both habitats. In terms of biomass, the lemon shark Negaprion brevirostris and the omnivore Melichtys niger were dominant in open pools, while herbivorous fishes (mainly Acanthurus spp.) prevailed in closed pools. Overall benthic cover was dominated by algal turfs, composed of articulated calcareous algae in open pools and non-calcified algae in closed pools. Feeding pressure was dominated by acanthurids and was 10-fold lower in open pools than in closed pools. Besides different wave exposure conditions, such pattern could also be related to the presence of sharks in open pools, prompting herbivorous fish to feed more in closed pools. This might indirectly affect the structure of reef fish assemblages and benthic communities. The macroalgae Digenea simplex, which is uncommon in closed pools and abundant in the reef flat, was highly preferred in herbivory assays, indicating that herbivory by fishes might be shaping this distribution pattern. The variations in benthic and reef fish communities, and feeding pressure on the benthos between open

  6. Between-Habitat Variation of Benthic Cover, Reef Fish Assemblage and Feeding Pressure on the Benthos at the Only Atoll in South Atlantic: Rocas Atoll, NE Brazil.

    PubMed

    Longo, G O; Morais, R A; Martins, C D L; Mendes, T C; Aued, A W; Cândido, D V; de Oliveira, J C; Nunes, L T; Fontoura, L; Sissini, M N; Teschima, M M; Silva, M B; Ramlov, F; Gouvea, L P; Ferreira, C E L; Segal, B; Horta, P A; Floeter, S R

    2015-01-01

    The Southwestern Atlantic harbors unique and relatively understudied reef systems, including the only atoll in South Atlantic: Rocas atoll. Located 230 km off the NE Brazilian coast, Rocas is formed by coralline red algae and vermetid mollusks, and is potentially one of the most "pristine" areas in Southwestern Atlantic. We provide the first comprehensive and integrative description of the fish and benthic communities inhabiting different shallow reef habitats of Rocas. We studied two contrasting tide pool habitats: open pools, which communicate with the open ocean even during low tides, thus more exposed to wave action; and closed pools, which remain isolated during low tide and are comparatively less exposed. Reef fish assemblages, benthic cover, algal turfs and fish feeding pressure on the benthos remarkably varied between open and closed pools. The planktivore Thalassoma noronhanum was the most abundant fish species in both habitats. In terms of biomass, the lemon shark Negaprion brevirostris and the omnivore Melichtys niger were dominant in open pools, while herbivorous fishes (mainly Acanthurus spp.) prevailed in closed pools. Overall benthic cover was dominated by algal turfs, composed of articulated calcareous algae in open pools and non-calcified algae in closed pools. Feeding pressure was dominated by acanthurids and was 10-fold lower in open pools than in closed pools. Besides different wave exposure conditions, such pattern could also be related to the presence of sharks in open pools, prompting herbivorous fish to feed more in closed pools. This might indirectly affect the structure of reef fish assemblages and benthic communities. The macroalgae Digenea simplex, which is uncommon in closed pools and abundant in the reef flat, was highly preferred in herbivory assays, indicating that herbivory by fishes might be shaping this distribution pattern. The variations in benthic and reef fish communities, and feeding pressure on the benthos between open and

  7. Effectiveness of benthic foraminiferal and coral assemblages as water quality indicators on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uthicke, S.; Thompson, A.; Schaffelke, B.

    2010-03-01

    Although the debate about coral reef decline focuses on global disturbances (e.g., increasing temperatures and acidification), local stressors (nutrient runoff and overfishing) continue to affect reef health and resilience. The effectiveness of foraminiferal and hard-coral assemblages as indicators of changes in water quality was assessed on 27 inshore reefs along the Great Barrier Reef. Environmental variables (i.e., several water quality and sediment parameters) and the composition of both benthic foraminiferal and hard-coral assemblages differed significantly between four regions (Whitsunday, Burdekin, Fitzroy, and the Wet Tropics). Grain size and organic carbon and nitrogen content of sediments, and a composite water column parameter (based on turbidity and concentrations of particulate matter) explained a significant amount of variation in the data (tested by redundancy analyses) in both assemblages. Heterotrophic species of foraminifera were dominant in sediments with high organic content and in localities with low light availability, whereas symbiont-bearing mixotrophic species were dominant elsewhere. A similar suite of parameters explained 89% of the variation in the FORAM index (a Caribbean coral reef health indicator) and 61% in foraminiferal species richness. Coral richness was not related to environmental setting. Coral assemblages varied in response to environmental variables, but were strongly shaped by acute disturbances (e.g., cyclones, Acanthaster planci outbreaks, and bleaching), thus different coral assemblages may be found at sites with the same environmental conditions. Disturbances also affect foraminiferal assemblages, but they appeared to recover more rapidly than corals. Foraminiferal assemblages are effective bioindicators of turbidity/light regimes and organic enrichment of sediments on coral reefs.

  8. Coastal Benthic Optical Properties (CoBOP) of Coral Reef Environments: Small Scale Fluorescent Optical Signatures and Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Coral Reef Habitats

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2003-09-30

    and in particular, coral reefs. Coral reef communities are coastal areas of high water transparency which make them ideal systems to study optical...signatures originating from the benthos. The scientific objectives of my project are: 1. to attain optical closure for coral reef communities 2. to

  9. DMSP in Corals and Benthic Algae from the Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Broadbent, A. D.; Jones, G. B.; Jones, R. J.

    2002-10-01

    In this study the first measurements of DMSP in six species of corals and ten species of benthic algae collected from four coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef are reported, together with DMSP measurements made on cultured zooxanthellae. Concentrations ranged from 21 to 3831 (mean=743) fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 in corals, 0·16 to 2·96 nmol DMSP cm -2 (mean=90) for benthic macroalgae, and 48-285 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1 (mean=153) for cultured zooxanthellae. The highest concentrations of DMSP in corals occurred in Acropora formosa (mean=371 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) and Acropora palifera (mean=3341 fmol DMSP zooxanthellae -1) with concentrations in A. palifera the highest DMSP concentrations reported in corals examined to date. As well as inter-specific differences in DMSP, intra-specific variation was also observed. Adjacent colonies of A. formosa that are known to have different thermal bleaching thresholds and morphologically distinct zooxanthellae, were also observed to have different DMSP concentrations, with the zooxanthellae in the colony that bleached containing DMSP at an average concentration of 436 fmol zooxanthellae -1, whilst the non-bleaching colony contained DMSP at an average concentration of 171 fmol zooxanthellae -1. The results of the present study have been used to calculate the area normalized DMSP concentrations in benthic algae (mean=0·015 mmol m -2) and corals (mean=2·22 mmol m -2) from the GBR. This data indicates that benthic algae and corals are a significant reservoir of DMSP in GBR waters.

  10. Benthic composition of a healthy subtropical reef: baseline species-level cover, with an emphasis on algae, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

    PubMed

    Vroom, Peter S; Braun, Cristi L

    2010-03-17

    The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) are considered to be among the most pristine coral reef ecosystems remaining on the planet. These reefs naturally contain a high percent cover of algal functional groups with relatively low coral abundance and exhibit thriving fish communities dominated by top predators. Despite their highly protected status, these reefs are at risk from both direct and indirect anthropogenic sources. This study provides the first comprehensive data on percent coverage of algae, coral, and non-coral invertebrates at the species level, and investigates spatial diversity patterns across the archipelago to document benthic communities before further environmental changes occur in response to global warming and ocean acidification. Monitoring studies show that non-calcified macroalgae cover a greater percentage of substrate than corals on many high latitude reef sites. Forereef habitats in atoll systems often contain high abundances of the green macroalga Microdictyon setchellianum and the brown macroalga Lobophora variegata, yet these organisms were uncommon in forereefs of non-atoll systems. Species of the brown macroalgal genera Padina, Sargassum, and Stypopodium and the red macroalgal genus Laurencia became increasingly common in the two northernmost atolls of the island chain but were uncommon components of more southerly islands. Conversely, the scleractinian coral Porites lobata was common on forereefs at southern islands but less common at northern islands. Currently accepted paradigms of what constitutes a "healthy" reef may not apply to the subtropical NWHI, and metrics used to gauge reef health (e.g., high coral cover) need to be reevaluated.

  11. Water quality in the Great Barrier Reef region: responses of mangrove, seagrass and macroalgal communities.

    PubMed

    Schaffelke, Britta; Mellors, Jane; Duke, Norman C

    2005-01-01

    Marine plants colonise several interconnected ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef region including tidal wetlands, seagrass meadows and coral reefs. Water quality in some coastal areas is declining from human activities. Losses of mangrove and other tidal wetland communities are mostly the result of reclamation for coastal development of estuaries, e.g. for residential use, port infrastructure or marina development, and result in river bank destabilisation, deterioration of water clarity and loss of key coastal marine habitat. Coastal seagrass meadows are characterized by small ephemeral species. They are disturbed by increased turbidity after extreme flood events, but generally recover. There is no evidence of an overall seagrass decline or expansion. High nutrient and substrate availability and low grazing pressure on nearshore reefs have lead to changed benthic communities with high macroalgal abundance. Conservation and management of GBR macrophytes and their ecosystems is hampered by scarce ecological knowledge across macrophyte community types.

  12. Habitat dynamics, marine reserve status, and the decline and recovery of coral reef fish communities.

    PubMed

    Williamson, David H; Ceccarelli, Daniela M; Evans, Richard D; Jones, Geoffrey P; Russ, Garry R

    2014-02-01

    Severe climatic disturbance events often have major impacts on coral reef communities, generating cycles of decline and recovery, and in some extreme cases, community-level phase shifts from coral-to algal-dominated states. Benthic habitat changes directly affect reef fish communities, with low coral cover usually associated with low fish diversity and abundance. No-take marine reserves (NTRs) are widely advocated for conserving biodiversity and enhancing the sustainability of exploited fish populations. Numerous studies have documented positive ecological and socio-economic benefits of NTRs; however, the ability of NTRs to ameliorate the effects of acute disturbances on coral reefs has seldom been investigated. Here, we test these factors by tracking the dynamics of benthic and fish communities, including the important fishery species, coral trout (Plectropomus spp.), over 8 years in both NTRs and fished areas in the Keppel Island group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Two major disturbances impacted the reefs during the monitoring period, a coral bleaching event in 2006 and a freshwater flood plume in 2011. Both disturbances generated significant declines in coral cover and habitat complexity, with subsequent declines in fish abundance and diversity, and pronounced shifts in fish assemblage structure. Coral trout density also declined in response to the loss of live coral, however, the approximately 2:1 density ratio between NTRs and fished zones was maintained over time. The only post-disturbance refuges for coral trout spawning stocks were within the NTRs that escaped the worst effects of the disturbances. Although NTRs had little discernible effect on the temporal dynamics of benthic or fish communities, it was evident that the post-disturbance refuges for coral trout spawning stocks within some NTRs may be critically important to regional-scale population persistence and recovery.

  13. Changes in coral reef communities across a natural gradient in seawater pH.

    PubMed

    Barkley, Hannah C; Cohen, Anne L; Golbuu, Yimnang; Starczak, Victoria R; DeCarlo, Thomas M; Shamberger, Kathryn E F

    2015-06-01

    Ocean acidification threatens the survival of coral reef ecosystems worldwide. The negative effects of ocean acidification observed in many laboratory experiments have been seen in studies of naturally low-pH reefs, with little evidence to date for adaptation. Recently, we reported initial data suggesting that low-pH coral communities of the Palau Rock Islands appear healthy despite the extreme conditions in which they live. Here, we build on that observation with a comprehensive statistical analysis of benthic communities across Palau's natural acidification gradient. Our analysis revealed a shift in coral community composition but no impact of acidification on coral richness, coralline algae abundance, macroalgae cover, coral calcification, or skeletal density. However, coral bioerosion increased 11-fold as pH decreased from the barrier reefs to the Rock Island bays. Indeed, a comparison of the naturally low-pH coral reef systems studied so far revealed increased bioerosion to be the only consistent feature among them, as responses varied across other indices of ecosystem health. Our results imply that whereas community responses may vary, escalation of coral reef bioerosion and acceleration of a shift from net accreting to net eroding reef structures will likely be a global signature of ocean acidification.

  14. Changes in coral reef communities across a natural gradient in seawater pH

    PubMed Central

    Barkley, Hannah C.; Cohen, Anne L.; Golbuu, Yimnang; Starczak, Victoria R.; DeCarlo, Thomas M.; Shamberger, Kathryn E. F.

    2015-01-01

    Ocean acidification threatens the survival of coral reef ecosystems worldwide. The negative effects of ocean acidification observed in many laboratory experiments have been seen in studies of naturally low-pH reefs, with little evidence to date for adaptation. Recently, we reported initial data suggesting that low-pH coral communities of the Palau Rock Islands appear healthy despite the extreme conditions in which they live. Here, we build on that observation with a comprehensive statistical analysis of benthic communities across Palau’s natural acidification gradient. Our analysis revealed a shift in coral community composition but no impact of acidification on coral richness, coralline algae abundance, macroalgae cover, coral calcification, or skeletal density. However, coral bioerosion increased 11-fold as pH decreased from the barrier reefs to the Rock Island bays. Indeed, a comparison of the naturally low-pH coral reef systems studied so far revealed increased bioerosion to be the only consistent feature among them, as responses varied across other indices of ecosystem health. Our results imply that whereas community responses may vary, escalation of coral reef bioerosion and acceleration of a shift from net accreting to net eroding reef structures will likely be a global signature of ocean acidification. PMID:26601203

  15. In-Situ Effects of Simulated Overfishing and Eutrophication on Benthic Coral Reef Algae Growth, Succession, and Composition in the Central Red Sea

    PubMed Central

    Jessen, Christian; Roder, Cornelia; Villa Lizcano, Javier Felipe; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wild, Christian

    2013-01-01

    Overfishing and land-derived eutrophication are major local threats to coral reefs and may affect benthic communities, moving them from coral dominated reefs to algal dominated ones. The Central Red Sea is a highly under-investigated area, where healthy coral reefs are contending against intense coastal development. This in-situ study investigated both the independent and combined effects of manipulated inorganic nutrient enrichment (simulation of eutrophication) and herbivore exclosure (simulation of overfishing) on benthic algae development. Light-exposed and shaded terracotta tiles were positioned at an offshore patch reef close to Thuwal, Saudi Arabia and sampled over a period of 4 months. Findings revealed that nutrient enrichment alone affected neither algal dry mass nor algae-derived C or N production. In contrast, herbivore exclusion significantly increased algal dry mass up to 300-fold, and in conjunction with nutrient enrichment, this total increased to 500-fold. Though the increase in dry mass led to a 7 and 8-fold increase in organic C and N content, respectively, the algal C/N ratio (18±1) was significantly lowered in the combined treatment relative to controls (26±2). Furthermore, exclusion of herbivores significantly increased the relative abundance of filamentous algae on the light-exposed tiles and reduced crustose coralline algae and non-coralline red crusts on the shaded tiles. The combination of the herbivore exclusion and nutrient enrichment treatments pronounced these effects. The results of our study suggest that herbivore reduction, particularly when coupled with nutrient enrichment, favors non-calcifying, filamentous algae growth with high biomass production, which thoroughly outcompetes the encrusting (calcifying) algae that dominates in undisturbed conditions. These results suggest that the healthy reefs of the Central Red Sea may experience rapid shifts in benthic community composition with ensuing effects for biogeochemical cycles if

  16. In-Situ Effects of Simulated Overfishing and Eutrophication on Benthic Coral Reef Algae Growth, Succession, and Composition in the Central Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Jessen, Christian; Roder, Cornelia; Villa Lizcano, Javier Felipe; Voolstra, Christian R; Wild, Christian

    2013-01-01

    Overfishing and land-derived eutrophication are major local threats to coral reefs and may affect benthic communities, moving them from coral dominated reefs to algal dominated ones. The Central Red Sea is a highly under-investigated area, where healthy coral reefs are contending against intense coastal development. This in-situ study investigated both the independent and combined effects of manipulated inorganic nutrient enrichment (simulation of eutrophication) and herbivore exclosure (simulation of overfishing) on benthic algae development. Light-exposed and shaded terracotta tiles were positioned at an offshore patch reef close to Thuwal, Saudi Arabia and sampled over a period of 4 months. Findings revealed that nutrient enrichment alone affected neither algal dry mass nor algae-derived C or N production. In contrast, herbivore exclusion significantly increased algal dry mass up to 300-fold, and in conjunction with nutrient enrichment, this total increased to 500-fold. Though the increase in dry mass led to a 7 and 8-fold increase in organic C and N content, respectively, the algal C/N ratio (18±1) was significantly lowered in the combined treatment relative to controls (26±2). Furthermore, exclusion of herbivores significantly increased the relative abundance of filamentous algae on the light-exposed tiles and reduced crustose coralline algae and non-coralline red crusts on the shaded tiles. The combination of the herbivore exclusion and nutrient enrichment treatments pronounced these effects. The results of our study suggest that herbivore reduction, particularly when coupled with nutrient enrichment, favors non-calcifying, filamentous algae growth with high biomass production, which thoroughly outcompetes the encrusting (calcifying) algae that dominates in undisturbed conditions. These results suggest that the healthy reefs of the Central Red Sea may experience rapid shifts in benthic community composition with ensuing effects for biogeochemical cycles if

  17. Coral reef community composition in the context of disturbance history on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Graham, Nicholas A J; Chong-Seng, Karen M; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A; Nash, Kirsty L

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed) and reef zone (slope, crest and flat) into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral communities to persist into

  18. Coral Reef Community Composition in the Context of Disturbance History on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    PubMed Central

    Graham, Nicholas A. J.; Chong-Seng, Karen M.; Huchery, Cindy; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Nash, Kirsty L.

    2014-01-01

    Much research on coral reefs has documented differential declines in coral and associated organisms. In order to contextualise this general degradation, research on community composition is necessary in the context of varied disturbance histories and the biological processes and physical features thought to retard or promote recovery. We conducted a spatial assessment of coral reef communities across five reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with known disturbance histories, and assessed patterns of coral cover and community composition related to a range of other variables thought to be important for reef dynamics. Two of the reefs had not been extensively disturbed for at least 15 years prior to the surveys. Three of the reefs had been severely impacted by crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching approximately a decade before the surveys, from which only one of them was showing signs of recovery based on independent surveys. We incorporated wave exposure (sheltered and exposed) and reef zone (slope, crest and flat) into our design, providing a comprehensive assessment of the spatial patterns in community composition on these reefs. Categorising corals into life history groupings, we document major coral community differences in the unrecovered reefs, compared to the composition and covers found on the undisturbed reefs. The recovered reef, despite having similar coral cover, had a different community composition from the undisturbed reefs, which may indicate slow successional processes, or a different natural community dominance pattern due to hydrology and other oceanographic factors. The variables that best correlated with patterns in the coral community among sites included the density of juvenile corals, herbivore fish biomass, fish species richness and the cover of macroalgae. Given increasing impacts to the Great Barrier Reef, efforts to mitigate local stressors will be imperative to encouraging coral communities to persist into

  19. Anthropogenic perturbation of coral reef environments near Natal, Brazil: Clues from symbiont-bearing benthic foraminifera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eichler, P.; Vital, H.; Sen Gupta, B. K.

    2014-12-01

    Besides global stressors such as temperature rise and acidification, local anthropogenic disturbances, especially those connected with tourism, affect many Atlantic patch reefs off the Brazilian shore. Using reef-inhabiting foraminifera with algal symbionts as environmental indicators, we confirmed this problem in coastal reefs near Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. The foraminiferal community is particularly depauperate in the small reefs of Pirangi, about 25 km south of Natal (~6o S, water depth <5-m), showing the result of numerous tourists trampling or otherwise damaging the reef substrate. Shells of Amphistegina gibbosa, the characteristic reef foraminifer of tropical America, have an exceptionally patchy distribution here, with rare living individuals. A few other symbiont bearers, e.g. Archaias angulatus, Amphisorus hemprichii, and Heterostegina antillarum, are present, but in extremely small numbers. In general, the dominant species is Quinqueloculina lamarckiana, a eurytopic, small miliolid (without symbionts), but many specimens are brown or black, indicating a mixing of relict and living populations. Compared to known foraminiferal communities in other Brazilian reefs, species diversity at Pirangi is remarkably low. About 77 km north of Pirangi, in the more extensive patch reef system of Maracajaú, the foraminiferal community is apparently healthier, except in an area targeted for tourism. However, living Amphistegina is still rare, and the only living Amphisorus is found in seagrass habitats. In contrast, many symbiont-bearing taxa, including peneroplids (virtually absent in Pirangi and Maracajaú) exist in sizeable populations northwest of Maracajaú, in the small patch reefs of the drowned Açu river valley (~4o 50' S).

  20. LATITUDINAL GRADIENTS IN BENTHIC COMMUNITY COMPOSITION IN WESTERN ATLANTIC ESTUARIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The community structure of benthic macroinvertebrates from estuaries along the Atlantic coast of North America from Cape Cod, MA, to Biscayne Bay, FL, were compared. Benthic data were collected over a 5 year period (1990 to 1995) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Envi...

  1. Cold-water event of January 2010 results in catastrophic benthic mortality on patch reefs in the Florida Keys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colella, M. A.; Ruzicka, R. R.; Kidney, J. A.; Morrison, J. M.; Brinkhuis, V. B.

    2012-06-01

    The Florida Keys are periodically exposed to extreme cold-water events that can have pronounced effects on coral reef community structure. In January 2010, the Florida Keys experienced one of the coldest 12-day periods on record, during which water temperatures decreased below the lethal limit for many tropical reef taxa for several consecutive days. This study provides a quantitative assessment of the scleractinian mortality and acute changes to benthic cover at four patch reefs in the middle and upper Keys that coincided with this cold-water event. Significant decreases in benthic cover of scleractinian corals, gorgonians, sponges, and macroalgae were observed between summer 2009 and February 2010. Gorgonian cover declined from 25.6 ± 4.6% (mean ± SE) to 13.3 ± 2.7%, scleractinian cover from 17.6 ± 1.4% to 10.7 ± 0.9%, macroalgal cover from 8.2 ± 5.2% to 0.7 ± 0.3%, and sponge cover from 3.8 ± 1.4% to 2.3 ± 1.2%. Scleractinian mortality varied across sites depending upon the duration of lethal temperatures and the community composition. Montastraea annularis complex cover was reduced from 4.4 ± 2.4% to 0.6 ± 0.2%, and 93% of all colonies surveyed suffered complete or partial mortality. Complete or partial mortality was also observed in >50% of all Porites astreoides and Montastraea cavernosa colonies and resulted in a significant reduction in cover. When compared with historical accounts of cold-water-induced mortality, our results suggest that the 2010 winter mortality was one of the most severe on record. The level of coral mortality on patch reefs is of particular concern because corals in these habitats had previously demonstrated resistance against stressors (e.g., disease and warm-water bleaching) that had negatively affected corals in other habitats in the Florida Keys during recent decades.

  2. Acoustic mapping and classification of benthic habitat using unsupervised learning in artificial reef water

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Dong; Tang, Cheng; Xia, Chunlei; Zhang, Hua

    2017-02-01

    Artificial reefs (ARs) are effective means to maintain fishery resources and to restore ecological environment in coastal waters. ARs have been widely constructed along the Chinese coast. However, understanding of benthic habitats in the vicinity of ARs is limited, hindering effective fisheries and aquacultural management. Multibeam echosounder (MBES) is an advanced acoustic instrument capable of efficiently generating large-scale maps of benthic environments at fine resolutions. The objective of this study is to develop a technical approach to characterize, classify, and map shallow coastal areas with ARs using an MBES. An automated classification method is designed and tested to process bathymetric and backscatter data from MBES and transform the variables into simple, easily visualized maps. To reduce the redundancy in acoustic variables, a principal component analysis (PCA) is used to condense the highly collinear dataset. An acoustic benthic map of bottom sediments is classified using an iterative self-organizing data analysis technique (ISODATA). The approach is tested with MBES surveys in a 1.15 km2 fish farm with a high density of ARs off the Yantai coast in northern China. Using this method, 3 basic benthic habitats (sandy bottom, muddy sediments, and ARs) are distinguished. The results of the classification are validated using sediment samples and underwater surveys. Our study shows that the use of MBES is an effective method for acoustic mapping and classification of ARs.

  3. Simulations of long-term community dynamics in coral reefs--how perturbations shape trajectories.

    PubMed

    Kubicek, Andreas; Muhando, Christopher; Reuter, Hauke

    2012-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs feature extraordinary biodiversity and high productivity rates in oligotrophic waters. Due to increasing frequencies of perturbations--anthropogenic and natural--many reefs are under threat. Such perturbations often have devastating effects on these unique ecosystems and especially if they occur simultaneously and amplify each other's impact, they might trigger a phase shift and create irreversible conditions.We developed a generic, spatially explicit, individual-based model in which competition drives the dynamics of a virtual benthic reef community--comprised of scleractinian corals and algae--under different environmental settings. Higher system properties, like population dynamics or community composition arise through self-organization as emergent properties. The model was parameterized for a typical coral reef site at Zanzibar, Tanzania and features coral bleaching and physical disturbance regimes as major sources of perturbations. Our results show that various types and modes (intensities and frequencies) of perturbations create diverse outcomes and that the switch from high diversity to single species dominance can be evoked by small changes in a key parameter. Here we extend the understanding of coral reef resilience and the identification of key processes, drivers and respective thresholds, responsible for changes in local situations. One future goal is to provide a tool which may aid decision making processes in management of coral reefs.

  4. Simulations of Long-Term Community Dynamics in Coral Reefs - How Perturbations Shape Trajectories

    PubMed Central

    Kubicek, Andreas; Muhando, Christopher; Reuter, Hauke

    2012-01-01

    Tropical coral reefs feature extraordinary biodiversity and high productivity rates in oligotrophic waters. Due to increasing frequencies of perturbations – anthropogenic and natural – many reefs are under threat. Such perturbations often have devastating effects on these unique ecosystems and especially if they occur simultaneously and amplify each other's impact, they might trigger a phase shift and create irreversible conditions. We developed a generic, spatially explicit, individual-based model in which competition drives the dynamics of a virtual benthic reef community – comprised of scleractinian corals and algae – under different environmental settings. Higher system properties, like population dynamics or community composition arise through self-organization as emergent properties. The model was parameterized for a typical coral reef site at Zanzibar, Tanzania and features coral bleaching and physical disturbance regimes as major sources of perturbations. Our results show that various types and modes (intensities and frequencies) of perturbations create diverse outcomes and that the switch from high diversity to single species dominance can be evoked by small changes in a key parameter. Here we extend the understanding of coral reef resilience and the identification of key processes, drivers and respective thresholds, responsible for changes in local situations. One future goal is to provide a tool which may aid decision making processes in management of coral reefs. PMID:23209397

  5. Modification of benthic communities by territorial damselfish: a multi-species comparison

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ceccarelli, D. M.

    2007-12-01

    The effects of territorial damselfish on coral reef benthos have been well-studied for a few relatively large-bodied species with visually distinct territories. Despite a growing body of research demonstrating their abundance, and their effects on algae, corals and other grazers, there has been little research on the effects of the territorial damselfish community as a whole. This study investigated the space occupation, territory composition, and diet of ten damselfish species at three locations: Magnetic and Orpheus Islands (Great Barrier Reef), and Kimbe Bay (Papua New Guinea). Territories were measured, and the composition of benthic communities inside and outside territories was assessed both in situ and from algal collections. The stomach contents of territorial damselfishes were also quantified. Although the larger, previously well-studied species had the most visible effect on the benthic community in their territories, all the smaller species also significantly affected the algal composition, normally with an increase of palatable algae. However, the composition of algal assemblages inside the territories of different species varied considerably. Damselfish territories were highly individual, not just among species, but also among locations. Diets were diverse and indicated a greater degree of omnivory and detritivory than previously thought. At all locations, territories occupied a substantial proportion of the substratum: >25% on Magnetic Island, >50% at Orpheus Island, and ˜50% in Kimbe Bay. Within individual zones, this figure was as high as 70%. The contribution of territorial damselfishes to a range of benthic patterns and processes is considerable, and future benthic studies may need to distinguish more closely between territory and non-territory areas.

  6. Regional and local variability in recovery of shallow coral communities: Moorea, French Polynesia and central Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Done, T. J.; Dayton, P. K.; Dayton, A. E.; Steger, R.

    1991-01-01

    Coral communities at Moorea, French Polynesia, and on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia, were severely depleted by disturbances early in the 1980s. Corals were killed by the predatory starfish Acanthaster planci, by cyclones, and/or by depressed sea level. This study compares benthic community structure and coral population structures on three disturbed reefs (Vaipahu-Moorea; Rib and John Brewer Reefs-GBR) and one undisturbed reef (Davies Reef-GBR) in 1987 89. Moorea barrier reefs had been invaded by tall macrophytes Turbinaria ornata and Sargassum sp., whereas the damaged GBR reefs were colonised by a diverse mixture of short macrophytes, turfs and coralline algae. The disturbed areas had broadly similar patterns of living and dead standing coral, and similar progress in recolonisation, which suggests their structure may converge towards that of undisturbed Davies Reef. Corals occupying denuded areas at Vaipahu, Rib and John Brewer were small (median diameter 5 cm in each case) and sparse (means 4 8 m-2) compared to longer established corals at Davies Reef (median diameter 9 cm; mean 18 m-2). At Moorea, damselfish and sea urchins interacted with corals in ways not observed in the GBR reefs. Territories of the damselfish Stegastes nigricans covered much of Moorea's shallow reef top. They had significantly higher diversity and density of post-disturbance corals than areas outside of territories, suggesting that the damselfish exerts some influences on coral community dynamics. Sea urchins on Moorea ( Diadema setosum Echinometra mathaei, Echinotrix calamaris) were causing widespread destruction of dead standing coral skeletons. Overall, it appears that the future direction and speed of change in the communities will be explicable more in terms of local than regional processes.

  7. Project O.R.B (Operation Reef Ball): Creating Artificial Reefs, Educating the Community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phipps, A.

    2012-04-01

    of this artificial reef. Over 3,000 students have been reached through the educational outreach endeavors of Project O.R.B. This successful STEM project models the benefits of partnerships with universities, local K-12 public schools and community conservation organizations and provides students with authentic learning experiences. Students are able to have a positive impact on their local coral reef environment, their peers and their community through this comprehensive service-learning project.

  8. Automated benthic counting of living and non-living components in Ngedarrak Reef, Palau via subsurface underwater video.

    PubMed

    Marcos, Ma Shiela Angeli; David, Laura; Peñaflor, Eileen; Ticzon, Victor; Soriano, Maricor

    2008-10-01

    We introduce an automated benthic counting system in application for rapid reef assessment that utilizes computer vision on subsurface underwater reef video. Video acquisition was executed by lowering a submersible bullet-type camera from a motor boat while moving across the reef area. A GPS and echo sounder were linked to the video recorder to record bathymetry and location points. Analysis of living and non-living components was implemented through image color and texture feature extraction from the reef video frames and classification via Linear Discriminant Analysis. Compared to common rapid reef assessment protocols, our system can perform fine scale data acquisition and processing in one day. Reef video was acquired in Ngedarrak Reef, Koror, Republic of Palau. Overall success performance ranges from 60% to 77% for depths of 1 to 3 m. The development of an automated rapid reef classification system is most promising for reef studies that need fast and frequent data acquisition of percent cover of living and nonliving components.

  9. Strong tidal currents and labile organic matter stimulate benthic decomposition and carbonate fluxes on the southern Great Barrier Reef shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alongi, D. M.; Trott, L. A.; Møhl, M.

    2011-09-01

    The southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) shelf is characterized by a sharp across-shelf gradient from terrigenous to marine-derived organic matter, and by the presence on the outer shelf of the Pompey Reef Complex (PRC). The PRC runs parallel to the shelf edge and consists of many narrow, turbid channels where strong tidal currents and eddies foster high suspended loads and phytoplankton production that sustain lush gardens of suspension-feeding, benthic communities. Rates and pathways of benthic carbon decomposition and carbonate kinetics in relation to these characteristics were measured across the shelf. Flux rates of DIC, O 2, Mn, and dissolved inorganic nutrients across the sediment-water interface were rapid, increasing from inshore and peaking at the channels within the PRC. Rates of DIC (mean: 39.5 mmol m -2 d -1; range: 14.5-103.2) and NH4+ production (mean=5.4 mmol m -2 d -1; range=1.6-23.7) from incubated sediments were rapid compared with other shelves. Sulfate reduction (mean:1.2 mmol S m -2 d -1; range: 0.1-6.1) and iron reduction (mean: 2.7 mmol Fe m -2 d -1; range: 0.6-4.6) were minor diagenetic pathways, measured only in inshore and mid-shelf deposits. Manganese reduction (mean: 12.5 mmol Mn m -2 d -1; range: 0.5-55.9) was the second most important pathway, as sites seaward of the inner shelf were dominated by aerobic respiration (63-99% of total C oxidation). There was no detectable production of either CH 4 or N 2O. Rates of O 2 consumption were rapid (mean: 44.6 mmol m -2 d -1; range: 10.2-121.9) with the percentage of O 2 involved in chemical oxidation declining from 90% to 92% inshore to <10% at the shelf edge. From inshore to the mid-shelf reefs, ≈20% of remineralized DIC was involved in carbonate dissolution whereas ≈10% was involved in authigenic mineral formation on the outer shelf and at the shelf edge. N 2 production was rapid and much greater than nitrogen fixation but neither showed across-shelf patterns. High tidal energy within the

  10. Non-Random Variability in Functional Composition of Coral Reef Fish Communities along an Environmental Gradient.

    PubMed

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah G; Taylor, Marc H; Husain, Aidah A A; Teichberg, Mirta C; Ferse, Sebastian C A

    2016-01-01

    Changes in the coral reef complex can affect predator-prey relationships, resource availability and niche utilisation in the associated fish community, which may be reflected in decreased stability of the functional traits present in a community. This is because particular traits may be favoured by a changing environment, or by habitat degradation. Furthermore, other traits can be selected against because degradation can relax the association between fishes and benthic habitat. We characterised six important ecological traits for fish species occurring at seven sites across a disturbed coral reef archipelago in Indonesia, where reefs have been exposed to eutrophication and destructive fishing practices for decades. Functional diversity was assessed using two complementary indices (FRic and RaoQ) and correlated to important environmental factors (live coral cover and rugosity, representing local reef health, and distance from shore, representing a cross-shelf environmental gradient). Indices were examined for both a change in their mean, as well as temporal (short-term; hours) and spatial (cross-shelf) variability, to assess whether fish-habitat association became relaxed along with habitat degradation. Furthermore, variability in individual traits was examined to identify the traits that are most affected by habitat change. Increases in the general reef health indicators, live coral cover and rugosity (correlated with distance from the mainland), were associated with decreases in the variability of functional diversity and with community-level changes in the abundance of several traits (notably home range size, maximum length, microalgae, detritus and small invertebrate feeding and reproductive turnover). A decrease in coral cover increased variability of RaoQ while rugosity and distance both inversely affected variability of FRic; however, averages for these indices did not reveal patterns associated with the environment. These results suggest that increased

  11. Non-Random Variability in Functional Composition of Coral Reef Fish Communities along an Environmental Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah G.; Taylor, Marc H.; Husain, Aidah A. A.; Teichberg, Mirta C.; Ferse, Sebastian C. A.

    2016-01-01

    Changes in the coral reef complex can affect predator-prey relationships, resource availability and niche utilisation in the associated fish community, which may be reflected in decreased stability of the functional traits present in a community. This is because particular traits may be favoured by a changing environment, or by habitat degradation. Furthermore, other traits can be selected against because degradation can relax the association between fishes and benthic habitat. We characterised six important ecological traits for fish species occurring at seven sites across a disturbed coral reef archipelago in Indonesia, where reefs have been exposed to eutrophication and destructive fishing practices for decades. Functional diversity was assessed using two complementary indices (FRic and RaoQ) and correlated to important environmental factors (live coral cover and rugosity, representing local reef health, and distance from shore, representing a cross-shelf environmental gradient). Indices were examined for both a change in their mean, as well as temporal (short-term; hours) and spatial (cross-shelf) variability, to assess whether fish-habitat association became relaxed along with habitat degradation. Furthermore, variability in individual traits was examined to identify the traits that are most affected by habitat change. Increases in the general reef health indicators, live coral cover and rugosity (correlated with distance from the mainland), were associated with decreases in the variability of functional diversity and with community-level changes in the abundance of several traits (notably home range size, maximum length, microalgae, detritus and small invertebrate feeding and reproductive turnover). A decrease in coral cover increased variability of RaoQ while rugosity and distance both inversely affected variability of FRic; however, averages for these indices did not reveal patterns associated with the environment. These results suggest that increased

  12. Invasive symbiont bearing (and other) foraminifera altering the community structure of eastern Mediterranean rocky reefs environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hyams-Kaphzan, Orit; Perelis Grossowicz, Lydia; Almogi-Labin, Ahuva

    2015-04-01

    The rocky reefs of the Israeli eastern Mediterranean shelf constitute a highly diverse marine ecosystem rich in macroalgae and calcareous organisms. The benthic foraminiferal community living in this ecosystem is rapidly changing due to massive invasion of symbiont bearing foraminifera (SBF) as well as other foraminiferal species of tropical origin. This trend facilitated by the ongoing increase in temperature enables more tropical species to adjust to the eastern Mediterranean habitats. In order to document the status of the benthic foraminiferal community structure rocky reefs at Akhziv (AK) and Carmel Head (CH), northern Israel were sampled by scuba diving. Different macroalgae species, including invasive ones, accommodating the live epiphytic benthic foraminifera were sampled twice a year at AK and in each season at CH in three depth intervals between 5-20 m, during 2013-4. The numerical abundance of the group ranges between 170-3500 #/10cc (wet macroalgae volume) without any significant difference in standing stocks within regions, water depths or macroalgae preference. In total 77 benthic foraminiferal species were identified 71 in CH and only 43 at AK. Species richness per site varied between 3 and 42 with higher values at CH. 25% of all species were aliens, mostly Lessepsian, that comprise on average 70% - 84% of the numerical abundance of AK and CH respectively. Cluster analysis using benthic foraminifera relative abundance data did not correlate with the different macroalgae species, water depths or seasonality, indicating that the foraminiferal community in the two regions is quite homogenous. Amphistegina lobifera a Lessepsian migrant is by far the most common species on the Israeli rocky reefs occurring in all samples and comprising 18-93% of the foraminiferal community. Heterostegina depressa behaves similarly to A. lobifera though it occurs in lower numbers. Pararotalia calcariformata, a recently arriving SBF occupies mainly shallow water sites at CH

  13. Benthic Composition of a Healthy Subtropical Reef: Baseline Species-Level Cover, with an Emphasis on Algae, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

    PubMed Central

    Vroom, Peter S.; Braun, Cristi L.

    2010-01-01

    The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) are considered to be among the most pristine coral reef ecosystems remaining on the planet. These reefs naturally contain a high percent cover of algal functional groups with relatively low coral abundance and exhibit thriving fish communities dominated by top predators. Despite their highly protected status, these reefs are at risk from both direct and indirect anthropogenic sources. This study provides the first comprehensive data on percent coverage of algae, coral, and non-coral invertebrates at the species level, and investigates spatial diversity patterns across the archipelago to document benthic communities before further environmental changes occur in response to global warming and ocean acidification. Monitoring studies show that non-calcified macroalgae cover a greater percentage of substrate than corals on many high latitude reef sites. Forereef habitats in atoll systems often contain high abundances of the green macroalga Microdictyon setchellianum and the brown macroalga Lobophora variegata, yet these organisms were uncommon in forereefs of non-atoll systems. Species of the brown macroalgal genera Padina, Sargassum, and Stypopodium and the red macroalgal genus Laurencia became increasingly common in the two northernmost atolls of the island chain but were uncommon components of more southerly islands. Conversely, the scleractinian coral Porites lobata was common on forereefs at southern islands but less common at northern islands. Currently accepted paradigms of what constitutes a “healthy” reef may not apply to the subtropical NWHI, and metrics used to gauge reef health (e.g., high coral cover) need to be reevaluated. PMID:20305808

  14. Oyster Reef Communities in the Chesapeake Bay: A Brief Primer. VORTEX: Virginia's Oyster Reef Teaching EXperience.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Harding, Juliana M.; Mann, Roger; Clark, Vicki P.

    This document introduces Virginia's Oyster Reef Teaching EXperience (VORTEX), which is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the importance of oyster reef communities in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The VORTEX program uses field and laboratory experience supported by multimedia instruction. This document presents an overview on the biology of…

  15. Ecological impacts and management implications of reef walking on a tropical reef flat community.

    PubMed

    Williamson, Jane E; Byrnes, Evan E; Clark, Jennalee A; Connolly, David M; Schiller, Sabine E; Thompson, Jessica A; Tosetto, Louise; Martinelli, Julieta C; Raoult, Vincent

    2017-01-30

    Continued growth of tourism has led to concerns about direct and indirect impacts on the ecology of coral reefs and ultimate sustainability of these environments under such pressure. This research assessed impacts of reef walking by tourists on a relatively pristine reef flat community associated with an 'ecoresort' on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Heavily walked areas had lower abundances of live hard coral but greater amounts of dead coral and sediment. Abundances of macroalgae were not affected between sites. Coral-associated butterflyfish were less abundant and less diverse in more trampled sites. A manipulative experiment showed handling holothurians on reef walks had lasting negative impacts. This is the first study to show potential impacts of such handling on holothurians. Ecological impacts of reef walking are weighed against sociocultural benefits of a first hand experience in nature.

  16. Spatial and temporal variation in reef-scale carbonate storage of large benthic foraminifera: a case study on One Tree Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doo, Steve S.; Hamylton, Sarah; Finfer, Joshua; Byrne, Maria

    2017-03-01

    Large benthic foraminifera (LBFs) are a vital component of coral reef carbonate production, often overlooked due to their small size. These super-abundant calcifiers are crucial to reef calcification by generation of lagoon and beach sands. Reef-scale carbonate production by LBFs is not well understood, and seasonal fluctuations in this important process are largely unquantified. The biomass of five LBF species in their algal flat habitat was quantified in the austral winter (July 2013), spring (October 2013), and summer (February 2014) at One Tree Reef. WorldView-2 satellite images were used to characterize and create LBF habitat maps based on ground-referenced photographs of algal cover. Habitat maps and LBF biomass measurements were combined to estimate carbonate storage across the entire reef flat. Total carbonate storage of LBFs on the reef flat ranged from 270 tonnes (winter) to 380 tonnes (summer). Satellite images indicate that the habitat area used by LBFs ranged from 0.6 (winter) to 0.71 km2 (spring) of a total possible area of 0.96 km2. LBF biomass was highest in the winter when algal habitat area was lowest, but total carbonate storage was the highest in the summer, when algal habitat area was intermediate. Our data suggest that biomass measurements alone do not capture total abundance of LBF populations (carbonate storage), as the area of available habitat is variable. These results suggest LBF carbonate production studies that measure biomass in discrete locations and single time points fail to capture accurate reef-scale production by not incorporating estimates of the associated algal habitat. Reef-scale measurements in this study can be incorporated into carbonate production models to determine the role of LBFs in sedimentary landforms (lagoons, beaches, etc.). Based on previous models of entire reef metabolism, our estimates indicate that LBFs contribute approximately 3.9-5.4% of reef carbonate budgets, a previously underappreciated carbon sink.

  17. Nitrogen fixation in a coral reef community.

    PubMed

    Wiebe, W J; Johannes, R E; Webb, K L

    1975-04-18

    Algal reef flats at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, fix atmospheric nitrogen at rates comparable to those in managed agriculture. The dominant nitrogen fixer appears to be the blue-green alga Calothrix crustacea. Since this nutrient enrichment contributes to the high productivity of adjacent coral reefs and undoubtedly to atoll lagoons, it is recommended that the algal reef flats receive increased conservation priority.

  18. Applying data fusion techniques for benthic habitat mapping and monitoring in a coral reef ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Caiyun

    2015-06-01

    Accurate mapping and effective monitoring of benthic habitat in the Florida Keys are critical in developing management strategies for this valuable coral reef ecosystem. For this study, a framework was designed for automated benthic habitat mapping by combining multiple data sources (hyperspectral, aerial photography, and bathymetry data) and four contemporary imagery processing techniques (data fusion, Object-based Image Analysis (OBIA), machine learning, and ensemble analysis). In the framework, 1-m digital aerial photograph was first merged with 17-m hyperspectral imagery and 10-m bathymetry data using a pixel/feature-level fusion strategy. The fused dataset was then preclassified by three machine learning algorithms (Random Forest, Support Vector Machines, and k-Nearest Neighbor). Final object-based habitat maps were produced through ensemble analysis of outcomes from three classifiers. The framework was tested for classifying a group-level (3-class) and code-level (9-class) habitats in a portion of the Florida Keys. Informative and accurate habitat maps were achieved with an overall accuracy of 88.5% and 83.5% for the group-level and code-level classifications, respectively.

  19. Abrolhos Bank Reef Health Evaluated by Means of Water Quality, Microbial Diversity, Benthic Cover, and Fish Biomass Data

    PubMed Central

    Bruce, Thiago; Meirelles, Pedro M.; Garcia, Gizele; Paranhos, Rodolfo; Rezende, Carlos E.; de Moura, Rodrigo L.; Filho, Ronaldo-Francini; Coni, Ericka O. C.; Vasconcelos, Ana Tereza; Amado Filho, Gilberto; Hatay, Mark; Schmieder, Robert; Edwards, Robert; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Thompson, Fabiano L.

    2012-01-01

    The health of the coral reefs of the Abrolhos Bank (southwestern Atlantic) was characterized with a holistic approach using measurements of four ecosystem components: (i) inorganic and organic nutrient concentrations, [1] fish biomass, [1] macroalgal and coral cover and (iv) microbial community composition and abundance. The possible benefits of protection from fishing were particularly evaluated by comparing sites with varying levels of protection. Two reefs within the well-enforced no-take area of the National Marine Park of Abrolhos (Parcel dos Abrolhos and California) were compared with two unprotected coastal reefs (Sebastião Gomes and Pedra de Leste) and one legally protected but poorly enforced coastal reef (the “paper park” of Timbebas Reef). The fish biomass was lower and the fleshy macroalgal cover was higher in the unprotected reefs compared with the protected areas. The unprotected and protected reefs had similar seawater chemistry. Lower vibrio CFU counts were observed in the fully protected area of California Reef. Metagenome analysis showed that the unprotected reefs had a higher abundance of archaeal and viral sequences and more bacterial pathogens, while the protected reefs had a higher abundance of genes related to photosynthesis. Similar to other reef systems in the world, there was evidence that reductions in the biomass of herbivorous fishes and the consequent increase in macroalgal cover in the Abrolhos Bank may be affecting microbial diversity and abundance. Through the integration of different types of ecological data, the present study showed that protection from fishing may lead to greater reef health. The data presented herein suggest that protected coral reefs have higher microbial diversity, with the most degraded reef (Sebastião Gomes) showing a marked reduction in microbial species richness. It is concluded that ecological conditions in unprotected reefs may promote the growth and rapid evolution of opportunistic microbial

  20. Abrolhos bank reef health evaluated by means of water quality, microbial diversity, benthic cover, and fish biomass data.

    PubMed

    Bruce, Thiago; Meirelles, Pedro M; Garcia, Gizele; Paranhos, Rodolfo; Rezende, Carlos E; de Moura, Rodrigo L; Filho, Ronaldo-Francini; Coni, Ericka O C; Vasconcelos, Ana Tereza; Amado Filho, Gilberto; Hatay, Mark; Schmieder, Robert; Edwards, Robert; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Thompson, Fabiano L

    2012-01-01

    The health of the coral reefs of the Abrolhos Bank (Southwestern Atlantic) was characterized with a holistic approach using measurements of four ecosystem components: (i) inorganic and organic nutrient concentrations, [1] fish biomass, [1] macroalgal and coral cover and (iv) microbial community composition and abundance. The possible benefits of protection from fishing were particularly evaluated by comparing sites with varying levels of protection. Two reefs within the well-enforced no-take area of the National Marine Park of Abrolhos (Parcel dos Abrolhos and California) were compared with two unprotected coastal reefs (Sebastião Gomes and Pedra de Leste) and one legally protected but poorly enforced coastal reef (the "paper park" of Timbebas Reef). The fish biomass was lower and the fleshy macroalgal cover was higher in the unprotected reefs compared with the protected areas. The unprotected and protected reefs had similar seawater chemistry. Lower vibrio CFU counts were observed in the fully protected area of California Reef. Metagenome analysis showed that the unprotected reefs had a higher abundance of archaeal and viral sequences and more bacterial pathogens, while the protected reefs had a higher abundance of genes related to photosynthesis. Similar to other reef systems in the world, there was evidence that reductions in the biomass of herbivorous fishes and the consequent increase in macroalgal cover in the Abrolhos Bank may be affecting microbial diversity and abundance. Through the integration of different types of ecological data, the present study showed that protection from fishing may lead to greater reef health. The data presented herein suggest that protected coral reefs have higher microbial diversity, with the most degraded reef (Sebastião Gomes) showing a marked reduction in microbial species richness. It is concluded that ecological conditions in unprotected reefs may promote the growth and rapid evolution of opportunistic microbial pathogens.

  1. Variability in daily pH scales with coral reef accretion and community structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Price, N.; Martz, T.; Brainard, R. E.; Smith, J.

    2011-12-01

    Little is known about natural variability in pH in coastal waters and how resident organisms respond to current nearshore seawater conditions. We used autonomous sensors (SeaFETs) to record temperature and, for the first time, pH with high temporal (hourly observations; 7 months of sampling) resolution on the reef benthos (5-10m depth) at several islands (Kingman, Palmyra and Jarvis) within the newly designated Pacific Remote Island Areas Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) in the northern Line Islands; these islands are uninhabited and lack potentially confounding local impacts (e.g. pollution and overfishing). Recorded benthic pH values were compared with regional means and minimum thresholds based on seasonal amplitude estimated from surrounding open-ocean climatological data, which represent seawater chemistry values in the absence of feedback from the reef. Each SeaFET sensor was co-located with replicate Calcification/Acidification Units (CAUs) designed to quantify species abundances and net community calcification rates so we could determine which, if any, metrics of natural variability in benthic pH and temperature were related to community development and reef accretion rates. The observed range in daily pH encompassed maximums reported from the last century (8.104 in the early evening) to minimums approaching projected levels within the next 100 yrs (7.824 at dawn) for pelagic waters. Net reef calcification rates, measured as calcium carbonate accretion on CAUs, varied within and among islands and were comparable with rates measured from the Pacific and Caribbean using chemistry-based approaches. Benthic species assemblages on the CAUs were differentiated by the presence of calcifying and fleshy taxa (CAP analysis, mean allocation success 80%, δ2 = 0.886, P = <0.001). In general, accretion rates were higher at sites that had a greater number of hours at high pH values each day. Where daily pH failed to exceed climatological seasonal minimum thresholds, net

  2. Reef habitats and associated sessile-benthic and fish assemblages across a euphotic-mesophotic depth gradient in Isla Desecheo, Puerto Rico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia-Sais, Jorge R.

    2010-06-01

    Quantitative surveys of sessile benthos and fish populations associated with reef habitats across a 15-50 m depth gradient were performed by direct diver observations using rebreathers at Isla Desecheo, Puerto Rico. Statistically significant differences between depths were found for total live coral, total coral species, total benthic algae, total sponges and abiotic cover. Live coral cover was higher at the mid-shelf (20 m) and shelf-edge (25 m) stations, whereas benthic algae and sponges were the dominant sessile-benthic assemblage at mesophotic stations below 25 m. Marked shifts in the community structure of corals and benthic algae were observed across the depth gradient. A total of 119 diurnal, non-cryptic fish species were observed across the depth gradient, including 80 species distributed among 7,841 individuals counted within belt-transects. Fish species richness was positively correlated with live coral cover. However, the relationship between total fish abundance and live coral was weak. Abundance of several numerically dominant fish species varied independently from live coral cover and appeared to be more influenced by depth and/or habitat type. Statistically significant differences in the rank order of abundance of fish species at euphotic vs mesophotic stations were detected. A small assemblage of reef fishes that included the cherubfish, Centropyge argi, sunshine chromis, Chromis insolata, greenblotch parrotfish, Sparisoma atomarium, yellowcheek wrasse, Halichoeres cyanocephalus, sargassum triggerfish, Xanthichthys ringens, and the longsnout butterflyfish, Chaetodon aculeatus was most abundant or only present from stations deeper than 30 m, and thus appear to be indicator species of mesophotic habitats.

  3. Community structure and coral status across reef fishing intensity gradients in Palk Bay reef, southeast coast of India.

    PubMed

    Manikandan, B; Ravindran, J; Shrinivaasu, S; Marimuthu, N; Paramasivam, K

    2014-10-01

    Coral reef fishes are exploited without the knowledge of their sustainability and their possible effect in altering the community structure of a coral reef ecosystem. Alteration of the community structure could cause a decline in the health of coral reefs and its services. We documented the coral community structure, status of live corals and reef fish assemblages in Palk Bay at the reef fishing hotspots and its nearby reef area with minimum fishing pressure and compared it with a control reef area where reef fishing was banned for more than two decades. The comparison was based on the percent cover of different forms of live corals, their diversity and the density and diversity of reef fishes. The reef fish stock in the reef fishing hotspots and its neighbouring reef was lower by 61 and 38%, respectively compared to the control reef. The herbivore fish Scarus ghobban and Siganus javus were exploited at a rate of 250 and 105 kg month(-1) fishermen(-1), respectively, relatively high comparing the small reef area. Live and dead corals colonized by turf algae were predominant in both the reef fishing hotspots and its nearby coral ecosystems. The percent cover of healthy live corals and live corals colonized by turf algae was <10 and >80%, respectively, in the intensively fished coral ecosystems. The corals were less diverse and the massive Porites and Favia colonies were abundant in the intensive reef fishing sites. Results of this study suggest that the impact of reef fish exploitation was not solely restricted to the intensively fished reefs, but also to the nearby reefs which play a critical role in the resilience of degraded reef ecosystems.

  4. Divergent ecosystem responses within a benthic marine community to ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Kroeker, Kristy J; Micheli, Fiorenza; Gambi, Maria Cristina; Martz, Todd R

    2011-08-30

    Ocean acidification is predicted to impact all areas of the oceans and affect a diversity of marine organisms. However, the diversity of responses among species prevents clear predictions about the impact of acidification at the ecosystem level. Here, we used shallow water CO(2) vents in the Mediterranean Sea as a model system to examine emergent ecosystem responses to ocean acidification in rocky reef communities. We assessed in situ benthic invertebrate communities in three distinct pH zones (ambient, low, and extreme low), which differed in both the mean and variability of seawater pH along a continuous gradient. We found fewer taxa, reduced taxonomic evenness, and lower biomass in the extreme low pH zones. However, the number of individuals did not differ among pH zones, suggesting that there is density compensation through population blooms of small acidification-tolerant taxa. Furthermore, the trophic structure of the invertebrate community shifted to fewer trophic groups and dominance by generalists in extreme low pH, suggesting that there may be a simplification of food webs with ocean acidification. Despite high variation in individual species' responses, our findings indicate that ocean acidification decreases the diversity, biomass, and trophic complexity of benthic marine communities. These results suggest that a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function is expected under extreme acidification scenarios.

  5. Divergent ecosystem responses within a benthic marine community to ocean acidification

    PubMed Central

    Kroeker, Kristy J.; Micheli, Fiorenza; Gambi, Maria Cristina; Martz, Todd R.

    2011-01-01

    Ocean acidification is predicted to impact all areas of the oceans and affect a diversity of marine organisms. However, the diversity of responses among species prevents clear predictions about the impact of acidification at the ecosystem level. Here, we used shallow water CO2 vents in the Mediterranean Sea as a model system to examine emergent ecosystem responses to ocean acidification in rocky reef communities. We assessed in situ benthic invertebrate communities in three distinct pH zones (ambient, low, and extreme low), which differed in both the mean and variability of seawater pH along a continuous gradient. We found fewer taxa, reduced taxonomic evenness, and lower biomass in the extreme low pH zones. However, the number of individuals did not differ among pH zones, suggesting that there is density compensation through population blooms of small acidification-tolerant taxa. Furthermore, the trophic structure of the invertebrate community shifted to fewer trophic groups and dominance by generalists in extreme low pH, suggesting that there may be a simplification of food webs with ocean acidification. Despite high variation in individual species’ responses, our findings indicate that ocean acidification decreases the diversity, biomass, and trophic complexity of benthic marine communities. These results suggest that a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function is expected under extreme acidification scenarios. PMID:21844331

  6. Burdigalian turbid water patch reef environment revealed by larger benthic foraminifera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Novak, V.; Renema, W.; Throughflow-project

    2012-04-01

    Ancient isolated patch reefs outcropping from siliciclastic sediments are a trademark for the Miocene carbonate deposits occurring in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. They develop in transitional shelf sediments deposited between deltaic and deep marine deposits (Allen and Chambers, 1998). The Batu Putih Limestone (Wilson, 2005) and similar outcrops in adjacent areas have been characterized as shallow water carbonates influenced by high siliciclastic input, showing low relief patch reefs in turbid waters. Larger benthic foraminifera (LBF) are excellent markers for biochronology and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. This study aims to reveal age and paleoenvironment of a shallow water carbonate patch reef developed in mixed depositional system by using LBF and microfacies analysis. The studied section is located near Bontang, East Kalimantan, and is approximately 80 m long and 12 m high. It is placed within Miocene sediments in the central part of the Kutai Basin. Patch reef and capping sediments were logged through eight transects along section and divided into nine different lithological units from which samples were collected. Thin sections and isolated specimens of larger benthic foraminifera were analyzed and recognized to species level (where possible) providing age and environmental information. Microfacies analysis of thin sections included carbonate classification (textural scheme of Dunham, 1962) and assemblage composition of LBF, algae and corals relative abundance. Three environmentally indicative groups of LBF were separated based on test morphology, habitat or living relatives (Hallock and Glenn, 1986). Analysed foraminifera assemblage suggests Burdigalian age (Tf1). With use of microfacies analysis nine successive lithological units were grouped into five facies types. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of LBF fossil assemblage indicate two cycles of possible deepening recorded in the section. Based on high muddy matrix ratio in analyzed thin-sections we

  7. Functionally diverse reef-fish communities ameliorate coral disease

    PubMed Central

    Raymundo, Laurie J.; Halford, Andrew R.; Maypa, Aileen P.; Kerr, Alexander M.

    2009-01-01

    Coral reefs, the most diverse of marine ecosystems, currently experience unprecedented levels of degradation. Diseases are now recognized as a major cause of mortality in reef-forming corals and are complicit in phase shifts of reef ecosystems to algal-dominated states worldwide. Even so, factors contributing to disease occurrence, spread, and impact remain poorly understood. Ecosystem resilience has been linked to the conservation of functional diversity, whereas overfishing reduces functional diversity through cascading, top-down effects. Hence, we tested the hypothesis that reefs with trophically diverse reef fish communities have less coral disease than overfished reefs. We surveyed reefs across the central Philippines, including well-managed marine protected areas (MPAs), and found that disease prevalence was significantly negatively correlated with fish taxonomic diversity. Further, MPAs had significantly higher fish diversity and less disease than unprotected areas. We subsequently investigated potential links between coral disease and the trophic components of fish diversity, finding that only the density of coral-feeding chaetodontid butterflyfishes, seldom targeted by fishers, was positively associated with disease prevalence. These previously uncharacterized results are supported by a second large-scale dataset from the Great Barrier Reef. We hypothesize that members of the charismatic reef-fish family Chaetodontidae are major vectors of coral disease by virtue of their trophic specialization on hard corals and their ecological release in overfished areas, particularly outside MPAs. PMID:19805081

  8. Functionally diverse reef-fish communities ameliorate coral disease.

    PubMed

    Raymundo, Laurie J; Halford, Andrew R; Maypa, Aileen P; Kerr, Alexander M

    2009-10-06

    Coral reefs, the most diverse of marine ecosystems, currently experience unprecedented levels of degradation. Diseases are now recognized as a major cause of mortality in reef-forming corals and are complicit in phase shifts of reef ecosystems to algal-dominated states worldwide. Even so, factors contributing to disease occurrence, spread, and impact remain poorly understood. Ecosystem resilience has been linked to the conservation of functional diversity, whereas overfishing reduces functional diversity through cascading, top-down effects. Hence, we tested the hypothesis that reefs with trophically diverse reef fish communities have less coral disease than overfished reefs. We surveyed reefs across the central Philippines, including well-managed marine protected areas (MPAs), and found that disease prevalence was significantly negatively correlated with fish taxonomic diversity. Further, MPAs had significantly higher fish diversity and less disease than unprotected areas. We subsequently investigated potential links between coral disease and the trophic components of fish diversity, finding that only the density of coral-feeding chaetodontid butterflyfishes, seldom targeted by fishers, was positively associated with disease prevalence. These previously uncharacterized results are supported by a second large-scale dataset from the Great Barrier Reef. We hypothesize that members of the charismatic reef-fish family Chaetodontidae are major vectors of coral disease by virtue of their trophic specialization on hard corals and their ecological release in overfished areas, particularly outside MPAs.

  9. Ecological effects of ocean acidification and habitat complexity on reef-associated macroinvertebrate communities.

    PubMed

    Fabricius, K E; De'ath, G; Noonan, S; Uthicke, S

    2014-01-22

    The ecological effects of ocean acidification (OA) from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) on benthic marine communities are largely unknown. We investigated in situ the consequences of long-term exposure to high CO2 on coral-reef-associated macroinvertebrate communities around three shallow volcanic CO2 seeps in Papua New Guinea. The densities of many groups and the number of taxa (classes and phyla) of macroinvertebrates were significantly reduced at elevated CO2 (425-1100 µatm) compared with control sites. However, sensitivities of some groups, including decapod crustaceans, ascidians and several echinoderms, contrasted with predictions of their physiological CO2 tolerances derived from laboratory experiments. High CO2 reduced the availability of structurally complex corals that are essential refugia for many reef-associated macroinvertebrates. This loss of habitat complexity was also associated with losses in many macroinvertebrate groups, especially predation-prone mobile taxa, including crustaceans and crinoids. The transition from living to dead coral as substratum and habitat further altered macroinvertebrate communities, with far more taxa losing than gaining in numbers. Our study shows that indirect ecological effects of OA (reduced habitat complexity) will complement its direct physiological effects and together with the loss of coral cover through climate change will severely affect macroinvertebrate communities in coral reefs.

  10. Ecological effects of ocean acidification and habitat complexity on reef-associated macroinvertebrate communities

    PubMed Central

    Fabricius, K. E.; De'ath, G.; Noonan, S.; Uthicke, S.

    2014-01-01

    The ecological effects of ocean acidification (OA) from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) on benthic marine communities are largely unknown. We investigated in situ the consequences of long-term exposure to high CO2 on coral-reef-associated macroinvertebrate communities around three shallow volcanic CO2 seeps in Papua New Guinea. The densities of many groups and the number of taxa (classes and phyla) of macroinvertebrates were significantly reduced at elevated CO2 (425–1100 µatm) compared with control sites. However, sensitivities of some groups, including decapod crustaceans, ascidians and several echinoderms, contrasted with predictions of their physiological CO2 tolerances derived from laboratory experiments. High CO2 reduced the availability of structurally complex corals that are essential refugia for many reef-associated macroinvertebrates. This loss of habitat complexity was also associated with losses in many macroinvertebrate groups, especially predation-prone mobile taxa, including crustaceans and crinoids. The transition from living to dead coral as substratum and habitat further altered macroinvertebrate communities, with far more taxa losing than gaining in numbers. Our study shows that indirect ecological effects of OA (reduced habitat complexity) will complement its direct physiological effects and together with the loss of coral cover through climate change will severely affect macroinvertebrate communities in coral reefs. PMID:24307670

  11. Depleted dissolved organic carbon and distinct bacterial communities in the water column of a rapid-flushing coral reef ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Craig E; Alldredge, Alice L; McCliment, Elizabeth A; Amaral-Zettler, Linda A; Carlson, Craig A

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs are highly productive ecosystems bathed in unproductive, low-nutrient oceanic waters, where microbially dominated food webs are supported largely by bacterioplankton recycling of dissolved compounds. Despite evidence that benthic reef organisms efficiently scavenge particulate organic matter and inorganic nutrients from advected oceanic waters, our understanding of the role of bacterioplankton and dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the interaction between reefs and the surrounding ocean remains limited. In this study, we present the results of a 4-year study conducted in a well-characterized coral reef ecosystem (Paopao Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia) where changes in bacterioplankton abundance and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations were quantified and bacterial community structure variation was examined along spatial gradients of the reef:ocean interface. Our results illustrate that the reef is consistently depleted in concentrations of both DOC and bacterioplankton relative to offshore waters (averaging 79 μmol l−1 DOC and 5.5 × 108 cells l−1 offshore and 68 μmol l−1 DOC and 3.1 × 108 cells l−1 over the reef, respectively) across a 4-year time period. In addition, using a suite of culture-independent measures of bacterial community structure, we found consistent differentiation of reef bacterioplankton communities from those offshore or in a nearby embayment across all taxonomic levels. Reef habitats were enriched in Gamma-, Delta-, and Betaproteobacteria, Bacteriodetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes. Specific bacterial phylotypes, including members of the SAR11, SAR116, Flavobacteria, and Synechococcus clades, exhibited clear gradients in relative abundance among nearshore habitats. Our observations indicate that this reef system removes oceanic DOC and exerts selective pressures on bacterioplankton community structure on timescales approximating reef water residence times, observations which are notable both because

  12. Quantification of reef benthos communities and variability inherent to the monitoring using video transect method.

    PubMed

    Ramos, Carla Alecrim Colaço; Amaral, Fernanda Duarte; de Kikuchi, Ruy Kenji Papa; Chaves, Eduardo Marocci; de Melo, Gabriel Rivas

    2010-03-01

    Long-term monitoring program of organisms is the most recommended for understanding changing processes on reefs. The video transect method presents advantages for that. Specialists state that it is important to make sure that the recorded coverage is always the same between campaigns, so that differences in results may be entirely attributed to environmental changes. This study aimed to test the capability of implementing this requirement through tracking simulation and its validity for monitoring the benthic communities of reefs using the video transect method. Ten transects 20 m long were established in Todos os Santos Bay coral reefs. Subsequent to the first transect capture, a second diver repeated the same track, simulating two different monitoring campaigns. Data were transformed and a matrix of similarity was generated using Bray-Curtis' Index. ANOSIM analysis was performed to test the similarity of the ten transects and its repetitions. The result, R = 0.08 (P = 0.928), shows that reef monitoring using video transect, the way it is described in the literature, is appropriate, but it is important to consider some premises discussed in this work.

  13. Diverse communities of active Bacteria and Archaea along oxygen gradients in coral reef sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rusch, A.; Hannides, A. K.; Gaidos, E.

    2009-03-01

    Microbial communities inhabiting highly permeable sediments of Checker Reef in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, were characterized in relation to porewater geochemistry (O2, NO3 -, NO2 -, NH4 +, phosphate). The physiologically active part of the population, assessed by sequencing cDNA libraries of 16S rRNA amplicons, was very diverse, with an estimated ribotype richness ≥1,380 in anoxic sediment. Quantitative analysis of community structure by rRNA-targeted fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) indicated that the archaeal population (9-18%) was dominated by marine Crenarchaeota (5-9%). Planctomycetales were the most abundant group in the oxic and interfacial habitat (17-19%) but were a minority (<5%) in anoxic reef sediment, where γ-Proteobacteria were numerically dominant (18%). Another 9-14% of the microbial benthos belonged to β-Proteobacteria, predominantly within the order Nitrosomonadales, many cultured representatives of which are NH4 + oxidizers. The results of this study contribute to the phylogenetic characterization of benthic microbial communities that are important in organic matter degradation and nutrient recycling in coral reef ecosystems.

  14. Sediment toxicity and benthic communities in mildly contaminated mudflats

    SciTech Connect

    Nipper, M.G.; Roper, D.S.; Williams, E.K.; Martin, M.L.; Van Dam, L.F.; Mills, G.N.

    1998-03-01

    Sediment physicochemical characteristics, benthic community structure, and toxicity were measured at reference and contaminated intertidal mudflats around the North Island of New Zealand. Chronic whole-sediment toxicity tests were conducted with the estuarine amphipod, Chaetocorophium lucasi and the marine bivalve, Macomona lilana, and pore-water toxicity tests were conducted with embryos of the echinoid, Fellaster zelandiae. Although concentrations of organic chemicals and heavy metals were up to several orders of magnitude higher at the sites considered to be contaminated, levels of contamination were relatively low compared to internationally based sediment quality guidelines. Although no pronounced difference was found in benthic community structure between reference and contaminated sites, multivariate analysis indicated that natural sediment characteristics and factors related to contamination may have been affecting community structure. Although benthic effects caused by present levels of contamination are not yet dramatic, subtle changes in community structure related to pollution may be occurring. The two whole-sediment and the pore-water toxicity tests presented different response patterns. Growth of C. lucasi and M. liliana was a less sensitive endpoint than survival. None of the three toxicity tests responded more strongly to the contaminated than to the reference sites, that is, neither natural-sediment and pore-water characteristics nor unmeasured contaminants affected the test organisms. It is possible that sediment collection and handling may have induced chemical changes, confounding interpretation of toxicity tests.

  15. Recruitment and Succession in a Tropical Benthic Community in Response to In-Situ Ocean Acidification.

    PubMed

    Crook, Elizabeth Derse; Kroeker, Kristy J; Potts, Donald C; Rebolledo-Vieyra, Mario; Hernandez-Terrones, Laura M; Paytan, Adina

    2016-01-01

    Ocean acidification is a pervasive threat to coral reef ecosystems, and our understanding of the ecological processes driving patterns in tropical benthic community development in conditions of acidification is limited. We deployed limestone recruitment tiles in low aragonite saturation (Ωarag) waters during an in-situ field experiment at Puerto Morelos, Mexico, and compared them to tiles placed in control zones over a 14-month investigation. The early stages of succession showed relatively little difference in coverage of calcifying organisms between the low Ωarag and control zones. However, after 14 months of development, tiles from the low Ωarag zones had up to 70% less cover of calcifying organisms coincident with 42% more fleshy algae than the controls. The percent cover of biofilm and turf algae was also significantly greater in the low Ωarag zones, while the number of key grazing taxa remained constant. We hypothesize that fleshy algae have a competitive edge over the primary calcified space holders, coralline algae, and that acidification leads to altered competitive dynamics between various taxa. We suggest that as acidification impacts reefs in the future, there will be a shift in community assemblages away from upright and crustose coralline algae toward more fleshy algae and turf, established in the early stages of succession.

  16. Recruitment and Succession in a Tropical Benthic Community in Response to In-Situ Ocean Acidification

    PubMed Central

    Crook, Elizabeth Derse; Kroeker, Kristy J.; Potts, Donald C.; Rebolledo-Vieyra, Mario; Hernandez-Terrones, Laura M.; Paytan, Adina

    2016-01-01

    Ocean acidification is a pervasive threat to coral reef ecosystems, and our understanding of the ecological processes driving patterns in tropical benthic community development in conditions of acidification is limited. We deployed limestone recruitment tiles in low aragonite saturation (Ωarag) waters during an in-situ field experiment at Puerto Morelos, Mexico, and compared them to tiles placed in control zones over a 14-month investigation. The early stages of succession showed relatively little difference in coverage of calcifying organisms between the low Ωarag and control zones. However, after 14 months of development, tiles from the low Ωarag zones had up to 70% less cover of calcifying organisms coincident with 42% more fleshy algae than the controls. The percent cover of biofilm and turf algae was also significantly greater in the low Ωarag zones, while the number of key grazing taxa remained constant. We hypothesize that fleshy algae have a competitive edge over the primary calcified space holders, coralline algae, and that acidification leads to altered competitive dynamics between various taxa. We suggest that as acidification impacts reefs in the future, there will be a shift in community assemblages away from upright and crustose coralline algae toward more fleshy algae and turf, established in the early stages of succession. PMID:26784986

  17. Spatial Analyses of Benthic Habitats to Define Coral Reef Ecosystem Regions and Potential Biogeographic Boundaries along a Latitudinal Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Walker, Brian K.

    2012-01-01

    Marine organism diversity typically attenuates latitudinally from tropical to colder climate regimes. Since the distribution of many marine species relates to certain habitats and depth regimes, mapping data provide valuable information in the absence of detailed ecological data that can be used to identify and spatially quantify smaller scale (10 s km) coral reef ecosystem regions and potential physical biogeographic barriers. This study focused on the southeast Florida coast due to a recognized, but understudied, tropical to subtropical biogeographic gradient. GIS spatial analyses were conducted on recent, accurate, shallow-water (0–30 m) benthic habitat maps to identify and quantify specific regions along the coast that were statistically distinct in the number and amount of major benthic habitat types. Habitat type and width were measured for 209 evenly-spaced cross-shelf transects. Evaluation of groupings from a cluster analysis at 75% similarity yielded five distinct regions. The number of benthic habitats and their area, width, distance from shore, distance from each other, and LIDAR depths were calculated in GIS and examined to determine regional statistical differences. The number of benthic habitats decreased with increasing latitude from 9 in the south to 4 in the north and many of the habitat metrics statistically differed between regions. Three potential biogeographic barriers were found at the Boca, Hillsboro, and Biscayne boundaries, where specific shallow-water habitats were absent further north; Middle Reef, Inner Reef, and oceanic seagrass beds respectively. The Bahamas Fault Zone boundary was also noted where changes in coastal morphologies occurred that could relate to subtle ecological changes. The analyses defined regions on a smaller scale more appropriate to regional management decisions, hence strengthening marine conservation planning with an objective, scientific foundation for decision making. They provide a framework for similar

  18. Oysters and Oyster Reef Communities in Florida.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Knight, Jean; Bly, Joe

    1989-01-01

    The habitat, life history, feeding, classification, anatomy and pearl production of the American oyster (Crassostrea virginica) are presented. A list of other oyster reef inhabitants and predators is provided. Harvest and habitat loss are discussed. (CW)

  19. Habitat degradation and fishing effects on the size structure of coral reef fish communities.

    PubMed

    Wilson, S K; Fisher, R; Pratchett, M S; Graham, N A J; Dulvy, N K; Turner, R A; Cakacaka, A; Polunin, N V C

    2010-03-01

    Overfishing and habitat degradation through climate change pose the greatest threats to sustainability of marine resources on coral reefs. We examined how changes in fishing pressure and benthic habitat composition influenced the size spectra of island-scale reef fish communities in Lau, Fiji. Between 2000 and 2006 fishing pressure declined in the Lau Islands due to declining human populations and reduced demand for fresh fish. At the same time, coral cover declined and fine-scale architectural complexity eroded due to coral bleaching and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci. We examined the size distribution of reef fish communities using size spectra analysis, the linearized relationship between abundance and body size class. Spatial variation in fishing pressure accounted for 31% of the variation in the slope of the size spectra in 2000, higher fishing pressure being associated with a steeper slope, which is indicative of fewer large-bodied fish and/or more small-bodied fish. Conversely, in 2006 spatial variation in habitat explained 53% of the variation in the size spectra slopes, and the relationship with fishing pressure was much weaker (approximately 12% of variation) than in 2000. Reduced cover of corals and lower structural complexity was associated with less steep size spectra slopes, primarily due to reduced abundance of fish < 20 cm. Habitat degradation will compound effects of fishing on coral reefs as increased fishing reduces large-bodied target species, while habitat loss results in fewer small-bodied juveniles and prey that replenish stocks and provide dietary resources for predatory target species. Effective management of reef resources therefore depends on both reducing fishing pressure and maintaining processes that encourage rapid recovery of coral habitat.

  20. Resurvey of a reef flat in American Samoa after 85 years reveals devastation to a soft coral (Alcyonacea) community.

    PubMed

    Cornish, Andrew S; DiDonato, Eva M

    2004-04-01

    One of the earliest quantitative surveys of soft corals, on a reef flat in Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa, was repeated 85 years later. The alcyoniid communities there, which were the dominant benthic organisms during the initial survey, have suffered a drastic decline of 99% cover in the interim. The most likely causes of the decline are anthropogenic disturbance associated with reclamation along the harbour from the 1940s to early 1960s, compounded by chronic pollution from industrial wastewater discharge from the mid-1950s to late 1980s. The decline in one dominant species, Sinularia polydactyla, is likely to have serious consequences for the reef as unusually for a soft coral, this had been the major reef building species. Life-history traits of certain Sinularia and Sarcophyton, such as slow growth and low rates of sexual reproduction, mean they will be slower to recover from severe disturbance than many scleractinian corals.

  1. Benthic reef primary production in response to large amplitude internal waves at the Similan Islands (Andaman Sea, Thailand).

    PubMed

    Jantzen, Carin; Schmidt, Gertraud M; Wild, Christian; Roder, Cornelia; Khokiattiwong, Somkiat; Richter, Claudio

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs are facing rapidly changing environments, but implications for reef ecosystem functioning and important services, such as productivity, are difficult to predict. Comparative investigations on coral reefs that are naturally exposed to differing environmental settings can provide essential information in this context. One prevalent phenomenon regularly introducing alterations in water chemistry into coral reefs are internal waves. This study therefore investigates the effect of large amplitude internal waves (LAIW) on primary productivity in coral reefs at the Similan Islands (Andaman Sea, Thailand). The LAIW-exposed west sides of the islands are subjected to sudden drops in water temperature accompanied by enhanced inorganic nutrient concentrations compared to the sheltered east. At the central island, Ko Miang, east and west reefs are only few hundred meters apart, but feature pronounced differences. On the west lower live coral cover (-38 %) coincides with higher turf algae cover (+64 %) and growth (+54 %) compared to the east side. Turf algae and the reef sand-associated microphytobenthos displayed similar chlorophyll a contents on both island sides, but under LAIW exposure, turf algae exhibited higher net photosynthesis (+23 %), whereas the microphytobenthos displayed reduced net and gross photosynthesis (-19 % and -26 %, respectively) accompanied by lower respiration (-42 %). In contrast, the predominant coral Porites lutea showed higher chlorophyll a tissues contents (+42 %) on the LAIW-exposed west in response to lower light availability and higher inorganic nutrient concentrations, but net photosynthesis was comparable for both sides. Turf algae were the major primary producers on the west side, whereas microphytobenthos dominated on the east. The overall primary production rate (comprising all main benthic primary producers) was similar on both island sides, which indicates high primary production variability under different environmental

  2. Benthic Reef Primary Production in Response to Large Amplitude Internal Waves at the Similan Islands (Andaman Sea, Thailand)

    PubMed Central

    Jantzen, Carin; Schmidt, Gertraud M.; Wild, Christian; Roder, Cornelia; Khokiattiwong, Somkiat; Richter, Claudio

    2013-01-01

    Coral reefs are facing rapidly changing environments, but implications for reef ecosystem functioning and important services, such as productivity, are difficult to predict. Comparative investigations on coral reefs that are naturally exposed to differing environmental settings can provide essential information in this context. One prevalent phenomenon regularly introducing alterations in water chemistry into coral reefs are internal waves. This study therefore investigates the effect of large amplitude internal waves (LAIW) on primary productivity in coral reefs at the Similan Islands (Andaman Sea, Thailand). The LAIW-exposed west sides of the islands are subjected to sudden drops in water temperature accompanied by enhanced inorganic nutrient concentrations compared to the sheltered east. At the central island, Ko Miang, east and west reefs are only few hundred meters apart, but feature pronounced differences. On the west lower live coral cover (-38 %) coincides with higher turf algae cover (+64 %) and growth (+54 %) compared to the east side. Turf algae and the reef sand-associated microphytobenthos displayed similar chlorophyll a contents on both island sides, but under LAIW exposure, turf algae exhibited higher net photosynthesis (+23 %), whereas the microphytobenthos displayed reduced net and gross photosynthesis (-19 % and -26 %, respectively) accompanied by lower respiration (-42 %). In contrast, the predominant coral Porites lutea showed higher chlorophyll a tissues contents (+42 %) on the LAIW-exposed west in response to lower light availability and higher inorganic nutrient concentrations, but net photosynthesis was comparable for both sides. Turf algae were the major primary producers on the west side, whereas microphytobenthos dominated on the east. The overall primary production rate (comprising all main benthic primary producers) was similar on both island sides, which indicates high primary production variability under different environmental

  3. Recruitment Variability of Coral Reef Sessile Communities of the Far North Great Barrier Reef

    PubMed Central

    Luter, Heidi M.; Duckworth, Alan R.; Wolff, Carsten W.; Evans-Illidge, Elizabeth; Whalan, Steve

    2016-01-01

    One of the key components in assessing marine sessile organism demography is determining recruitment patterns to benthic habitats. An analysis of serially deployed recruitment tiles across depth (6 and 12 m), seasons (summer and winter) and space (meters to kilometres) was used to quantify recruitment assemblage structure (abundance and percent cover) of corals, sponges, ascidians, algae and other sessile organisms from the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Polychaetes were most abundant on recruitment titles, reaching almost 50% of total recruitment, yet covered <5% of each tile. In contrast, mean abundances of sponges, ascidians, algae, and bryozoans combined was generally less than 20% of total recruitment, with percentage cover ranging between 15–30% per tile. Coral recruitment was very low, with <1 recruit per tile identified. A hierarchal analysis of variation over a range of spatial and temporal scales showed significant spatio-temporal variation in recruitment patterns, but the highest variability occurred at the lowest spatial scale examined (1 m—among tiles). Temporal variability in recruitment of both numbers of taxa and percentage cover was also evident across both summer and winter. Recruitment across depth varied for some taxonomic groups like algae, sponges and ascidians, with greatest differences in summer. This study presents some of the first data on benthic recruitment within the northern GBR and provides a greater understanding of population ecology for coral reefs. PMID:27049650

  4. Recruitment Variability of Coral Reef Sessile Communities of the Far North Great Barrier Reef.

    PubMed

    Luter, Heidi M; Duckworth, Alan R; Wolff, Carsten W; Evans-Illidge, Elizabeth; Whalan, Steve

    2016-01-01

    One of the key components in assessing marine sessile organism demography is determining recruitment patterns to benthic habitats. An analysis of serially deployed recruitment tiles across depth (6 and 12 m), seasons (summer and winter) and space (meters to kilometres) was used to quantify recruitment assemblage structure (abundance and percent cover) of corals, sponges, ascidians, algae and other sessile organisms from the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Polychaetes were most abundant on recruitment titles, reaching almost 50% of total recruitment, yet covered <5% of each tile. In contrast, mean abundances of sponges, ascidians, algae, and bryozoans combined was generally less than 20% of total recruitment, with percentage cover ranging between 15-30% per tile. Coral recruitment was very low, with <1 recruit per tile identified. A hierarchal analysis of variation over a range of spatial and temporal scales showed significant spatio-temporal variation in recruitment patterns, but the highest variability occurred at the lowest spatial scale examined (1 m-among tiles). Temporal variability in recruitment of both numbers of taxa and percentage cover was also evident across both summer and winter. Recruitment across depth varied for some taxonomic groups like algae, sponges and ascidians, with greatest differences in summer. This study presents some of the first data on benthic recruitment within the northern GBR and provides a greater understanding of population ecology for coral reefs.

  5. Community production modulates coral reef pH and the sensitivity of ecosystem calcification to ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeCarlo, Thomas M.; Cohen, Anne L.; Wong, George T. F.; Shiah, Fuh-Kwo; Lentz, Steven J.; Davis, Kristen A.; Shamberger, Kathryn E. F.; Lohmann, Pat

    2017-01-01

    Coral reefs are built of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) produced biogenically by a diversity of calcifying plants, animals, and microbes. As the ocean warms and acidifies, there is mounting concern that declining calcification rates could shift coral reef CaCO3 budgets from net accretion to net dissolution. We quantified net ecosystem calcification (NEC) and production (NEP) on Dongsha Atoll, northern South China Sea, over a 2 week period that included a transient bleaching event. Peak daytime pH on the wide, shallow reef flat during the nonbleaching period was ˜8.5, significantly elevated above that of the surrounding open ocean (˜8.0-8.1) as a consequence of daytime NEP (up to 112 mmol C m-2 h-1). Diurnal-averaged NEC was 390 ± 90 mmol CaCO3 m-2 d-1, higher than any other coral reef studied to date despite comparable calcifier cover (25%) and relatively high fleshy algal cover (19%). Coral bleaching linked to elevated temperatures significantly reduced daytime NEP by 29 mmol C m-2 h-1. pH on the reef flat declined by 0.2 units, causing a 40% reduction in NEC in the absence of pH changes in the surrounding open ocean. Our findings highlight the interactive relationship between carbonate chemistry of coral reef ecosystems and ecosystem production and calcification rates, which are in turn impacted by ocean warming. As open-ocean waters bathing coral reefs warm and acidify over the 21st century, the health and composition of reef benthic communities will play a major role in determining on-reef conditions that will in turn dictate the ecosystem response to climate change.

  6. Identifying zooplankton community changes between shallow and upper-mesophotic reefs on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean

    PubMed Central

    Head, Catherine E. I.; Exton, Dan A.; Hunt, Christina L.; Hendrix, Alicia; Gress, Erika; Rogers, Alex D.

    2017-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs, reefs 30–150 m) are understudied, yet the limited research conducted has been biased towards large sessile taxa, such as scleractinian corals and sponges, or mobile taxa such as fishes. Here we investigate zooplankton communities on shallow reefs and MCEs around Utila on the southern Mesoamerican Barrier Reef using planktonic light traps. Zooplankton samples were sorted into broad taxonomic groups. Our results indicate similar taxonomic zooplankton richness and overall biomass between shallow reefs and MCEs. However, the abundance of larger bodied (>2 mm) zooplanktonic groups, including decapod crab zoea, mysid shrimps and peracarid crustaceans, was higher on MCEs than shallow reefs. Our findings highlight the importance of considering zooplankton when identifying broader reef community shifts across the shallow reef to MCE depth gradient. PMID:28168098

  7. Identifying zooplankton community changes between shallow and upper-mesophotic reefs on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean.

    PubMed

    Andradi-Brown, Dominic A; Head, Catherine E I; Exton, Dan A; Hunt, Christina L; Hendrix, Alicia; Gress, Erika; Rogers, Alex D

    2017-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs, reefs 30-150 m) are understudied, yet the limited research conducted has been biased towards large sessile taxa, such as scleractinian corals and sponges, or mobile taxa such as fishes. Here we investigate zooplankton communities on shallow reefs and MCEs around Utila on the southern Mesoamerican Barrier Reef using planktonic light traps. Zooplankton samples were sorted into broad taxonomic groups. Our results indicate similar taxonomic zooplankton richness and overall biomass between shallow reefs and MCEs. However, the abundance of larger bodied (>2 mm) zooplanktonic groups, including decapod crab zoea, mysid shrimps and peracarid crustaceans, was higher on MCEs than shallow reefs. Our findings highlight the importance of considering zooplankton when identifying broader reef community shifts across the shallow reef to MCE depth gradient.

  8. Influence of an oyster reef on development of the microbial heterotrophic community of an estuarine biofilm.

    PubMed

    Nocker, Andreas; Lepo, Joe E; Snyder, Richard A

    2004-11-01

    We characterized microbial biofilm communities developed over two very closely located but distinct benthic habitats in the Pensacola Bay estuary using two complementary cultivation-independent molecular techniques. Biofilms were grown for 7 days on glass slides held in racks 10 to 15 cm over an oyster reef and an adjacent muddy sand bottom. Total biomass and optical densities of dried biofilms showed dramatic differences for oyster reef versus non-oyster reef biofilms. This study assessed whether the observed spatial variation was reflected in the heterotrophic prokaryotic species composition. Genomic biofilm DNA from both locations was isolated and served as a template to amplify 16S rRNA genes with universal eubacterial primers. Fluorescently labeled PCR products were analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, creating a genetic fingerprint of the composition of the microbial communities. Unlabeled PCR products were cloned in order to construct a clone library of 16S rRNA genes. Amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis was used to screen and define ribotypes. Partial sequences from unique ribotypes were compared with existing database entries to identify species and to construct phylogenetic trees representative of community structures. A pronounced difference in species richness and evenness was observed at the two sites. The biofilm community structure from the oyster reef setting had greater evenness and species richness than the one from the muddy sand bottom. The vast majority of the bacteria in the oyster reef biofilm were related to members of the gamma- and delta-subdivisions of Proteobacteria, the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium -Bacteroides cluster, and the phyla Planctomyces and Holophaga-Acidobacterium. The same groups were also present in the biofilm harvested at the muddy sand bottom, with the difference that nearly half of the community consisted of representatives of the Planctomyces phylum. Total species richness was estimated

  9. Marine protected areas increase resilience among coral reef communities.

    PubMed

    Mellin, Camille; Aaron MacNeil, M; Cheal, Alistair J; Emslie, Michael J; Julian Caley, M

    2016-06-01

    With marine biodiversity declining globally at accelerating rates, maximising the effectiveness of conservation has become a key goal for local, national and international regulators. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been widely advocated for conserving and managing marine biodiversity yet, despite extensive research, their benefits for conserving non-target species and wider ecosystem functions remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that MPAs can increase the resilience of coral reef communities to natural disturbances, including coral bleaching, coral diseases, Acanthaster planci outbreaks and storms. Using a 20-year time series from Australia's Great Barrier Reef, we show that within MPAs, (1) reef community composition was 21-38% more stable; (2) the magnitude of disturbance impacts was 30% lower and (3) subsequent recovery was 20% faster that in adjacent unprotected habitats. Our results demonstrate that MPAs can increase the resilience of marine communities to natural disturbance possibly through herbivory, trophic cascades and portfolio effects.

  10. [Impacts of large hydropower station on benthic algal communities].

    PubMed

    Jia, Xing-Huan; Jiang, Wan-Xiang; Li, Feng-Qing; Tang, Tao; Duan, Shu-Gui; Cai, Qing-Hua

    2009-07-01

    To investigate the impacts of large hydropower station in Gufu River on benthic algae, monthly samplings were conducted from September 2004 to June 2007 at the site GF04 which was impacted by the hydropower station, with the site GL03 in Gaolan River as reference. During sampling period, no significant differences were observed in the main physicochemical variables between GF04 and GL03, but the hydrodynamics differed significantly. GL03 was basically at a status of slow flow; while GF04, owing to the discharging from the reservoir, was at a riffle status during more than 60% of the sampling period. Such a difference in hydrodynamics induced significant differences in the community similarity of benthic algae and the relative abundance of unattached diatoms, erect diatoms, and stalked diatoms between GF04 and GL03, which could better reflect the impacts of irregular draw-off by large hydropower station on river eco-system.

  11. Fishing degrades size structure of coral reef fish communities.

    PubMed

    Robinson, James P W; Williams, Ivor D; Edwards, Andrew M; McPherson, Jana; Yeager, Lauren; Vigliola, Laurent; Brainard, Russell E; Baum, Julia K

    2017-03-01

    Fishing pressure on coral reef ecosystems has been frequently linked to reductions of large fishes and reef fish biomass. Associated impacts on overall community structure are, however, less clear. In size-structured aquatic ecosystems, fishing impacts are commonly quantified using size spectra, which describe the distribution of individual body sizes within a community. We examined the size spectra and biomass of coral reef fish communities at 38 US-affiliated Pacific islands that ranged in human presence from near pristine to human population centers. Size spectra 'steepened' steadily with increasing human population and proximity to market due to a reduction in the relative biomass of large fishes and an increase in the dominance of small fishes. Reef fish biomass was substantially lower on inhabited islands than uninhabited ones, even at inhabited islands with the lowest levels of human presence. We found that on populated islands size spectra exponents decreased (analogous to size spectra steepening) linearly with declining biomass, whereas on uninhabited islands there was no relationship. Size spectra were steeper in regions of low sea surface temperature but were insensitive to variation in other environmental and geomorphic covariates. In contrast, reef fish biomass was highly sensitive to oceanographic conditions, being influenced by both oceanic productivity and sea surface temperature. Our results suggest that community size structure may be a more robust indicator than fish biomass to increasing human presence and that size spectra are reliable indicators of exploitation impacts across regions of different fish community compositions, environmental drivers, and fisheries types. Size-based approaches that link directly to functional properties of fish communities, and are relatively insensitive to abiotic variation across biogeographic regions, offer great potential for developing our understanding of fishing impacts in coral reef ecosystems.

  12. COMPARISON OF TWO INDICES OF BENTHIC COMMUNITY CONDITION IN CHESAPEAKE BAY

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Chesapeake Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity (B-IBI) and the EMAP-VP Benthic Index were applied to samples from 239 sites in Chesapeake Bay. The B-IBI weights several community measures equally and uses a simple scoring system while the EMAP-VP Benthic Index uses discriminant...

  13. Multiple anthropogenic stressors exert complex, interactive effects on a coral reef community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muthukrishnan, Ranjan; Fong, Peggy

    2014-12-01

    Multiple natural and anthropogenic stressors impact coral reefs across the globe leading to declines of coral populations, but the relative importance of different stressors and the ways they interact remain poorly understood. Because coral reefs exist in environments commonly impacted by multiple stressors simultaneously, understanding their interactions is of particular importance. To evaluate the role of multiple stressors we experimentally manipulated three stressors (herbivore abundance, nutrient supply, and sediment loading) in plots on a natural reef in the Gulf of Panamá in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Monitoring of the benthic community (coral, macroalgae, algal turf, and crustose coralline algae) showed complex responses with all three stressors impacting the community, but at different times, in different combinations, and with varying effects on different community members. Reduction of top-down control in combination with sediment addition had the strongest effect on the community, and led to approximately three times greater algal biomass. Coral cover was reduced in all experimental units with a negative effect of nutrients over time and a synergistic interaction between herbivore exclosures and sediment addition. In contrast, nutrient and sediment additions interacted antagonistically in their impacts on crustose coralline algae and turf algae so that in combination the treatments limited each other's effects. Interactions between stressors and temporal variability indicated that, while each stressor had the potential to impact community structure, their combinations and the broader environmental conditions under which they acted strongly influenced their specific effects. Thus, it is critical to evaluate the effects of stressors on community dynamics not only independently but also under different combinations or environmental conditions to understand how those effects will be played out in more realistic scenarios.

  14. An assessment of seabird influence on Arctic coastal benthic communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zmudczyńska-Skarbek, Katarzyna; Balazy, Piotr; Kuklinski, Piotr

    2015-04-01

    It is well recognized that seabirds, particularly those nesting in coastal colonies, can provide significant nutrient enrichment to Arctic terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about the fate of bird-derived nutrients that return to the marine environment and potentially concentrate below the colonies. To attempt to assess the influence of this potential nutrient enrichment of the coastal benthic community, samples of macroalgae, sea urchins (mainly algivores), and hermit crabs (scavengers) were collected at two Arctic localities (Spitsbergen), (1) below a mixed colony of guillemots and kittiwakes, and (2) in an adjacent geomorphologically similar location not influenced by the seabird colony. A much higher nitrogen stable isotope ratio (δ15N) and total nitrogen content were found in terrestrial plants sampled below the colony than away from it. In benthic macroalgae, however, there were no δ15N differences. This might result from the timing of an intensive growth period in macroalgae in late winter/early spring, when there is little or no runoff from the land, and/or ornithogenic nutrients being directly incorporated by phytoplankton. Sea urchins showed higher δ15N and total N in the control site comparing to the colony-influenced area, suggesting differential food sources in their diet and a role of scavenging/carnivory on higher trophic levels there. Opportunistically feeding hermit crabs showed δ15N and total N enrichment below the seabird colony, suggesting dependence on detritus derived from food chains originating from pelagic producers. Our results indicate that seabirds in the Arctic may fertilize coastal benthic communities through pelagic-benthic coupling, while having no direct impact on bottom primary production.

  15. Structuring effects of chemicals from the sea fan Phyllogorgia dilatata on benthic communities.

    PubMed

    Ribeiro, Felipe V; da Gama, Bernardo A P; Pereira, Renato C

    2017-01-01

    Despite advances in understanding the ecological functions of secondary metabolites from marine organisms, there has been little focus on the influence of chemically-defended species at the community level. Several compounds have been isolated from the gorgonian octocoral Phyllogorgia dilatata, a conspicuous species that forms dense canopies on rocky reefs of northern Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Manipulative experiments were performed to study: (1) the effects of live colonies of P. dilatata (physical presence and chemistry) on recruitment of sympatric benthic organisms; (2) the allelopathic effects of its chemicals on competitors; and (3) chemotactic responses of the non-indigenous brittle star, Ophiothela mirabilis. Early establishment of benthic species was influenced on substrates around live P. dilatata colonies and some effects could be attributed to the gorgonian's secondary metabolites.In addition, the gorgonian chemicals also exerted an allelopathic effect on the sympatric zoanthid Palythoa caribaeorum, and positive chemotaxis upon O. mirabilis. These results indicate multiple ecological roles of a chemically-defended gorgonian on settlement, sympatric competitors, and non-indigenous species.

  16. Structuring effects of chemicals from the sea fan Phyllogorgia dilatata on benthic communities

    PubMed Central

    Ribeiro, Felipe V.; da Gama, Bernardo A.P.

    2017-01-01

    Despite advances in understanding the ecological functions of secondary metabolites from marine organisms, there has been little focus on the influence of chemically-defended species at the community level. Several compounds have been isolated from the gorgonian octocoral Phyllogorgia dilatata, a conspicuous species that forms dense canopies on rocky reefs of northern Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Manipulative experiments were performed to study: (1) the effects of live colonies of P. dilatata (physical presence and chemistry) on recruitment of sympatric benthic organisms; (2) the allelopathic effects of its chemicals on competitors; and (3) chemotactic responses of the non-indigenous brittle star, Ophiothela mirabilis. Early establishment of benthic species was influenced on substrates around live P. dilatata colonies and some effects could be attributed to the gorgonian’s secondary metabolites.In addition, the gorgonian chemicals also exerted an allelopathic effect on the sympatric zoanthid Palythoa caribaeorum, and positive chemotaxis upon O. mirabilis. These results indicate multiple ecological roles of a chemically-defended gorgonian on settlement, sympatric competitors, and non-indigenous species. PMID:28392988

  17. Direct and indirect effects of giant kelp determine benthic community structure and dynamics.

    PubMed

    Arkema, Katie K; Reed, Daniel C; Schroeter, Stephen C

    2009-11-01

    Indirect facilitation can occur when a species positively affects another via the suppression of a shared competitor. In giant kelp forests, shade from the canopy of the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, negatively affects understory algae, which compete with sessile invertebrates for space. This raises the possibility that giant kelp indirectly facilitates sessile invertebrates, via suppression of understory algae. We evaluated the effect of giant kelp on the relative abundance of algae and invertebrates by experimentally manipulating kelp abundance on large artificial reefs located off San Clemente, California, USA. The experiments revealed a negative effect of giant kelp on both light availability and understory algal abundance and a positive effect on the abundance of sessile invertebrates, which was consistent with an indirect effect mediated by shade from the kelp canopy. The importance of these processes to temporal variability in benthic community structure was evaluated at 16 locations on natural reefs off Santa Barbara, California, over an eight-year period. Interannual variability in the abundance of understory algae and in the abundance of sessile invertebrates was significantly and positively related to interannual variability in the abundance of giant kelp. Analysis of these observational data using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) indicated that the magnitude of the indirect effect of giant kelp on invertebrates was six times larger than the direct effect on invertebrates. Results suggest that the dynamics of this system are driven by variability in the abundance of a single structure-forming species that has indirect positive, as well as direct negative, effects on associated species.

  18. Robustness of surrogates of biodiversity in marine benthic communities.

    PubMed

    Magierowski, Regina H; Johnson, Craig R

    2006-12-01

    The usefulness of surrogates to estimate complex variables describing community structure, such as the various components of biodiversity, is long established. Most attention has been given to surrogates of species richness and species diversity and has focused on identifying a subset of taxa as a surrogate of total community richness or diversity. In adopting a surrogate measure, it is assumed that the relationship between the surrogate(s) and total richness or diversity is consistent in both space and time. These assumptions are rarely examined explicitly. We examined the robustness of potential surrogates of familial richness and multivariate community structure for macrofauna communities inhabiting artificial kelp holdfasts by comparing among communities of dissimilar ages and among communities established at different times of the year. This is important because most benthic "landscapes" will be a mosaic of patches reflecting different intensities, frequencies, and timing of disturbances. The total abundance of organisms and familial richness of crustaceans or polychaetes were all good predictors of total familial richness (R2 > 0.68). In contrast, while the familial richness of other groups, such as mollusks and echinoderms, were well correlated with total familial richness for communities at an early stage of development, the strength of these relationships declined with community age. For multivariate community structure, carefully selected subsets of approximately 10% of the total taxa yielded similar patterns to the total suite of taxa, irrespective of the age of the community. Thus, useful surrogates of both familial richness and multivariate community structure can be identified for this type of community. However, the choice of technique for selecting surrogate taxa largely depends on the nature of the pilot data available, and careful selection is required to ensure that surrogates perform consistently across different-aged communities. While the

  19. Identifying cold-water coral ecosystem by using benthic foraminiferal indicators: from active reefs to the geological record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Margreth, Stephan; Rüggeberg, Andres; Gennari, Giordana; Spezzaferri, Silvia

    2010-05-01

    Cold-water coral ecosystems dominated by the species Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata, as well as cold-water coral carbonate mounds (fossils and/or active) occur worldwide and are especially developed along the European margin, from northern Norway to the Gulf of Cadiz and into the Alboran Sea. Their discovery is a major achievement of the last few decades and their widespread occurrence presents a challenge to understand their development, preservation and possible importance in the geologic record. On the Norwegian shelf active/living reefs are developed on elevated hard substrata. Along the Irish margin L. pertusa builds large fossil and/or active carbonate mounds. In the Gulf of Cadiz and in the Alboran Sea buried reefs and patch reefs are generally found in association with mud volcanoes. In modern oceans, they provide important ecological niches for the marine benthic fauna in the deep-sea. In comparison to the macrofauna the microfauna, particularly the foraminifera associated to these systems, are poorly known. We present here a detailed study based on quantitative analyses of benthic and planktonic foraminifera together with the statistical treatment of assemblage data collected along the Norwegian margin, in the Porcupine-Rockall region and in the Alboran Sea. The three regions were and/or are site of cold-water coral ecosystems settlements. Our study reveals that in the Porcupine/Rockall region benthic foraminiferal assemblages are strictly related to the distribution of facies. On the Norwegian margin, benthic foraminiferal habitats are weakly defined and grade one into the other preventing the sharp facies separation observed along the Irish margin (Margreth et al., 2009). In the Alboran Sea cold-water coral ecosystems and cold-water carbonate mounds are presently buried and corals are generally fragmented. However, benthic assemblages from coral-rich layers in the Alboran Sea and those from Porcupine/Rockall and Norway show remarkable

  20. Disturbance, colonization and development of Antarctic benthic communities.

    PubMed

    Barnes, David K A; Conlan, Kathleen E

    2007-01-29

    A decade has yielded much progress in understanding polar disturbance and community recovery-mainly through quantifying ice scour rates, other disturbance levels, larval abundance and diversity, colonization rates and response of benthos to predicted climate change. The continental shelf around Antarctica is clearly subject to massive disturbance, but remarkably across so many scales. In summer, millions of icebergs from sizes smaller than cars to larger than countries ground out and gouge the sea floor and crush the benthic communities there, while the highest wind speeds create the highest waves to pound the coast. In winter, the calm associated with the sea surface freezing creates the clearest marine water in the world. But in winter, an ice foot encases coastal life and anchor ice rips benthos from the sea floor. Over tens and hundreds of thousands of years, glaciations have done the same on continental scales-ice sheets have bulldozed the seabed and the zoobenthos to edge of shelves. We detail and rank modern disturbance levels (from most to least): ice; asteroid impacts; sediment instability; wind/wave action; pollution; UV irradiation; volcanism; trawling; non-indigenous species; freshwater inundation; and temperature stress. Benthic organisms have had to recolonize local scourings and continental shelves repeatedly, yet a decade of studies have demonstrated that they have (compared with lower latitudes) slow tempos of reproduction, colonization and growth. Despite massive disturbance levels and slow recolonization potential, the Antarctic shelf has a much richer fauna than would be expected for its area. Now, West Antarctica is among the fastest warming regions and its organisms face new rapid changes. In the next century, temperature stress and non-indigenous species will drastically rise to become dominant disturbances to the Antarctic life. Here, we describe the potential for benthic organisms to respond to disturbance, focusing particularly on what we

  1. Disturbance, colonization and development of Antarctic benthic communities

    PubMed Central

    Barnes, David K.A; Conlan, Kathleen E

    2006-01-01

    A decade has yielded much progress in understanding polar disturbance and community recovery—mainly through quantifying ice scour rates, other disturbance levels, larval abundance and diversity, colonization rates and response of benthos to predicted climate change. The continental shelf around Antarctica is clearly subject to massive disturbance, but remarkably across so many scales. In summer, millions of icebergs from sizes smaller than cars to larger than countries ground out and gouge the sea floor and crush the benthic communities there, while the highest wind speeds create the highest waves to pound the coast. In winter, the calm associated with the sea surface freezing creates the clearest marine water in the world. But in winter, an ice foot encases coastal life and anchor ice rips benthos from the sea floor. Over tens and hundreds of thousands of years, glaciations have done the same on continental scales—ice sheets have bulldozed the seabed and the zoobenthos to edge of shelves. We detail and rank modern disturbance levels (from most to least): ice; asteroid impacts; sediment instability; wind/wave action; pollution; UV irradiation; volcanism; trawling; non-indigenous species; freshwater inundation; and temperature stress. Benthic organisms have had to recolonize local scourings and continental shelves repeatedly, yet a decade of studies have demonstrated that they have (compared with lower latitudes) slow tempos of reproduction, colonization and growth. Despite massive disturbance levels and slow recolonization potential, the Antarctic shelf has a much richer fauna than would be expected for its area. Now, West Antarctica is among the fastest warming regions and its organisms face new rapid changes. In the next century, temperature stress and non-indigenous species will drastically rise to become dominant disturbances to the Antarctic life. Here, we describe the potential for benthic organisms to respond to disturbance, focusing particularly on what

  2. Anthropogenic and natural disturbances to marine benthic communities in Antarctica

    SciTech Connect

    Lenihan, H.; Oliver, J.S.

    1995-05-01

    Sampling and field experiments were conducted from 1975 to 1990 to test how the structure of marine benthic communities around McMurdo Station, Antarctica varied with levels of anthropogenic contaminants in marine sediments. The structure of communities (e.g., infauna density, species composition, and life history characteristics) in contaminated and uncontaminated areas were compared with the structure of communities influenced by two large-scale natural disturbances, anchor ice formation and uplift or iceberg scour. Benthic communities changed radically along a steep spatial gradient of anthropogenic hydrocarbon, metal, and PCB contamination around McMurdo Station. The heavily contaminated end of the gradient, Winter Quarters Bay, was low in infaunal and epifaunal abundance and was dominated by a few opportunistic species of polychaete worms. The edge of the heavily contaminated bay, the transition area, contained several motile polychaete species with less opportunistic life histories. Uncontaminated sedimentary habitats harbored dense tube mats of infaunal animals numerically dominated by populations of polychaete worms, crustaceans, and a large suspension feeding bivalve. These species are generally large and relatively sessile, except for several crustacean species living among the tubes. Although the community patterns around anthropogenic and natural disturbances were similar, particularly motile and opportunistic species at heavily disturbed and marginal areas, the natural disturbances cover much greater areas of the sea floor about the entire Antarctic continent. On the other hand, recovery from chemical contamination is likely to take many more decades than recovery from natural disturbances as contaminant degradation is a slow process. 77 refs., 6 figs., 5 tabs.

  3. Gradients in coral reef communities exposed to muddy river discharge in Pohnpei, Micronesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golbuu, Yimnang; Fabricius, Katharina; Victor, Steven; Richmond, Robert H.

    2008-01-01

    This study analyzed how coral communities change along a gradient of increasing exposure to a mud-discharging river in the Enipein Catchment, Pohnpei, Micronesia. Using video transects, we quantified benthic communities at five sites along a gradient moving away from the river mouth towards the barrier reef. The most river-impacted site was characterized by a high accumulation of mud, low coral cover and low coral diversity. Although coral cover leveled off at ˜400 m from the river mouth to values found at the outer-most sites, coral diversity continued to increase with increasing distance, suggesting that the most distant site was still impacted by the river discharges. Fungiidae, Pavona, Acropora, Pachyseris and Porites rus all significantly increased in cover with distance from the river, while Turbinaria decreased. The combined presence and abundance of these six species groups, together with coral species richness, may help to indicate the effects of terrestrial runoff in similar runoff-exposed settings around Micronesia, whereas coral cover is not a sensitive indicator for river impact. Coral reefs are important resources for the people of Pohnpei. To prevent further degradation of this important resource, an integrated watershed approach is needed to control terrestrial activities.

  4. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guest, J. R.; Low, J.; Tun, K.; Wilson, B.; Ng, C.; Raingeard, D.; Ulstrup, K. E.; Tanzil, J. T. I.; Todd, P. A.; Toh, T. C.; McDougald, D.; Chou, L. M.; Steinberg, P. D.

    2016-02-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress.

  5. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef

    PubMed Central

    Guest, J. R.; Low, J.; Tun, K.; Wilson, B.; Ng, C.; Raingeard, D.; Ulstrup, K. E.; Tanzil, J. T. I.; Todd, P. A.; Toh, T. C.; McDougald, D.; Chou, L. M.; Steinberg, P. D.

    2016-01-01

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress. PMID:26876092

  6. Coral community response to bleaching on a highly disturbed reef.

    PubMed

    Guest, J R; Low, J; Tun, K; Wilson, B; Ng, C; Raingeard, D; Ulstrup, K E; Tanzil, J T I; Todd, P A; Toh, T C; McDougald, D; Chou, L M; Steinberg, P D

    2016-02-15

    While many studies of coral bleaching report on broad, regional scale responses, fewer examine variation in susceptibility among coral taxa and changes in community structure, before, during and after bleaching on individual reefs. Here we report in detail on the response to bleaching by a coral community on a highly disturbed reef site south of mainland Singapore before, during and after a major thermal anomaly in 2010. To estimate the capacity for resistance to thermal stress, we report on: a) overall bleaching severity during and after the event, b) differences in bleaching susceptibility among taxa during the event, and c) changes in coral community structure one year before and after bleaching. Approximately two thirds of colonies bleached, however, post-bleaching recovery was quite rapid and, importantly, coral taxa that are usually highly susceptible were relatively unaffected. Although total coral cover declined, there was no significant change in coral taxonomic community structure before and after bleaching. Several factors may have contributed to the overall high resistance of corals at this site including Symbiodinium affiliation, turbidity and heterotrophy. Our results suggest that, despite experiencing chronic anthropogenic disturbances, turbid shallow reef communities may be remarkably resilient to acute thermal stress.

  7. Benthic macrofauna productivity enhancement by an artificial reef in Delaware Bay, USA

    SciTech Connect

    Steimle, F; Foster, Karen L.; Kropp, Roy K.; Conlin, B

    2002-10-15

    To understand the potential enhancement value of a habitat-loss mitigation reef in Delaware Bay, especially as a source of food for fishery resources, the secondary productivity of the reef epifauna and nearby sand infauna was estimated and compared. The mean production of natural sand infauna was estimated at between 215 and 249 kcal m(2) yr(-1), while that of the epifauna on the reef surfaces was between 3990 and 9555 kcal m(2) yr(-1). With the 36 m(2) footprint of a reef unit as a basis for comparison, the 407 m(2) of reef unit surface covering that footprint produced 1.62-3.89 X 10(6) kcal yr(-1) of epifauna compared with 7.74-8.96 X 10(3) kcal yr(-1) per footprint area for the adjacent sand infauna. There was, however, substantial annual variability in the productivity of the epifauna, based on the recruitment success of Mytilus edulis.

  8. Oyster Reef Communities in the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia Institute of Marine Science Educational Series. [CD-ROM].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Harding, Juliana M.; Mann, Roger; Clark, Vicki P.

    This CD-ROM, Oyster Reef Communities in the Chesapeake Bay, describes oyster reefs, reef communities, and their roles in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Detailed descriptions of scientific research methods and techniques used to monitor and describe oyster reef communities as well as applications of the resulting data are provided. The CD-ROM was…

  9. Deep COI sequencing of standardized benthic samples unveils overlooked diversity of Jordanian coral reefs in the northern Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Al-Rshaidat, Mamoon M D; Snider, Allison; Rosebraugh, Sydney; Devine, Amanda M; Devine, Thomas D; Plaisance, Laetitia; Knowlton, Nancy; Leray, Matthieu

    2016-09-01

    High-throughput sequencing (HTS) of DNA barcodes (metabarcoding), particularly when combined with standardized sampling protocols, is one of the most promising approaches for censusing overlooked cryptic invertebrate communities. We present biodiversity estimates based on sequencing of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene for coral reefs of the Gulf of Aqaba, a semi-enclosed system in the northern Red Sea. Samples were obtained from standardized sampling devices (Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS)) deployed for 18 months. DNA barcoding of non-sessile specimens >2 mm revealed 83 OTUs in six phyla, of which only 25% matched a reference sequence in public databases. Metabarcoding of the 2 mm - 500 μm and sessile bulk fractions revealed 1197 OTUs in 15 animal phyla, of which only 4.9% matched reference barcodes. These results highlight the scarcity of COI data for cryptobenthic organisms of the Red Sea. Compared with data obtained using similar methods, our results suggest that Gulf of Aqaba reefs are less diverse than two Pacific coral reefs but much more diverse than an Atlantic oyster reef at a similar latitude. The standardized approaches used here show promise for establishing baseline data on biodiversity, monitoring the impacts of environmental change, and quantifying patterns of diversity at regional and global scales.

  10. Coral community change on a turbid-zone reef complex: developing baseline records for the central Great Barrier Reef's nearshore coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Jamie; Perry, Chris; Smithers, Scott; Morgan, Kyle; Johnson, Kenneth

    2016-04-01

    Understanding past coral community development and reef growth is crucial for placing contemporary ecological and environmental change within appropriate reef-building timescales. Coral reefs located within coastal inner-shelf zones are widely perceived to be most susceptible to declining water quality due to their proximity to modified river catchments. On the inner-shelf of Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) the impacts and magnitude of declining water quality since European settlement (c. 1850 A.D.) still remain unclear. This relates to ongoing debates concerning the significance of increased sediment yields against the naturally high background sedimentary regimes and the paucity of long-term (>decadal) ecological datasets. To provide baseline records for interpreting coral community change within the turbid inner-shelf waters of the GBR, 21 cores were recovered from five nearshore reefs spanning an evolutionary spectrum of reef development. Discrete intervals pre- and post-dating European settlement, but deposited at equivalent water depths, were identified by radiocarbon dating, enabling the discrimination of extrinsic and intrinsic driven shifts within the coral palaeo-record. We report no discernible evidence of anthropogenically-driven disturbance on the coral community records at these sites. Instead, significant transitions in coral community assemblages relating to water depth and vertical reef accretion were observed. We suggest that these records may be used to contextualise observed contemporary ecological change within similar environments on the GBR.

  11. The role of abiotic factors in the Cambrian Substrate Revolution: A review from the benthic community replacements of West Gondwana

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Álvaro, J. Javier; Zamora, Samuel; Clausen, Sébastien; Vizcaïno, Daniel; Smith, Andrew B.

    2013-03-01

    The Cambrian Substrate Revolution refers to a substantial and "rapid" change to the nature of marine sedimentary substrates in the early Cambrian and is widely interpreted as a biologically-driven event, a direct response to evolutionary innovations in metazoan burrowing and the development of new shelly faunas. However, abiotic factors such as tectonic and climatic evolution also had the potential to restructure Cambrian substrates, and are here shown to be more plausible drivers of change in the benthic faunas of western Gondwana. The western Mediterranean region underwent a southward drift during Cambrian times, which drove a switch from subtropical carbonates to temperate siliciclastic substrates with short-term episodes of temperate carbonate productivity. As a result, microbial and shelly carbonates disappeared diachronously in a stepwise manner across the lower-middle Cambrian boundary interval. Archaeocyathan-microbial reefs were replaced by chancelloriid-eocrinoid-(spiculate) sponge meadows, in which the stepwise immigration of new echinoderm taxa was primarily controlled by extensional tectonic events, first recorded in rifting settings and later in passive-margin platforms. Availability of new kinds of substrate was thus the primary factor that controlled where and when evolutionary innovations in benthic strategies arose. Examples of this include the early Cambrian colonization of phosphatic hardgrounds and thrombolite crusts by chancelloriids, archaeocyathan and spiculate sponges, and the exploitation by benthos to the increasingly widespread availability of shelly grounds and carbonate firmgrounds by early-diagenetic cementation. A microbial mat/epifaunal antagonistic relationship is demonstrated for echinoderm pelmatozoans based on the non-overlapping palaeogeographic distributions of microbial reefs and mats versus mud-sticker pelmatozoans. Cambrian benthic communities thus evolved in parallel with substrates in response to abiotic factors rather

  12. A benthic survey of Aliwal Shoal and assessment of the effects of a wood pulp effluent on the reef.

    PubMed

    Schleyer, Michael H; Heikoop, Jeffrey M; Risk, Michael J

    2006-05-01

    Aliwal Shoal lies south of Durban in South Africa and has been the subject of recent bathymetric, seafloor and benthic surveys. ANOVA of the biological data revealed that the biota were uniformly distributed on the reef with the exception of encrusting sponges and algae on rock. The variations in distribution of these biota were significant and, in the case of the encrusting sponges, appeared to be related to the discharge of a wood pulp effluent. Further evidence of this was suggested by stable isotope analyses of representative organisms. The encrusting sponges were recommended as good candidates for further monitoring of the effects of the wood pulp effluent on Aliwal Shoal as the effluent pipeline has been extended.

  13. [Changes in fish communities of coral reefs at Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, Cuba].

    PubMed

    Claro, Rodolfo; Cantelar, Karel; Amargós, Fabián Pina; García-Arteaga, Juan P

    2007-06-01

    A comparison of fish community structure in the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago (1988-1989 and 2000) using visual census surveys (eight belt transects 2x50 m in each site) suggests a notable decrease on species richness, and a two thirds reduction in fish density and biomass on coral reefs. This decrease in fish populations may be related to the alarming decrease of scleractinian coral cover, and an enormous proliferation of algae, which currently covers 70-80% of the hard substrate, impeding the recovery of corals and other benthic organisms. High coral mortalities occurred between the study periods, which correlate with the high temperatures caused by the ENSO events of 1995, 1997 and 1998. These events caused massive bleaching of corals and subsequent algae overgrowth. Evidence of nutrient enrichment from the inner lagoons and overfishing are also present. Collectively, these effects have provoked a marked degradation of reef habitats. These changes appear to have affected the availability of refuges and food for fishes, and may be constraining individual growth potential and population size.

  14. The Power of Computer-aided Tomography to Investigate Marine Benthic Communities

    EPA Science Inventory

    Utilization of Computer-aided-Tomography (CT) technology is a powerful tool to investigate benthic communities in aquatic systems. In this presentation, we will attempt to summarize our 15 years of experience in developing specific CT methods and applications to marine benthic co...

  15. Systematic global assessment of reef fish communities by the Reef Life Survey program

    PubMed Central

    Edgar, Graham J; Stuart-Smith, Rick D

    2014-01-01

    The assessment of patterns in macroecology, including those most relevant to global biodiversity conservation, has been hampered by a lack of quantitative data collected in a consistent manner over the global scale. Global analyses of species’ abundance data typically rely on records aggregated from multiple studies where different sampling methods and varying levels of taxonomic and spatial resolution have been applied. Here we describe the Reef Life Survey (RLS) reef fish dataset, which contains 134,759 abundance records, of 2,367 fish taxa, from 1,879 sites in coral and rocky reefs distributed worldwide. Data were systematically collected using standardized methods, offering new opportunities to assess broad-scale spatial patterns in community structure. The development of such a large dataset was made possible through contributions of investigators associated with science and conservation agencies worldwide, and the assistance of a team of over 100 recreational SCUBA divers, who undertook training in scientific techniques for underwater surveys and voluntarily contributed skills, expertise and their time to data collection. PMID:25977765

  16. Reef Fish Community Biomass and Trophic Structure Changes across Shallow to Upper-Mesophotic Reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean

    PubMed Central

    Gress, Erika; Wright, Georgina; Exton, Dan A.; Rogers, Alex D.

    2016-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; reefs 30-150m depth) are of increased research interest because of their potential role as depth refuges from many shallow reef threats. Yet few studies have identified patterns in fish species composition and trophic group structure between MCEs and their shallow counterparts. Here we explore reef fish species and biomass distributions across shallow to upper-MCE Caribbean reef gradients (5-40m) around Utila, Honduras, using a diver-operated stereo-video system. Broadly, we found reef fish species richness, abundance and biomass declining with depth. At the trophic group level we identified declines in herbivores (both total and relative community biomass) with depth, mostly driven by declines in parrotfish (Scaridae). Piscivores increased as a proportion of the community with increased depth while, in contrast to previous studies, we found no change in relative planktivorous reef fish biomass across the depth gradient. In addition, we also found evidence of ontogenetic migrations in the blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), striped parrotfish (Scarus iserti), blue chromis (Chromis cyanea), creole wrasse (Clepticus parrae), bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum) and yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus), with a higher proportion of larger individuals at mesophotic and near-mesophotic depths than on shallow reefs. Our results highlight the importance of using biomass measures when considering fish community changes across depth gradients, with biomass generating different results to simple abundance counts. PMID:27332811

  17. Reef Fish Community Biomass and Trophic Structure Changes across Shallow to Upper-Mesophotic Reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean.

    PubMed

    Andradi-Brown, Dominic A; Gress, Erika; Wright, Georgina; Exton, Dan A; Rogers, Alex D

    2016-01-01

    Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; reefs 30-150m depth) are of increased research interest because of their potential role as depth refuges from many shallow reef threats. Yet few studies have identified patterns in fish species composition and trophic group structure between MCEs and their shallow counterparts. Here we explore reef fish species and biomass distributions across shallow to upper-MCE Caribbean reef gradients (5-40m) around Utila, Honduras, using a diver-operated stereo-video system. Broadly, we found reef fish species richness, abundance and biomass declining with depth. At the trophic group level we identified declines in herbivores (both total and relative community biomass) with depth, mostly driven by declines in parrotfish (Scaridae). Piscivores increased as a proportion of the community with increased depth while, in contrast to previous studies, we found no change in relative planktivorous reef fish biomass across the depth gradient. In addition, we also found evidence of ontogenetic migrations in the blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), striped parrotfish (Scarus iserti), blue chromis (Chromis cyanea), creole wrasse (Clepticus parrae), bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum) and yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus), with a higher proportion of larger individuals at mesophotic and near-mesophotic depths than on shallow reefs. Our results highlight the importance of using biomass measures when considering fish community changes across depth gradients, with biomass generating different results to simple abundance counts.

  18. Influence of coral and algal exudates on microbially mediated reef metabolism.

    PubMed

    Haas, Andreas F; Nelson, Craig E; Rohwer, Forest; Wegley-Kelly, Linda; Quistad, Steven D; Carlson, Craig A; Leichter, James J; Hatay, Mark; Smith, Jennifer E

    2013-01-01

    Benthic primary producers in tropical reef ecosystems can alter biogeochemical cycling and microbial processes in the surrounding seawater. In order to quantify these influences, we measured rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) exudate release by the dominant benthic primary producers (calcifying and non-calcifying macroalgae, turf-algae and corals) on reefs of Mo'orea French Polynesia. Subsequently, we examined planktonic and benthic microbial community response to these dissolved exudates by measuring bacterial growth rates and oxygen and DOC fluxes in dark and daylight incubation experiments. All benthic primary producers exuded significant quantities of DOC (roughly 10% of their daily fixed carbon) into the surrounding water over a diurnal cycle. The microbial community responses were dependent upon the source of the exudates and whether the inoculum of microbes included planktonic or planktonic plus benthic communities. The planktonic and benthic microbial communities in the unamended control treatments exhibited opposing influences on DO concentration where respiration dominated in treatments comprised solely of plankton and autotrophy dominated in treatments with benthic plus plankon microbial communities. Coral exudates (and associated inorganic nutrients) caused a shift towards a net autotrophic microbial metabolism by increasing the net production of oxygen by the benthic and decreasing the net consumption of oxygen by the planktonic microbial community. In contrast, the addition of algal exudates decreased the net primary production by the benthic communities and increased the net consumption of oxygen by the planktonic microbial community thereby resulting in a shift towards net heterotrophic community metabolism. When scaled up to the reef habitat, exudate-induced effects on microbial respiration did not outweigh the high oxygen production rates of benthic algae, such that reef areas dominated with benthic primary

  19. Influence of coral and algal exudates on microbially mediated reef metabolism

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Craig E.; Rohwer, Forest; Wegley-Kelly, Linda; Quistad, Steven D.; Carlson, Craig A.; Leichter, James J.; Hatay, Mark; Smith, Jennifer E.

    2013-01-01

    Benthic primary producers in tropical reef ecosystems can alter biogeochemical cycling and microbial processes in the surrounding seawater. In order to quantify these influences, we measured rates of photosynthesis, respiration, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) exudate release by the dominant benthic primary producers (calcifying and non-calcifying macroalgae, turf-algae and corals) on reefs of Mo‘orea French Polynesia. Subsequently, we examined planktonic and benthic microbial community response to these dissolved exudates by measuring bacterial growth rates and oxygen and DOC fluxes in dark and daylight incubation experiments. All benthic primary producers exuded significant quantities of DOC (roughly 10% of their daily fixed carbon) into the surrounding water over a diurnal cycle. The microbial community responses were dependent upon the source of the exudates and whether the inoculum of microbes included planktonic or planktonic plus benthic communities. The planktonic and benthic microbial communities in the unamended control treatments exhibited opposing influences on DO concentration where respiration dominated in treatments comprised solely of plankton and autotrophy dominated in treatments with benthic plus plankon microbial communities. Coral exudates (and associated inorganic nutrients) caused a shift towards a net autotrophic microbial metabolism by increasing the net production of oxygen by the benthic and decreasing the net consumption of oxygen by the planktonic microbial community. In contrast, the addition of algal exudates decreased the net primary production by the benthic communities and increased the net consumption of oxygen by the planktonic microbial community thereby resulting in a shift towards net heterotrophic community metabolism. When scaled up to the reef habitat, exudate-induced effects on microbial respiration did not outweigh the high oxygen production rates of benthic algae, such that reef areas dominated with benthic primary

  20. Effects of an artificial oyster shell reef on macrobenthic communities in Rongcheng Bay, East China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Qinzeng; Zhang, Libin; Zhang, Tao; Zhou, Yi; Xia, Sudong; Liu, Hui; Yang, Hongsheng

    2014-01-01

    An artificial oyster shell reef was deployed in Rongcheng Bay, East China. However, the effects of this reef on the surrounding macrobenthic communities were unknown. We compared sedimentary factors, macrobenthic biomass, abundance, and community composition and ecological indicators between the reef and non-reef areas over a one year period. The mean values for chlorophyll a (Chl a), total organic matter (TOM), total organic carbon (TOC), and total nitrogen (TN) content in surface sediments in the reef area were slightly higher than those in the non-reef area. The Chl a levels differed significantly between the two areas, but the TOM, TOC, and TN were not significantly different. The abundance of crustaceans was significantly different between the two areas, but the abundance and biomass of polychaetes, echinoderms, mollusk did not differ significantly. The permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) revealed that the macrobenthic community differed significantly through time and analysis of similarity multivariate analyses (ANOSIM) revealed that the macrobenthic community differed significantly in some months. The ecological indicators revealed that the environmental quality of the reef area was slightly better than that of the non-reef area. Overall, our results suggest that the artificial oyster shell reef may change the macrobenthic community and the quality of the environment. Despite the lack of an effect in the short term, long-term monitoring is still needed to evaluate the effects of artificial oyster shell reefs on macrobenthic communities.

  1. Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Linda Wegley; Barott, Katie L; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Friedlander, Alan M; Nosrat, Bahador; Obura, David; Sala, Enric; Sandin, Stuart A; Smith, Jennifer E; Vermeij, Mark J A; Williams, Gareth J; Willner, Dana; Rohwer, Forest

    2012-03-01

    The Line Islands are calcium carbonate coral reef platforms located in iron-poor regions of the central Pacific. Natural terrestrial run-off of iron is non-existent and aerial deposition is extremely low. However, a number of ship groundings have occurred on these atolls. The reefs surrounding the shipwreck debris are characterized by high benthic cover of turf algae, macroalgae, cyanobacterial mats and corallimorphs, as well as particulate-laden, cloudy water. These sites also have very low coral and crustose coralline algal cover and are call black reefs because of the dark-colored benthic community and reduced clarity of the overlying water column. Here we use a combination of benthic surveys, chemistry, metagenomics and microcosms to investigate if and how shipwrecks initiate and maintain black reefs. Comparative surveys show that the live coral cover was reduced from 40 to 60% to <10% on black reefs on Millennium, Tabuaeran and Kingman. These three sites are relatively large (>0.75 km(2)). The phase shift occurs rapidly; the Kingman black reef formed within 3 years of the ship grounding. Iron concentrations in algae tissue from the Millennium black reef site were six times higher than in algae collected from reference sites. Metagenomic sequencing of the Millennium Atoll black reef-associated microbial community was enriched in iron-associated virulence genes and known pathogens. Microcosm experiments showed that corals were killed by black reef rubble through microbial activity. Together these results demonstrate that shipwrecks and their associated iron pose significant threats to coral reefs in iron-limited regions.

  2. Ecological periodic tables for nekton and benthic macrofaunal community usage of estuarine habitats Slides

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ecological periodic tables for nekton and benthic macrofaunal community usage of estuarine habitats Steven P. Ferraro, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Newport, OR Background/Questions/Methods The chemical periodic table, the Linnaean system of classification, and the Her...

  3. Eutrophication and Hypoxia Diminish Ecosystem Functions of Benthic Communities in a New England Estuary

    EPA Science Inventory

    Excessive input of nitrogen to estuaries and coastal waters leads to eutrophication; the resulting organic matter over-enrichment of sediments and seasonal hypoxia of bottom water have significant deleterious effects on benthic community biodiversity, abundance, and biomass. Our ...

  4. Effect of Organic Enrichment and Hypoxia on the Biodiversity of Benthic Communities in Narragansett Bay

    EPA Science Inventory

    Excessive input of nitrogen to coastal waters leads to eutrophication and hypoxia that reduce biodiversity and impair key ecosystem services provided by benthic communities; for example, fish and shellfish production, bioturbation, nutrient cycling, and water filtration. Hypoxia ...

  5. ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON BENTHIC COMMUNITY STRUCTURE IN A GREAT LAKES EMBAYMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    An Intensified Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) sampling grid in the St. Louis River estuary of western Lake Superior was used toassess the relationship between surficial sediment characteristics and benthic community structure. Ninety sites within two habit...

  6. Benthic infaunal community structuring in an acidified tropical estuarine system

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Recent studies suggest that increasing ocean acidification (OA) should have strong direct and indirect influences on marine invertebrates. While most theory and application for OA is based on relatively physically-stable oceanic ecological systems, less is known about the effects of acidification on nearshore and estuarine systems. Here, we investigated the structuring of a benthic infaunal community in a tropical estuarine system, along a steep salinity and pH gradient, arising largely from acid-sulphate groundwater inflows (Sungai Brunei Estuary, Borneo, July 2011- June 2012). Results Preliminary data indicate that sediment pore-water salinity (range: 8.07 - 29.6 psu) declined towards the mainland in correspondence with the above-sediment estuarine water salinity (range: 3.58 – 31.2 psu), whereas the pore-water pH (range: 6.47- 7.72) was generally lower and less variable than the estuarine water pH (range: 5.78- 8.3), along the estuary. Of the thirty six species (taxa) recorded, the polychaetes Neanthes sp., Onuphis conchylega, Nereididae sp. and the amphipod Corophiidae sp., were numerically dominant. Calcified microcrustaceans (e.g., Cyclopoida sp. and Corophiidae sp.) were abundant at all stations and there was no clear distinction in distribution pattern along the estuarine between calcified and non-calcified groups. Species richness increased seawards, though abundance (density) showed no distinct directional trend. Diversity indices were generally positively correlated (Spearman’s rank correlation) with salinity and pH (p <0.05) and negatively with clay and organic matter, except for evenness values (p >0.05). Three faunistic assemblages were distinguished: (1) nereid-cyclopoid-sabellid, (2) corophiid-capitellid and (3) onuphid- nereid-capitellid. These respectively associated with lower salinity/pH and a muddy bottom, low salinity/pH and a sandy bottom, and high salinity/pH and a sandy bottom. However, CCA suggested that species distribution

  7. Coral reef condition and benthic sedimentation threat in four regions of south Puerto Rico

    EPA Science Inventory

    Scleractinian corals, gorgonian octocorals, sponges and fishes were assessed near the cities of LaParguera, Guánica, Guayanilla, and Jobos along the southern coast of Puerto Rico in November – December 2010. Survey sites were targeted near areas with varying benthic...

  8. Stromatolites associated with coralgal communities in Holocene high-energy reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montaggioni, Lucien F.; Camoin, Gilbert F.

    1993-02-01

    Thick laminar to columnar stromatolitic growths encrust typical high-energy coralgal reef communities in a French Polynesian outer-reef edge. The reef communities accumulated during vertical growth from 5870 ±100 yr B.P. to the present, at depths never exceeding 5 m below mean sea level. Oxygen and carbon isotope records and high calcification rates of stromatolite-encrusted corals strongly suggest that for about the past 6000 yr, the local environmental conditions were optimal for reef development. Accordingly, stromatolites can grow in healthy Holocene reefs. Because similar stromatolites have been recorded in other Cenozoic reefs, we suggest that microbial structures may have played a more prominent role in Cenozoic reef growth than is currently recognized.

  9. Patterns in the distribution of coral communities across the central Great Barrier Reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Done, T. J.

    1982-10-01

    Despite the pre-eminence of the Great Barrier Reef, there has been little systematic description of its biotic communities, and in particular, of the corals themselves. Only recently have the problems of coral taxonomy been sufficiently resolved to allow a beginning to be made in rectifying this deficiency. The present study describes seventeen assemblages of corals which occupy the major habitat types found in and near the central Great Barrier Reef. The habitats studied range from the wave swept reef flats of Coral Sea atolls to the slopes of small reefs occupying sheltered, muddy conditions near the coast. These, and the array of reefs between, have characteristic suites of coral communities which provide the basis for a classification of reefs into non- Acropora reefs and various Acropora reefs. It is speculated that the faunistic differences are maintained because reefs are primarily self-seeded and because the majority of larvae from external sources are of species which are already present. The greatest diversity of both species and community types was found on reefs near the middle of the continental shelf, while the oceanic atolls and nearshore silt-affected reefs are almost equally depauperate.

  10. Decadal coral community reassembly on an African fringing reef

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McClanahan, T. R.

    2014-12-01

    Changes in the cover of the dominant hard coral taxa were studied on seven Kenyan back reefs over 20 yr. All factors of time, taxa, site, and their interactions were statistically significant and the 1998 temperature anomaly caused the greatest community changes. The 1998 disturbance changes reflected a classic coral succession, which included partial or little mortality and persistence of stress tolerant (massive and submassive growth forms) and early colonization by weedy taxa (pocilloporids). Nevertheless, competitive taxa had high and full mortality and the expected dominance of acroporids was inhibited even ~13 yr after the disturbance. So, while total hard coral cover displayed the expected logistic recovery where maximum cover was reached <10 yr after the disturbance, the poor recovery of competitive dominants resulted in less than expected coral cover. A number of stress-resistant and weedy taxa (poritids, agaricidae, faviids, and pocilloporids) are expected to dominate the composition of these reefs in the future. Nevertheless, three submassive faviids and branching Porites began to decline toward the end of the time series, indicating further stress after 1998. Increased algal cover and other unstudied factors, including milder warming, may explain these changes. The patterns of change on this continental fringing reef differ from recovery of more remote, offshore islands. This probably reflects low acroporid dominance and recruitment limitations associated with greater anthropogenic influences of high sea urchin grazing and terrestrial runoff.

  11. Coral communities of the remote atoll reefs in the Nansha Islands, southern South China Sea.

    PubMed

    Zhao, M X; Yu, K F; Shi, Q; Chen, T R; Zhang, H L; Chen, T G

    2013-09-01

    During the months of May and June in the year 2007, a survey was conducted regarding coral reef communities in the remote atolls (Zhubi Reef and Meiji Reef) of Nansha Islands, southern South China Sea. The goals of the survey were to: (1) for the first time, compile a scleractinian coral check-list; (2) estimate the total richness, coral cover, and growth forms of the community; and (3) describe preliminary patterns of community structure according to geomorphological units. Findings of this survey revealed a total of 120 species of scleractinia belonging to 40 genera, while the average coral cover was 21 %, ranging from less than 10 % to higher than 50 %. Branching and massive corals were also found to be the most important growth forms of the whole coral community, while Acropora, Montipora, and Porites were the three dominant genera in the overall region, with their contributions to total coral cover measuring 21, 22, and 23 %, respectively. Overall, coral communities of the Nansha Islands were in a relative healthy condition with high species diversity and coral cover. Spatial pattern of coral communities existed among various geomorphological units. Mean coral cover was highest in the patch reef within the lagoon, followed by the fore reef slope, reef flat, and lagoon slope. The greatest contributors to total coral cover were branching Acropora (45 %) in the lagoon slope, branching Montipora (44 %) in the reef flat, and massive Porites (51 %) in the patch reef. Coral cover in the fore reef revealed a greater range of genera than in other habitats. The leeward fore reef slope had higher coral cover (> 50 %) when compared with the windward slope (< 10 %). The coral communities of the inner reef flat were characterized by higher coral cover (27 %) and dominant branching Montipora corals, while lower coral cover (4 %) was dominated by Psammocora with massive growth forms on the outer reef flat. Destructive fishing and coral bleaching were two major threats to

  12. Benthic control freaks: Effects of the tubiculous amphipod Haploops nirae on the specific diversity and functional structure of benthic communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rigolet, Carinne; Dubois, Stanislas F.; Thiébaut, Eric

    2014-01-01

    Haploops nirae is a gregarious tubiculous amphipod which extended its habitat over thousands of hectares in shallow waters of South Brittany bays (Bay of Biscay, Atlantic) over the last decades and created uniquely large and dense tube mats. In the bay of Concarneau, we investigated the specific diversity (i.e. species richness and species composition) and the functional structure (using biological traits) of the macrofauna associated with this Haploops community as a comparison with several surrounding soft-sediment communities to determine the effect of this engineer species on ecosystem functions. We showed that the occurrence of Haploops tubes and individuals significantly modifies sediment features (e.g. change in sediment grain size, increase in C and N organic content) but also largely affect species diversity and benthic composition. The species richness was significantly higher in Haploops community but the species assemblage associated with Haploops habitat was very homogeneous compared to the neighboring habitats and unique with 33% of all species exclusively found in this community. Multivariate analysis (dbRDA) revealed that Haploops density was by far the factor explaining the variation in species composition of benthic communities. No differences in species diversity and assemblage were detected in relationship to Haploops density. A biological trait analysis performed on the whole ecosystem (Haploops included) revealed that Haploops largely dominates the functional structure of the Haploops community by its own functional traits. When performed on selected traits of the associated fauna only (Haploops excluded) the functional structure of the Haploops community was characterized by a greatly reduced proportion of small to medium long lived, sensitive to disturbance, free living or burrowing/tube-building filter-feeding species. H. nirae appears to be a bioengineer and a foundation species that largely modifies its hydro-sedimentary features

  13. Drowned reefs and carbonate platforms: reef-community disruption by nutrients provides a clue to the paradox

    SciTech Connect

    Hallock, P.

    1985-01-01

    Growth rates of corals on Holocene reefs indicate that carbonate platforms should easily keep pace with long-term subsidence and sea-level changes, yet drowned reefs and platforms are common in the geologic record. Recognition of the influence of nutrients in reef communities provides a clue to that paradox. Coral reefs are ecosystems adapted to nutrient-deficient environments. Input of nitrates and phosphates stimulates growth of plankton and, in the benthos, of fleshy algae and suspension-feeding animals such as bryozoans, barnacles, boring bivalves, sponges and tunicates. These fast-growing organisms not only displace the hermatypic algae and corals that produce most of the carbonate, but many are bioeroders that actively destroy the reefal structure. Nutrient enrichment can result from either runoff or upwelling. Thus, not only are terrigenous sediments detrimental to reefs, but suppression of reef development by nutrients carried in runoff from land can extend well beyond the range of sediment influx. Understanding that increased organic productivity disrupts reefal communities and curtails carbonate production provides important new insights for paleoenvironmental interpretations. Carbonate platforms that have succumbed to upwelled nutrients may include those whose drownings coincide with times of increasing deep-ocean circulation.

  14. Symbiodinium (Dinophyceae) community patterns in invertebrate hosts from inshore marginal reefs of the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Tonk, Linda; Sampayo, Eugenia M; Chai, Aaron; Schrameyer, Verena; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove

    2017-02-14

    The broad range in physiological variation displayed by Symbiodinium spp. has proven imperative during periods of environmental change and contribute to the survival of their coral host. Characterizing how host and Symbiodinium community assemblages differ across environmentally distinct habitats provides useful information to predict how corals will respond to major environmental change. Despite the extensive characterizations of Symbiodinium diversity found amongst reef cnidarians on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) substantial biogeographic gaps exist, especially across inshore habitats. Here, we investigate Symbiodinium community patterns in invertebrates from inshore and mid-shelf reefs on the southern GBR, Australia. Dominant Symbiodinium types were characterized using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting and sequencing of the ITS2 region of the ribosomal DNA. Twenty one genetically distinct Symbiodinium types including four novel types were identified from 321 reef-invertebrate samples comprising three sub-generic clades (A, C, and D). A range of host genera harbored C22a, which is normally rare or absent from inshore or low latitude reefs in the GBR. Multivariate analysis showed that host identity and sea surface temperature best explained the variation in symbiont communities across sites. Patterns of changes in Symbiodinium community assemblage over small geographic distances (100s of kilometers or less) indicate the likelihood that shifts in Symbiodinium distributions and associated host populations, may occur in response to future climate change impacting the GBR.

  15. Consequences of Increasing Hypoxic Disturbance on Benthic Communities and Ecosystem Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Villnäs, Anna; Norkko, Joanna; Lukkari, Kaarina; Hewitt, Judi; Norkko, Alf

    2012-01-01

    Disturbance-mediated species loss has prompted research considering how ecosystem functions are changed when biota is impaired. However, there is still limited empirical evidence from natural environments evaluating the direct and indirect (i.e. via biota) effects of disturbance on ecosystem functioning. Oxygen deficiency is a widespread threat to coastal and estuarine communities. While the negative impacts of hypoxia on benthic communities are well known, few studies have assessed in situ how benthic communities subjected to different degrees of hypoxic stress alter their contribution to ecosystem functioning. We studied changes in sediment ecosystem function (i.e. oxygen and nutrient fluxes across the sediment water-interface) by artificially inducing hypoxia of different durations (0, 3, 7 and 48 days) in a subtidal sandy habitat. Benthic chamber incubations were used for measuring responses in sediment oxygen and nutrient fluxes. Changes in benthic species richness, structure and traits were quantified, while stress-induced behavioral changes were documented by observing bivalve reburial rates. The initial change in faunal behavior was followed by non-linear degradation in benthic parameters (abundance, biomass, bioturbation potential), gradually impairing the structural and functional composition of the benthic community. In terms of ecosystem function, the increasing duration of hypoxia altered sediment oxygen consumption and enhanced sediment effluxes of NH4+ and dissolved Si. Although effluxes of PO43− were not altered significantly, changes were observed in sediment PO43− sorption capability. The duration of hypoxia (i.e. number of days of stress) explained a minor part of the changes in ecosystem function. Instead, the benthic community and disturbance-driven changes within the benthos explained a larger proportion of the variability in sediment oxygen- and nutrient fluxes. Our results emphasize that the level of stress to the benthic habitat matters

  16. Uptake of picophytoplankton, bacterioplankton and virioplankton by a fringing coral reef community (Ningaloo Reef, Australia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Patten, N. L.; Wyatt, A. S. J.; Lowe, R. J.; Waite, A. M.

    2011-09-01

    We examined the importance of picoplankton and virioplankton to reef trophodynamics at Ningaloo Reef, (north-western Australia), in May and November 2008. Picophytoplankton ( Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus and picoeukaryotes), bacterioplankton (inclusive of bacteria and Archaea), virioplankton and chlorophyll a (Chl a) were measured at five stations following the consistent wave-driven unidirectional mean flow path of seawater across the reef and into the lagoon. Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, picoeukaryotes and bacterioplankton were depleted to similar levels (~40% on average) over the fore reef, reef crest and reef flat (=`active reef'), with negligible uptake occurring over the sandy bottom lagoon. Depletion of virioplankton also occurred but to more variable levels. Highest uptake rates, m, of picoplankton occurred over the reef crest, while uptake coefficients, S (independent of cell concentration), were similarly scaled over the reef zones, indicating no preferential uptake of any one group. Collectively, picophytoplankton, bacterioplankton and virioplankton accounted for the uptake of 29 mmol C m-2 day-1, with Synechococcus contributing the highest proportion of the removed C. Picoplankton and virioplankton accounted for 1-5 mmol N m-2 day-1 of the removed N, with bacterioplankton estimated to be a highly rich source of N. Results indicate the importance of ocean-reef interactions and the dependence of certain reef organisms on picoplanktonic supply for reef-level biogeochemistry processes.

  17. Assessing contamination in Great Lakes sediments using benthic invertebrate communities and the sediment quality triad approach

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Canfield, Timothy J.; Dwyer, F. James; Fairchild, James F.; Haverland, Pamela S.; Ingersoll, Christopher G.; Kemble, Nile E.; Mount, David R.; La Point, Thomas W.; Burton, G. Allen; Swift, M. C.

    1996-01-01

    Sediments in many Great Lakes harbors and tributary rivers are contaminated. As part of the USEPA's Assessment and Remediation of Contaminated Sediment (ARCS) program, a number of studies were conducted to determine the nature and extent of sediment contamination in Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC). This paper describes the composition of benthic invertebrate communities in contaminated sediments and is one in a series of papers describing studies conducted to evaluate sediment toxicity from three AOC's (Buffalo River, NY; Indiana Harbor, IN; Saginaw River, MI), as part of the ARCS Program. Oligochaeta (worms) and Chironomidae (midge) comprised over 90% of the benthic invertebrate numbers in samples collected from depositional areas. Worms and midge consisted of taxa identified as primarily contaminant tolerant organisms. Structural deformities of mouthparts in midge larvae were pronounced in many of the samples. Good concurrence was evident between measures of laboratory toxicity, sediment contaminant concentration, and benthic invertebrate community composition in extremely contaminated samples. However, in moderately contaminated samples, less concordance was observed between the benthos community composition and either laboratory toxicity test results or sediment contaminant concentration. Laboratory sediment toxicity tests may better identify chemical contamination in sediments than many commonly used measures of benthic invertebrate community composition. Benthic measures may also reflect other factors such as habitat alteration. Evaluation of non-contaminant factors are needed to better interpret the response of benthic invertebrates to sediment contamination.

  18. Faunal community use of enhanced and natural oyster reefs in Delaware Bay: A field study and classroom inquiry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paterno, Jenny L.

    In addition to its value as a fisheries resource, the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica, is a reef building, cornerstone species that provides ecosystem services to the environment. Oysters provide habitat for associated resident and transient species. With widespread declines in oyster populations, restoration efforts have focused on improving oyster stocks and enhancing the ecosystem services they provide. Community-based oyster restoration programs engage the public and local community in planning, construction and/or monitoring of restoration projects. Since 2007, a K-12 student centered community-based restoration venture, Project PORTS, Promoting Oyster Restoration Through Schools, has been working to educate students, promote stewardship values, and enhance oyster habitat in the Delaware Bay. The overarching goals of the present study were to (1) assess fish and macroinvertebrate utilization on the Project PORTS community-created, subtidal, low-relief oyster restoration area in the Delaware Bay, and (2) convert the data collected into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activity that can be implemented in the classroom. I examined six subtidal natural oyster reefs of varying oyster densities and one community-based restoration reef as habitat for fishes and invertebrates. Sampling methods on these low-relief reefs consisted of otter trawl tows and benthic habitat tray collections. Results revealed that the enhancement area supported a diverse faunal community consistent with nearby, natural oyster habitats. Data collected during the field study were then transformed into an educational lesson plan, "One Fish, Two Fish-Assessing Habitat Value of Restored Oyster Reefs", that fulfilled national and state (NJ) curriculum standards. The lesson was piloted in a middle school classroom and student learning was evaluated through summative assessments pre and post-participation in the activity. Results of the assessments indicated that

  19. Relationships between reef fish communities and remotely sensed rugosity measurements in Biscayne National Park, Florida, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuffner, Ilsa B.; Brock, John C.; Grober-Dunsmore, Rikki; Bonito, Victor E.; Hickey, T. Donald; Wright, C. Wayne

    2007-01-01

    The realization that coral reef ecosystem management must occur across multiple spatial scales and habitat types has led scientists and resource managers to seek variables that are easily measured over large areas and correlate well with reef resources. Here we investigate the utility of new technology in airborne laser surveying (NASA Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL)) in assessing topographical complexity (rugosity) to predict reef fish community structure on shallow (n = 10–13 per reef). Rugosity at each station was assessed in situ by divers using the traditional chain-transect method (10-m scale), and remotely using the EAARL submarine topography data at multiple spatial scales (2, 5, and 10 m). The rugosity and biological datasets were analyzed together to elucidate the predictive power of EAARL rugosity in describing the variance in reef fish community variables and to assess the correlation between chain-transect and EAARL rugosity. EAARL rugosity was not well correlated with chain-transect rugosity, or with species richness of fishes (although statistically significant, the amount of variance explained by the model was very low). Variance in reef fish community attributes was better explained in reef-by-reef variability than by physical variables. However, once the reef-by-reef variability was taken into account in a two-way analysis of variance, the importance of rugosity could be seen on individual reefs. Fish species richness and abundance were statistically higher at high rugosity stations compared to medium and low rugosity stations, as predicted by prior ecological research. The EAARL shows promise as an important mapping tool for reef resource managers as they strive to inventory and protect coral reef resources.

  20. Norwegian deep-water coral reefs: cultivation and molecular analysis of planktonic microbial communities.

    PubMed

    Jensen, Sigmund; Lynch, Michael D J; Ray, Jessica L; Neufeld, Josh D; Hovland, Martin

    2015-10-01

    Deep-sea coral reefs do not receive sunlight and depend on plankton. Little is known about the plankton composition at such reefs, even though they constitute habitats for many invertebrates and fish. We investigated plankton communities from three reefs at 260-350 m depth at hydrocarbon fields off the mid-Norwegian coast using a combination of cultivation and small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene and transcript sequencing. Eight months incubations of a reef water sample with minimal medium, supplemented with carbon dioxide and gaseous alkanes at in situ-like conditions, enabled isolation of mostly Alphaproteobacteria (Sulfitobacter, Loktanella), Gammaproteobacteria (Colwellia) and Flavobacteria (Polaribacter). The relative abundance of isolates in the original sample ranged from ∼ 0.01% to 0.80%. Comparisons of bacterial SSU sequences from filtered plankton of reef and non-reef control samples indicated high abundance and metabolic activity of primarily Alphaproteobacteria (SAR11 Ia), Gammaproteobacteria (ARCTIC96BD-19), but also of Deltaproteobacteria (Nitrospina, SAR324). Eukaryote SSU sequences indicated metabolically active microalgae and animals, including codfish, at the reef sites. The plankton community composition varied between reefs and differed between DNA and RNA assessments. Over 5000 operational taxonomic units were detected, some indicators of reef sites (e.g. Flavobacteria, Cercozoa, Demospongiae) and some more active at reef sites (e.g. Gammaproteobacteria, Ciliophora, Copepoda).

  1. The ecology of intertidal oyster reefs of the South Atlantic Coast: A community profile

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bahr, Leonard M.; Lanier, William P.

    1981-01-01

    The functional role of the intertidal oyster reef community in the southeastern Atlantic coastal zone is described. This description is based on a compilation of published data, as well as some unpublished information presented as hypotheses. The profile is organized in a hierarchical manner, such that relevant details of reef oyster biology (autecology) are presented, followed by a description of the reef community level of organization. Then the reef community is described as a subsystem of the coastal marsh-ecosystem (synecoloqy). This information is also synthesized in a series of nested conceptual models of oyster reefs at the regional level, the drainage basin level, and the individual reef level. The final chapter includes a summary overview and a section on management implications and guidelines. Intertidal oyster reefs are relatively persistent features of the salt marsh estuarine ecosystem in the southeastern Atlantic coastal zone. The average areal extent of the oyster reef subsystem in this larger ecosystem is relatively small (about 0.05%). This proportion does not reflect, however, the functional importance of the reef subsystem in stablizing the marsh, providing food for estuarine consumers, mineralizing organic matter, and providing firm substrates in this otherwise soft environment.

  2. Importance of allochthonous material in benthic macrofaunal community functioning in estuarine salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kon, Koetsu; Hoshino, Yukihiro; Kanou, Kouki; Okazaki, Daisuke; Nakayama, Satoko; Kohno, Hiroshi

    2012-01-01

    Allochthonous input provides important food and spatial resources for estuarine benthic fauna. While it is known that autochthonous materials are important for fauna occupying small marshes, here, we present the significance of allochthonous materials for benthic fauna inhabiting a large salt marsh. To assess the effects of allochthonous input on benthic macrofaunal communities in estuarine salt marshes, we determined the source of substrate sediments and food resource utilisation patterns of benthic invertebrates in 2 temperate estuaries (the Tama River and the Obitsu River estuarine outlets into Tokyo Bay) by using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses. In the Tama River estuary, which has small patches of marsh vegetation upstream of the river mouth, there was an input of sedimentary organic matter from autochthonous sources (i.e. common reed and microphytobenthos). In the Obitsu River estuary salt marsh, which is situated immediately upstream of the river mouth and is well connected to the sea, sediment consists of allochthonous sources (i.e. imported phytoplankton), along with microphytobenthos. Isotope analysis indicated that most benthic invertebrates in the Tama River estuary depend on benthic microalgae (autochthonous) as a food resource, whereas the macrofauna in the Obitsu River estuary are supported by drift macroalgae (allochthonous), in addition to microphytobenthos or phytoplankton. Our results indicated that allochthonous material provides a food resource and potential habitat for benthic macrofauna in extensive salt marshes that have a strong connection to the sea but is not substantial in smaller marshes with limited connectivity to coastal water.

  3. Predation and landscape characteristics independently affect reef fish community organization.

    PubMed

    Stier, Adrian C; Hanson, Katharine M; Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Brooks, Andrew J

    2014-05-01

    Trophic island biogeography theory predicts that the effects of predators on prey diversity are context dependent in heterogeneous landscapes. Specifically, models predict that the positive effect of habitat area on prey diversity should decline in the presence of predators, and that predators should modify the partitioning of alpha and beta diversity across patchy landscapes. However, experimental tests of the predicted context dependency in top-down control remain limited. Using a factorial field experiment we quantify the effects of a focal predatory fish species (grouper) and habitat characteristics (patch size, fragmentation) on the partitioning of diversity and assembly of coral reef fish communities. We found independent effects of groupers and patch characteristics on prey communities. Groupers reduced prey abundance by 50% and gamma diversity by 45%, with a disproportionate removal of rare species relative to common species (64% and 36% reduction, respectively; an oddity effect). Further, there was a 77% reduction in beta diversity. Null model analysis demonstrated that groupers increased the importance of stochastic community assembly relative to patches without groupers. With regard to patch size, larger patches contained more fishes, but a doubling of patch size led to a modest (36%) increase in prey abundance. Patch size had no effect on prey diversity; however, fragmented patches had 50% higher species richness and modified species composition relative to unfragmented patches. Our findings suggest two different pathways (i.e., habitat or predator shifts) by which natural and/or anthropogenic processes can drive variation in fish biodiversity and community assembly.

  4. Evaluation of potential relationships between benthic community structure and toxic metals in Laizhou Bay.

    PubMed

    Wu, Bin; Song, Jinming; Li, Xuegang

    2014-10-15

    The objective of the present study was to examine the relationships between benthic community structure and toxic metals using bivariate/multivariate techniques at 17 sediment locations in Laizhou Bay, North China. Sediment chemical data were evaluated against geochemical background values and sediment quality guidelines, which identified Cu and As as contaminants of concern with a moderate potential for adverse effects. Benthic community data were subjected to non-metric multidimensional scaling, which generated four groups of stations. Spearman rank correlation was then employed to explore the relationships between the major axes of heavy metals and benthic community structure. However, weak and insignificant correlations were found between these axes, indicating that contaminants of concern may not be the primary explanatory factors. Polychaeta were abundant in southern Laizhou Bay, serving as a warning regarding the health status of the ecosystem. Integrated sediment quality assessment showed sediments from northern central locations were impaired, displaying less diverse benthos and higher metal contamination.

  5. Effects of oyster harvest activities on Louisiana reef habitat and resident nekton communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beck, Steve; LaPeyre, Megan K.

    2015-01-01

    Oysters are often cited as “ecosystem engineers” because they modify their environment. Coastal Louisiana contains extensive oyster reef areas that have been harvested for decades, and whether differences in habitat functions exist between those areas and nonharvested reefs is unclear. We compared reef physical structure and resident community metrics between these 2 subtidal reef types. Harvested reefs were more fragmented and had lower densities of live eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and hooked mussels (Ischadium recurvum) than the nonharvested reefs. Stable isotope values (13C and 15N) of dominant nekton species and basal food sources were used to compare food web characteristics. Nonpelagic source contributions and trophic positions of dominant species were slightly elevated at harvested sites. Oyster harvesting appeared to have decreased the number of large oysters and to have increased the percentage of reefs that were nonliving by decreasing water column filtration and benthopelagic coupling. The differences in reef matrix composition, however, had little effect on resident nekton communities. Understanding the thresholds of reef habitat areas, the oyster density or oyster size distribution below which ecosystem services may be compromised, remains key to sustainable management.

  6. Benthic habitat classification in Lignumvitae Key Basin, Florida Bay, using the U.S. Geological Survey Along-Track Reef Imaging System (ATRIS)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reich, C.D.; Zawada, D.G.; Thompson, P.R.; Reynolds, C.E.; Spear, A.H.; Umberger, D.K.; Poore, R.Z.

    2011-01-01

    The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) funded in partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, and other Federal, local and Tribal members has in its mandate a guideline to protect and restore freshwater flows to coastal environments to pre-1940s conditions (CERP, 1999). Historic salinity data are sparse for Florida Bay, so it is difficult for water managers to decide what the correct quantity, quality, timing, and distribution of freshwater are to maintain a healthy and productive estuarine ecosystem. Proxy records of seasurface temperature (SST) and salinity have proven useful in south Florida. Trace-element chemistry on foraminifera and molluscan shells preserved in shallow-water sediments has provided some information on historical salinity and temperature variability in coastal settings, but little information is available for areas within the main part of Florida Bay (Brewster-Wingard and others, 1996). Geochemistry of coral skeletons can be used to develop subannually resolved proxy records for SST and salinity. Previous studies suggest corals, specifically Solenastrea bournoni, present in the lower section of Florida Bay near Lignumvitae Key, may be suitable for developing records of SST and salinity for the past century, but the distribution and species composition of the bay coral community have not been well documented (Hudson and others, 1989; Swart and others, 1999). Oddly, S. bournoni thrives in the study area because it can grow on a sandy substratum and can tolerate highly turbid water. Solenastrea bournoni coral heads in this area should be ideally located to provide a record (~100-150 years) of past temperature and salinity variations in Florida Bay. The goal of this study was to utilize the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Along-Track Reef Imaging System (ATRIS) capability to further our understanding of the abundance, distribution, and size of corals in the Lignumvitae Key Basin. The

  7. Determining the Extent and Characterizing Coral Reef Habitats of the Northern Latitudes of the Florida Reef Tract (Martin County)

    PubMed Central

    Walker, Brian K.; Gilliam, David S.

    2013-01-01

    Climate change has recently been implicated in poleward shifts of many tropical species including corals; thus attention focused on higher-latitude coral communities is warranted to investigate possible range expansions and ecosystem shifts due to global warming. As the northern extension of the Florida Reef Tract (FRT), the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world, southeast Florida (25–27° N latitude) is a prime region to study such effects. Most of the shallow-water FRT benthic habitats have been mapped, however minimal data and limited knowledge exist about the coral reef communities of its northernmost reaches off Martin County. First benthic habitat mapping was conducted using newly acquired high resolution LIDAR bathymetry and aerial photography where possible to map the spatial extent of coral reef habitats. Quantitative data were collected to characterize benthic cover and stony coral demographics and a comprehensive accuracy assessment was performed. The data were then analyzed in a habitat biogeography context to determine if a new coral reef ecosystem region designation was warranted. Of the 374 km2 seafloor mapped, 95.2% was Sand, 4.1% was Coral Reef and Colonized Pavement, and 0.7% was Other Delineations. Map accuracy assessment yielded an overall accuracy of 94.9% once adjusted for known map marginal proportions. Cluster analysis of cross-shelf habitat type and widths indicated that the benthic habitats were different than those further south and warranted designation of a new coral reef ecosystem region. Unlike the FRT further south, coral communities were dominated by cold-water tolerant species and LIDAR morphology indicated no evidence of historic reef growth during warmer climates. Present-day hydrographic conditions may be inhibiting poleward expansion of coral communities along Florida. This study provides new information on the benthic community composition of the northern FRT, serving as a baseline for future community shift and

  8. Determining the extent and characterizing coral reef habitats of the northern latitudes of the Florida Reef Tract (Martin County).

    PubMed

    Walker, Brian K; Gilliam, David S

    2013-01-01

    Climate change has recently been implicated in poleward shifts of many tropical species including corals; thus attention focused on higher-latitude coral communities is warranted to investigate possible range expansions and ecosystem shifts due to global warming. As the northern extension of the Florida Reef Tract (FRT), the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world, southeast Florida (25-27° N latitude) is a prime region to study such effects. Most of the shallow-water FRT benthic habitats have been mapped, however minimal data and limited knowledge exist about the coral reef communities of its northernmost reaches off Martin County. First benthic habitat mapping was conducted using newly acquired high resolution LIDAR bathymetry and aerial photography where possible to map the spatial extent of coral reef habitats. Quantitative data were collected to characterize benthic cover and stony coral demographics and a comprehensive accuracy assessment was performed. The data were then analyzed in a habitat biogeography context to determine if a new coral reef ecosystem region designation was warranted. Of the 374 km(2) seafloor mapped, 95.2% was Sand, 4.1% was Coral Reef and Colonized Pavement, and 0.7% was Other Delineations. Map accuracy assessment yielded an overall accuracy of 94.9% once adjusted for known map marginal proportions. Cluster analysis of cross-shelf habitat type and widths indicated that the benthic habitats were different than those further south and warranted designation of a new coral reef ecosystem region. Unlike the FRT further south, coral communities were dominated by cold-water tolerant species and LIDAR morphology indicated no evidence of historic reef growth during warmer climates. Present-day hydrographic conditions may be inhibiting poleward expansion of coral communities along Florida. This study provides new information on the benthic community composition of the northern FRT, serving as a baseline for future community shift and

  9. Resilience and signatures of tropicalization in protected reef fish communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bates, Amanda E.; Barrett, Neville S.; Stuart-Smith, Rick D.; Holbrook, Neil J.; Thompson, Peter A.; Edgar, Graham J.

    2014-01-01

    Habitat reserves can promote ecological resilience to climate variability by supporting intact trophic webs and large-bodied individuals. Protection may also alter community responses to long-term climate change by offering habitat for range-shifting species. Here we analyse the species richness, diversity and functional traits of temperate reef fish communities over 20 years in a global warming hotspot and compare patterns in a marine reserve with nearby sites open to fishing. Species richness and diversity oscillated strongly on the decadal scale. Long-term warming signatures were also present as increasing functional trait richness and functional diversity, driven in part by a general increase in herbivores. Nevertheless, reserve sites were distinguished from fished sites by displaying: greater stability in some aspects of biodiversity; recovery of large-bodied temperate species; resistance to colonization by subtropical vagrants; and less pronounced increases in the community-averaged temperature affinity. We empirically demonstrate that protection from fishing has buffered fluctuations in biodiversity and provided resistance to the initial stages of tropicalization.

  10. Variability in microbial community composition and function between different niches within a coral reef.

    PubMed

    Tout, Jessica; Jeffries, Thomas C; Webster, Nicole S; Stocker, Roman; Ralph, Peter J; Seymour, Justin R

    2014-04-01

    To explore how microbial community composition and function varies within a coral reef ecosystem, we performed metagenomic sequencing of seawater from four niches across Heron Island Reef, within the Great Barrier Reef. Metagenomes were sequenced from seawater samples associated with (1) the surface of the coral species Acropora palifera, (2) the surface of the coral species Acropora aspera, (3) the sandy substrate within the reef lagoon and (4) open water, outside of the reef crest. Microbial composition and metabolic function differed substantially between the four niches. The taxonomic profile showed a clear shift from an oligotroph-dominated community (e.g. SAR11, Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus) in the open water and sandy substrate niches, to a community characterised by an increased frequency of copiotrophic bacteria (e.g. Vibrio, Pseudoalteromonas, Alteromonas) in the coral seawater niches. The metabolic potential of the four microbial assemblages also displayed significant differences, with the open water and sandy substrate niches dominated by genes associated with core house-keeping processes such as amino acid, carbohydrate and protein metabolism as well as DNA and RNA synthesis and metabolism. In contrast, the coral surface seawater metagenomes had an enhanced frequency of genes associated with dynamic processes including motility and chemotaxis, regulation and cell signalling. These findings demonstrate that the composition and function of microbial communities are highly variable between niches within coral reef ecosystems and that coral reefs host heterogeneous microbial communities that are likely shaped by habitat structure, presence of animal hosts and local biogeochemical conditions.

  11. Persistence and change in community composition of reef corals through present, past, and future climates.

    PubMed

    Edmunds, Peter J; Adjeroud, Mehdi; Baskett, Marissa L; Baums, Iliana B; Budd, Ann F; Carpenter, Robert C; Fabina, Nicholas S; Fan, Tung-Yung; Franklin, Erik C; Gross, Kevin; Han, Xueying; Jacobson, Lianne; Klaus, James S; McClanahan, Tim R; O'Leary, Jennifer K; van Oppen, Madeleine J H; Pochon, Xavier; Putnam, Hollie M; Smith, Tyler B; Stat, Michael; Sweatman, Hugh; van Woesik, Robert; Gates, Ruth D

    2014-01-01

    The reduction in coral cover on many contemporary tropical reefs suggests a different set of coral community assemblages will dominate future reefs. To evaluate the capacity of reef corals to persist over various time scales, we examined coral community dynamics in contemporary, fossil, and simulated future coral reef ecosystems. Based on studies between 1987 and 2012 at two locations in the Caribbean, and between 1981 and 2013 at five locations in the Indo-Pacific, we show that many coral genera declined in abundance, some showed no change in abundance, and a few coral genera increased in abundance. Whether the abundance of a genus declined, increased, or was conserved, was independent of coral family. An analysis of fossil-reef communities in the Caribbean revealed changes in numerical dominance and relative abundances of coral genera, and demonstrated that neither dominance nor taxon was associated with persistence. As coral family was a poor predictor of performance on contemporary reefs, a trait-based, dynamic, multi-patch model was developed to explore the phenotypic basis of ecological performance in a warmer future. Sensitivity analyses revealed that upon exposure to thermal stress, thermal tolerance, growth rate, and longevity were the most important predictors of coral persistence. Together, our results underscore the high variation in the rates and direction of change in coral abundances on contemporary and fossil reefs. Given this variation, it remains possible that coral reefs will be populated by a subset of the present coral fauna in a future that is warmer than the recent past.

  12. Spatial-temporal feeding dynamics of benthic communities in an estuary-marine gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antonio, Emily S.; Kasai, Akihide; Ueno, Masahiro; Ishihi, Yuka; Yokoyama, Hisashi; Yamashita, Yoh

    2012-10-01

    We investigated the fluctuations of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in benthic consumers and their potential food sources to determine the spatial and temporal variations in the utilization of available organic matter, indicating the origin and pathways of energy from Yura Estuary to Tango Sea, Japan. Field samplings were conducted from the upper estuary to offshore with sampling frequency of twice per season from April (spring) 2006 to February (winter) 2007. The δ13C signatures of the upper and lower estuary benthos showed depleted and in wide range (-28.9‰ to -13.5‰) compared to the enriched and within narrow range signatures of marine benthos (-20.6‰ to -14.0‰) in all seasons. On the contrary, the δ15N signatures of benthic communities showed decreasing trend seaward and summer values were different from the other seasons. Using the dual isotope and multisource mixing models, we estimated the relative contributions of potential food sources to the benthos diet. River POM played an important source of energy for the estuarine benthos, especially in winter when river discharge was high. Marine POM served as an important alternative food for the estuarine benthos from spring to autumn when seawater intruded the bottom estuary. Benthic microalgae were the major food source at the shallow coast throughout the year, while marine POM fueled the deep coast and offshore benthic food webs. Spatial and temporal feeding variations in estuarine benthic communities were driven by the hydrology of the estuary, whereas primary production and transport of food source dictated diet variations of marine benthic communities. The elucidation of the dynamic energy subsidy among aquatic systems highlights the importance of the land-sea transition zones that is crucial for benthic secondary productions.

  13. [Impact of artificial reef on community of macrobenthos in Jincheng area of Laizhou Bay, China].

    PubMed

    Ren, Bin-bin; Yuan, Wei; Sun, Jian-qiang; Chen, Rui-sheng; Wang, Jun

    2015-06-01

    In order to evaluate the impact of artificial reef on the communities of macrobenthos, from 2009 to 2012, samples were collected in four seasons at the artificial reef area and the control area in Jincheng area of Laizhou Bay from 9 cruises. A total of 35 macrobenthos species (4 phyla, 30 families) were recorded in the two areas, with 30 species in the artificial reef area, and 27 species in the control area. Results suggested that the two macrobenthos communities with different species composition could be discriminated. One community was located in artificial reef area, the other outside the reef area. Planktophagous group was the most dissimilarity-contributing species. The species similarity (Jaccard) of the two areas increased from 37.5% in the first year to 58.6% in the second year. The biomass and abundance of macrobenthos in the artificial reef area respectively increased from 1.00 g · m(-2) and 540 ind · m(-2) in the first year to 1.55 g · m(-2) and 622 ind · m(-2) in the second year, which were both higher than those in the control area. Compared with the control area, the Shannon index and abundance index of the artificial reef area were increased, while the evenness index was decreased. The abundance biomass comparison (ABC) curve showed that the macrobenthos communities were more heavily disturbed in the second year than that in the first year after artificial reef set. It was considered that the macrobenthos community was unsteady at the early stage after artificial reef construction (1-2 years). The physical, chemical, biological and human activities were the main factors influencing macrobenthos community in Jincheng area of Laizhou Bay.

  14. An evaluation of benthic community measures using laboratory-derived sediment effect concentrations

    SciTech Connect

    Dwyer, F.J.; Canfield, T.J.; Ingersoll, C.G.; Kemble, N.E.; Mount, D.R.

    1995-12-31

    Sediment effect concentrations (SECs) are contaminant sediment concentrations which are frequently associated with sediment toxicity. Recently, a number of different SECs have been calculated from laboratory toxicity tests with field collected sediments using Chironomus tentans, Chironomus riparius, and Hyalella azteca. Toxicity endpoints included (depending upon species) lethality, growth and sexual maturation. The authors selected the Effect Range Median (ERM) calculated for 28-d Hyalella azteca as an SEC for evaluating six different benthic community measures as indicators of contaminated sediment. The benthic measures included: taxa richness, chironomid genera richness, percent chironomid deformity, chironomid biotic index, ratio of chironomids/oligochaetes, and oligochaete biotic index. Benthic measures were obtained for 31 stations from the Great Lakes and 13 stations from Milltown Reservoir and Clark Fork River, MT. Each benthic measure was ranked from 1 to 100 and individual ranks and various combinations of ranks were plotted against the ratio of chemical concentration at the site/ERM calculated for that chemical (similar to a toxic unit approach) and the sum of the ERM ratios (sum of toxic units). Preliminary analysis indicates that, in general, benthic measures varied widely in relatively uncontaminated stations, confounding any underlying relationship that may have existed. The absence of chironomids, in areas with suitable habitat, seems to be indicative of grossly contaminated stations, but not an endpoint useful for discriminating stations with contaminant concentrations closer to the SEC. The usefulness of benthic measures as diagnostic tools for contaminated sediments and potential ways to improve these measures will be discussed.

  15. Structural responses of benthic macroinvertebrate communities from different stream orders to zinc

    SciTech Connect

    Kiffney, P.M.; Clements, W.H. . Dept. of Fishery and Wildlife Biology)

    1994-03-01

    It is well established that benthic invertebrate community structure and function shift in a predictable fashion along longitudinal stream gradients as a result of variation in environmental conditions. The authors research is concerned with experimentally testing whether this shift in community structure influences the response of benthic macroinvertebrates to heavy metals. Using artificial streams, they compared effects of Zn on natural assemblages of benthic macroinvertebrates communities collected from Little Beaver Creek (LBC; a third-order stream) and the Big South Fork of the Cache la Poudre, Colorado, catchment. Organisms collected from LBC and SFP were exposed to 0 or 130 [mu]g/L Zn in indoor experimental streams for 7 d. In general, similar taxa were found at both sites, but densities were generally higher at SFP than at LBC. They observed significant effects at the community and population level as a result of Zn, stream order, and the interaction between Zn and stream order. Specifically, mayflies from both sides were sensitive to Zn, but the magnitude of the response varied between sites. The results indicate that benthic macroinvertebrate communities from different stream order may vary in sensitivity to Zn.

  16. Detection and identification of benthic communities and shoreline features in Biscayne Bay

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kolipinski, M. C.; Higer, A. L.

    1970-01-01

    Progress made in the development of a technique for identifying and delinating benthic and shoreline communities using multispectral imagery is described. Images were collected with a multispectral scanner system mounted in a C-47 aircraft. Concurrent with the overflight, ecological ground- and sea-truth information was collected at 19 sites in the bay and on the shore. Preliminary processing of the scanner imagery with a CDC 1604 digital computer provided the optimum channels for discernment among different underwater and coastal objects. Automatic mapping of the benthic plants by multiband imagery and the mapping of isotherms and hydrodynamic parameters by digital model can become an effective predictive ecological tool when coupled together. Using the two systems, it appears possible to predict conditions that could adversely affect the benthic communities. With the advent of the ERTS satellites and space platforms, imagery data could be obtained which, when used in conjunction with water-level and meteorological data, would provide for continuous ecological monitoring.

  17. Habitat heterogeneity reflected in mesophotic reef sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weinstein, D. K.; Klaus, J. S.; Smith, T. B.

    2015-11-01

    Modern reef sediments reflect the physical and chemical characteristics of the environment as well as the local reef fauna. Analysis of sedimentary reef facies can thus provide a powerful tool in interpreting ancient reef deposits. However, few studies have attempted to differentiate sedimentary facies in mesophotic coral ecosystems, low light habitats defined as residing 30-150 m below sea level. The low-angle shelf mesophotic coral ecosystem south of the northern U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) consists of reefs with different structural characteristics ideal for studying the relationship between habitat variability and sedimentary facies. Textural, compositional, and geochemical analyses of surface sediments were used to identify mesophotic reef subfacies associated with distinct benthic communities and structural habitats. Sediment grain composition and bulk geochemistry were found to broadly record the distribution and abundance of coral and macroalgae communities, foundational mesophotic reef benthic organisms. Overall, sediment composition was found to be a good indicator of specific reef environments in low-angle mesophotic reef habitats. Sedimentological analyses indicate that hydrodynamic forces do not transport a significant amount of allochthonous sediment or potentially harmful terrigenous material to USVI mesophotic reefs. Episodic, maximum current velocities prevented deposition of most silt-size grains and smaller, but biological processes were found to have a greater influence on subfacies partitioning than hydrodynamic processes. Results provide a new analog for studies of ancient mesophotic coral ecosystem geological history and document the relationship between mesophotic reef subfacies, structural complexity, and habitat heterogeneity. They also demonstrate how mesophotic reefs along the same shelf system do not always share similar sedimentary characteristics and thus record a diverse set of ecological and environmental conditions.

  18. Limited flexibility in resource use in a coral reef grazer foraging on seasonally changing algal communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Afeworki, Y.; Bruggemann, J. H.; Videler, J. J.

    2011-03-01

    Feeding ecology of three life phases of the parrotfish Scarus ferrugineus was studied on a southern Red Sea fringing reef by comparing availability and consumption of benthic algae during the monsoon hot and cool seasons. Dominant biota covering dead carbonate substrates were in decreasing order of importance: turfs on endoliths, turfs on crustose corallines, and crustose corallines. On the reef crest and shallow fore reef, composition of the biota changed seasonally. Cover of turfs on endoliths and turfs on crustose corallines was higher during the hot season, while crustose corallines and macroalgae (only on reef crest) increased during the cool season. Biota in the deep fore reef did not show seasonal variation. All life phases used similar resources and showed selective feeding in all zones. Turfs on endoliths, followed by turfs on crustose corallines, was the primary feeding substrate. These two sources represented over 92% of bites during both seasons. Crustose corallines, macroalgae, and living corals were negligible components being strongly avoided at all zones and seasons. Resource use varied seasonally on the reef crest and shallow fore reef, while it remained unchanged on the deep fore reef. Turfs on endoliths were consistently preferred in both seasons but their contribution increased from 45% in the cool to 70% of bites in the hot season. Electivity for turfs on crustose corallines shifted from random feeding in the hot (27% of bites) to selection in the cool season (47% of bites). Feeding pattern changed diurnally with more bites taken from crustose corallines and turfs on crustose corallines during morning. During the rest of the day, bites from turfs on endoliths predominate. S. ferrugineus shows limited capacity to exploit seasonal increases in the biomass of foliose and canopy forming macroalgae, despite indications of energetic limitation during the cool season.

  19. Benthic Community Responses during Different Construction Stage of Large Coastal Development (Saemangeum, Republic of Korea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, S.; An, S.

    2014-12-01

    The Saemangeum reclamation project in South Korea represents one of the largest construction efforts in coastal environments and provides a valuable opportunity to evaluate the benthic community responses in the large scale human disturbances. The changes of benthic ecosystems were monitored in the course of construction stage. Depending on the construction stage (Partial Closure (PC) stage: May 2004 ~Jan. 2006, Complete Closure (CC) stage: May 2006~Nov. 2006), Stable (S) stage: May 2007 ~ Aug. 2008), subtidal benthic ecosystems around Saemangeum were affected differently. In particular, the dramatic change of benthic community was observed in DI (Direct influence) area located inside the barrage. The benthic community change was temporal and minimum in the IDI (In-direct Influence) area located outside the barrage. During PC stage, the species number and density tended to increase in DI, but they rapidly decreased during CC stage. They increased again during S stage in DI but the most of the species were composed of opportunistic species indicating a deteriorated environment. In IDI, the species number and density also increased during PC stage and decreased during CC stage, but unlike DI, the increase of species number and density in S stage was not observed. In DI area, the benthic community structure had changed due to hypoxia, desalination and landization after CC stage, and the opportunistic species like Theora fragilis, Tharyx sp., Heteromastus filiformis had dominated after S-stage. In IDI area, however, abrupt environmental changes had not appeared and species number and density had been constant and species composition did not change even after the CC stage.

  20. Characterization of benthic communities and physical habitat in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced Rivers, California.

    PubMed

    Hall, Lenwood W; Killen, William D; Anderson, Ronald D

    2006-04-01

    The primary goal of this study was to characterize physical habitat and benthic communities (macroinvertebrates) in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced Rivers in California's San Joaquin Valley in 2003. These rivers have been listed as impaired water bodies (303 (d) list) by the State of California due to the presence of organophosphate (OP) insecticides chlorpyrifos and diazinon, Group A pesticides (i.e., organochlorine pesticides), mercury, or unknown toxicity. Based on 10 instream and riparian physical habitat metrics, total physical habitat scores in the Stanislaus River ranged from 124 to 188 (maximum possible total score is 200). The highest total habitat score was reported at the upstream site. Tuolumne River physical habitat scores ranged from 86 to 167. Various Tuolumne River physical habitat metrics, including total habitat score, increased from downstream to upstream in this river. Merced River physical habitat scores ranged from 121 to 170 with a significant increase in various physical habitat metrics, including total habitat score, reported from downstream to upstream. Channel flow (an instream metric) and bank stability (a riparian metric) were the most important physical habitat metrics influencing the various benthic metrics for all three rivers. Abundance measures of benthic macroinvertebrates (5,100 to 5,400 individuals) were similar among the three rivers in the San Joaquin watershed. Benthic communities in all three rivers were generally dominated by: (1) Baetidae species (mayflies) which are a component of EPT taxa generally considered sensitive to environmental degradation; (2) Chironomidae (midges) which can be either tolerant or sensitive to environmental stressors depending on the species; (3) Ephemerellidae (mayflies) which are considered sensitive to pollution stress; and (4) Naididae (aquatic worms) which are generally considered tolerant to environmental stressors. The presence of 117 taxa in the Stanislaus River, 114 taxa in the

  1. Nitrogen and phosphorus uptake rates of different species from a coral reef community after a nutrient pulse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    den Haan, Joost; Huisman, Jef; Brocke, Hannah J.; Goehlich, Henry; Latijnhouwers, Kelly R. W.; van Heeringen, Seth; Honcoop, Saskia A. S.; Bleyenberg, Tanja E.; Schouten, Stefan; Cerli, Chiara; Hoitinga, Leo; Vermeij, Mark J. A.; Visser, Petra M.

    2016-06-01

    Terrestrial runoff after heavy rainfall can increase nutrient concentrations in waters overlying coral reefs that otherwise experience low nutrient levels. Field measurements during a runoff event showed a sharp increase in nitrate (75-fold), phosphate (31-fold) and ammonium concentrations (3-fold) in waters overlying a fringing reef at the island of Curaçao (Southern Caribbean). To understand how benthic reef organisms make use of such nutrient pulses, we determined ammonium, nitrate and phosphate uptake rates for one abundant coral species, turf algae, six macroalgal and two benthic cyanobacterial species in a series of laboratory experiments. Nutrient uptake rates differed among benthic functional groups. The filamentous macroalga Cladophora spp., turf algae and the benthic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula had the highest uptake rates per unit biomass, whereas the coral Madracis mirabilis had the lowest. Combining nutrient uptake rates with the standing biomass of each functional group on the reef, we estimated that the ammonium and phosphate delivered during runoff events is mostly taken up by turf algae and the two macroalgae Lobophora variegata and Dictyota pulchella. Our results support the often proposed, but rarely tested, assumption that turf algae and opportunistic macroalgae primarily benefit from episodic inputs of nutrients to coral reefs.

  2. Nitrogen and phosphorus uptake rates of different species from a coral reef community after a nutrient pulse

    PubMed Central

    den Haan, Joost; Huisman, Jef; Brocke, Hannah J.; Goehlich, Henry; Latijnhouwers, Kelly R. W.; van Heeringen, Seth; Honcoop, Saskia A. S.; Bleyenberg, Tanja E.; Schouten, Stefan; Cerli, Chiara; Hoitinga, Leo; Vermeij, Mark J. A.; Visser, Petra M.

    2016-01-01

    Terrestrial runoff after heavy rainfall can increase nutrient concentrations in waters overlying coral reefs that otherwise experience low nutrient levels. Field measurements during a runoff event showed a sharp increase in nitrate (75-fold), phosphate (31-fold) and ammonium concentrations (3-fold) in waters overlying a fringing reef at the island of Curaçao (Southern Caribbean). To understand how benthic reef organisms make use of such nutrient pulses, we determined ammonium, nitrate and phosphate uptake rates for one abundant coral species, turf algae, six macroalgal and two benthic cyanobacterial species in a series of laboratory experiments. Nutrient uptake rates differed among benthic functional groups. The filamentous macroalga Cladophora spp., turf algae and the benthic cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula had the highest uptake rates per unit biomass, whereas the coral Madracis mirabilis had the lowest. Combining nutrient uptake rates with the standing biomass of each functional group on the reef, we estimated that the ammonium and phosphate delivered during runoff events is mostly taken up by turf algae and the two macroalgae Lobophora variegata and Dictyota pulchella. Our results support the often proposed, but rarely tested, assumption that turf algae and opportunistic macroalgae primarily benefit from episodic inputs of nutrients to coral reefs. PMID:27353576

  3. Long-Term Effects of the Cleaner Fish Labroides dimidiatus on Coral Reef Fish Communities

    PubMed Central

    Waldie, Peter A.; Blomberg, Simon P.; Cheney, Karen L.; Goldizen, Anne W.; Grutter, Alexandra S.

    2011-01-01

    Cleaning behaviour is deemed a mutualism, however the benefit of cleaning interactions to client individuals is unknown. Furthermore, mechanisms that may shift fish community structure in the presence of cleaning organisms are unclear. Here we show that on patch reefs (61–285 m2) which had all cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus (Labridae) experimentally removed (1–5 adults reef−1) and which were then maintained cleaner-fish free over 8.5 years, individuals of two site-attached (resident) client damselfishes (Pomacentridae) were smaller compared to those on control reefs. Furthermore, resident fishes were 37% less abundant and 23% less species rich per reef, compared to control reefs. Such changes in site-attached fish may reflect lower fish growth rates and/or survivorship. Additionally, juveniles of visitors (fish likely to move between reefs) were 65% less abundant on removal reefs suggesting cleaners may also affect recruitment. This may, in part, explain the 23% lower abundance and 33% lower species richness of visitor fishes, and 66% lower abundance of visitor herbivores (Acanthuridae) on removal reefs that we also observed. This is the first study to demonstrate a benefit of cleaning behaviour to client individuals, in the form of increased size, and to elucidate potential mechanisms leading to community-wide effects on the fish population. Many of the fish groups affected may also indirectly affect other reef organisms, thus further impacting the reef community. The large-scale effect of the presence of the relatively small and uncommon fish, Labroides dimidiadus, on other fishes is unparalleled on coral reefs. PMID:21731670

  4. Relationships between stripmining-induced changes and benthic insect communities in the southern Appalachian Region

    SciTech Connect

    Tolbert, V. R.

    1980-01-01

    Increased demands for coal to supply America's energy needs, as well as the controversy surrounding the requirements and enforcement of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, point directly to the need for determination of specific factors associated with stripmining alteration that produce major environmental impacts. Numerous studies have demonstrated physical and chemical alterations to southern Appalachian streams subject to stripmining effluents found that the two major factors resulting in physical alterations were increased runoff and resultant sedimentation. Studies in streams receiving acid mine drainage showed that benthic insect communities differed in undisturbed and stripmining disturbed streams. Branson and Batch noted differences in benthic communities in Kentucky streams disturbed by non-acid stripmining. Tolbert found significant differences in benthic communities between undisturbed and nonacid mining streams. This paper describes research to determine what stripmining-altered parameters are responsible for differences in benthic insect communities. The results of this study can be applied toward validation of control measures required by the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

  5. Effects of heavy metals on benthic macroinvertebrate communities in New Zealand streams

    SciTech Connect

    Hickey, C.W.; Clements, W.H.

    1998-11-01

    The authors performed chemical analyses of heavy metals in water and periphyton, toxicity tests with Daphnia magna and an indigenous mayfly (Deleatidium sp.), and field surveys of benthic macroinvertebrates to estimate the degree of metal pollution in three catchments in the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand. Good agreement was found between toxicity tests and measures of benthic community structure, particularly at stations with the highest metal levels. Responses of benthic communities at stations with low or moderate levels of metal contamination were variable and were probably confounded by factors other than heavy metals. Effects of heavy metals on benthic communities in New Zealand streams were similar to those reported for metal-polluted streams in North America and Europe, suggesting that responses to metal contamination are predictable. Abundance and species richness of mayflies, number of taxa in the orders Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera, and total taxonomic richness were the best indicators of heavy metals in New Zealand streams. In contrast, the quantitative macroinvertebrate community index (QMCI), a biotic index proposed for assessing effects of organic enrichment in New Zealand streams, could not distinguish between reference and metal-polluted streams. The poor performance of the QMCI was primarily due to incorrect tolerance scores for some taxa to heavy metals. Because of concerns regarding the subjective assignment of tolerance values to species, the authors recommend that tolerance values for dominant species in New Zealand streams should be verified experimentally in stream microcosms.

  6. Eutrophication and Hypoxia Degrade Ecosystem Functions and Services of Narragansett Bay Benthic Communities

    EPA Science Inventory

    Excessive input of nitrogen to estuaries and coastal waters leads to eutrophication; the resulting organic matter over-enrichment of the sediments and seasonal hypoxia of the bottom water have well-known deleterious effects on benthic community biodiversity, abundance, and biomas...

  7. Evaluation of tire reefs for enhancing aquatic communities in concrete-lined canals

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mueller, Gordon; Liston, Charles R.

    1994-01-01

    Large earthen canals in the arid southwest are being lined with concrete to reduce seepage and conserve limited water supplies. Lining reduces habitat and increases operational velocities (relative to unaltered streams), which are detrimental to aquatic communities. Fish communities that become reestablished in these waterways exhibit lower species diversity, densities, and biomass than they did in the former earthen canals. Placement of low-profile tire reefs in the Coachella Canal, California, and the Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct, Arizona, reversed these trends. Comparative sampling revealed that invertebrate and fish densities were 3 and 20 times higher, respectively, in reef areas than in typical canal sections without reefs. Tire reefs are recommended as an effective means of enhancing aquatic communities in concrete canals.

  8. Macroalgal communities on multi-stressed coral reefs in the Caribbean: Long-term changes, spatial variations, and relationships with environmental variables

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sangil, Carlos; Guzman, Hector M.

    2016-11-01

    Long-term changes in macroalgal cover, spatial variation between macroalgal communities, and relationships with environmental variables and benthic groups were assessed in coral reefs along the Caribbean coast of Panama. Sampling was conducted in two regions: Western and Central. Data collected between 2000 and 2012 showed a continuous increase in macroalgal abundance, although patterns differed according to region and site. There were differences in macroalgal communities between regions, as well as within regions between different wave-exposure levels. There were also differences between sites within regions exposed to the same level of wave action. Multivariate analysis found that wave exposure along with herbivore density (Echinometra viridis) and sedimentation were the variables that explained most of the variability between communities. Other variables such as Echinometra lucunter and Diadema antillarum densities, fish density, productivity, and live coral cover had significant relationships with community structure, but explained less of the variability.

  9. The impacts of tourism on coral reef conservation awareness and support in coastal communities in Belize

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diedrich, A.

    2007-12-01

    Marine recreational tourism is one of a number of threats to the Belize Barrier Reef but, conversely, represents both a motivation and source of resources for its conservation. The growth of tourism in Belize has resulted in the fact that many coastal communities are in varying stages of a socio-economic shift from dependence on fishing to dependence on tourism. In a nation becoming increasingly dependent on the health of its coral reef ecosystems for economic prosperity, a shift from extractive uses to their preservation is both necessary and logical. Through examining local perception data in five coastal communities in Belize, each attracting different levels of coral reef related tourism, this analysis is intended to explore the relationship between tourism development and local coral reef conservation awareness and support. The results of the analysis show a positive correlation between tourism development and coral reef conservation awareness and support in the study communities. The results also show a positive correlation between tourism development and local perceptions of quality of life, a trend that is most likely the source of the observed relationship between tourism and conservation. The study concludes that, because the observed relationship may be dependent on continued benefits from tourism as opposed to a perceived crisis in coral reef health, Belize must pay close attention to tourism impacts in the future. Failure to do this could result in a destructive feedback loop that would contribute to the degradation of the reef and, ultimately, Belize’s diminished competitiveness in the ecotourism market.

  10. Dual-Carbon sources fuel the OCS deep-reef Community, a stable isotope investigation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sulak, Kenneth J.; Berg, J.; Randall, Michael; Dennis, George D.; Brooks, R.A.

    2008-01-01

    The hypothesis that phytoplankton is the sole carbon source for the OCS deep-reef community (>60 m) was tested. Trophic structure for NE Gulf of Mexico deep reefs was analyzed via carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes. Carbon signatures for 114 entities (carbon sources, sediment, fishes, and invertebrates) supported surface phytoplankton as the primary fuel for the deep reef. However, a second carbon source, the macroalga Sargassum, with its epiphytic macroalgal associate, Cladophora liniformis, was also identified. Macroalgal carbon signatures were detected among 23 consumer entities. Most notably, macroalgae contributed 45 % of total carbon to the 13C isotopic spectrum of the particulate-feeding reef-crest gorgonian Nicella. The discontinuous spatial distribution of some sessile deep-reef invertebrates utilizing pelagic macroalgal carbon may be trophically tied to the contagious distribution of Sargassum biomass along major ocean surface features.

  11. A baseline study of benthic community associated with Amphioxus Sand in subtropical Hong Kong.

    PubMed

    Chen, Y; Cheung, S G; Shin, P K S

    2013-07-15

    An annual investigation on the seasonal changes of benthic community structure associated with Amphioxus Sand was conducted at two sites in the eastern waters of subtropical Hong Kong, where three species of amphioxus, Branchiostoma belcheri, B. japonicum and B. malayanum coexist. A total of 84 species and 4169 individuals were recorded at Tai Long Wan, whereas a total of 87 species and 3915 individuals were recorded at Pak Lap Wan. Benthic polychaetes were dominant, including high abundance of Onuphis eremita and Prionospio malmgreni. Results of cluster analysis showed significant community structures between the two areas because of difference in sediment granulometry. However, temporal changes within these Amphioxus Sand communities were minimal. In general, the Amphioxus Sand communities in Hong Kong showed higher species richness of Polychaeta as compared with similar studies elsewhere, possibly implying an increased level of organic pollution in Hong Kong waters.

  12. Benthic community of the Savannah River below a peaking hydropower station

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hudson, Patrick L.; Nichols, S. Jerrine

    1986-01-01

    The Savannah River below Hartwell Dam, on the South Carolina-Georgia border, contains at least 206 benthic invertebrate taxa, even though this tailwater undergoes substantial daily fluctuations in water flow, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. Oligochaetes, chironomids, and amphipods dominate the community immediately below the dam. Farther downstream, larger organisms (i.e., Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera, etc.) dominate the benthic community. The high diversity of this system is primarily attributed to the intensive effort we expended to identify invertebrates to species level. We conclude that tailwaters associated with peaking hydropower stations may in fact have the diverse community assemblages found in natural streams and that this has not been recognized by other investigators because the bulk of the fauna is made up of small forms that are easily overlooked. Comparisons of tailwater fauna communities with those in control areas should be limited to rivers of similar size.

  13. Bacterial communities associated with three Brazilian endemic reef corals (Mussismilia spp.) in a coastal reef of the Abrolhos shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Castro, Alinne Pereira; Araújo, Samuel Dias; Reis, Alessandra M. M.; Pompeu, Maira; Hatay, Mark; de Moura, Rodrigo Leão; Francini-Filho, Ronaldo B.; Thompson, Fabiano L.; Krüger, Ricardo H.

    2013-11-01

    The diversity of bacterial communities associated with three Brazilian endemic reef corals from genus Mussismilia (M. hispida, M. braziliensis, and M. harttii) at a single site was assessed using 16S rRNA clone libraries. The study site, Pedra do Leste, is a coastal reef within the largest and richest South Atlantic coralline reef complex (Abrolhos Bank) and is subject to high fishing pressure, high sedimentation loads, and other land-based stressors. The three coral species are Neogene relicts with unique biological and morphological traits that enable them to survive relatively high sedimentation levels. Our results show that sequences affiliated with γ-Proteobacteria predominated, accounting for more than 60% of the examined sequences. Indeed, the most frequent species were related to Alteromonas, Marinomonas, Neptuniibacter, and Vibrio, which are copiotrophic microorganisms common in environments highly affected by anthropogenic stress. Principal component analysis revealed that bacterial communities of M. braziliensis and M. hispida were more similar to each other than to M. harttii-associated bacteria. Such pattern is likely related to distinct morphological properties of M. harttii, such as the existence of phaceloid colonies, in which polyps are not connected by soft tissue. This is the first investigation assessing the bacterial communities of the three Brazilian endemic Mussismilia species at the same location.

  14. Building functional groups of marine benthic macroinvertebrates on the basis of general community assembly mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alexandridis, Nikolaos; Bacher, Cédric; Desroy, Nicolas; Jean, Fred

    2017-03-01

    The accurate reproduction of the spatial and temporal dynamics of marine benthic biodiversity requires the development of mechanistic models, based on the processes that shape macroinvertebrate communities. The modelled entities should, accordingly, be able to adequately represent the many functional roles that are performed by benthic organisms. With this goal in mind, we applied the emergent group hypothesis (EGH), which assumes functional equivalence within and functional divergence between groups of species. The first step of the grouping involved the selection of 14 biological traits that describe the role of benthic macroinvertebrates in 7 important community assembly mechanisms. A matrix of trait values for the 240 species that occurred in the Rance estuary (Brittany, France) in 1995 formed the basis for a hierarchical classification that generated 20 functional groups, each with its own trait values. The functional groups were first evaluated based on their ability to represent observed patterns of biodiversity. The two main assumptions of the EGH were then tested, by assessing the preservation of niche attributes among the groups and the neutrality of functional differences within them. The generally positive results give us confidence in the ability of the grouping to recreate functional diversity in the Rance estuary. A first look at the emergent groups provides insights into the potential role of community assembly mechanisms in shaping biodiversity patterns. Our next steps include the derivation of general rules of interaction and their incorporation, along with the functional groups, into mechanistic models of benthic biodiversity.

  15. Benthic microbial communities of coastal terrestrial and ice shelf Antarctic meltwater ponds

    PubMed Central

    Archer, Stephen D. J.; McDonald, Ian R.; Herbold, Craig W.; Lee, Charles K.; Cary, Craig S.

    2015-01-01

    The numerous perennial meltwater ponds distributed throughout Antarctica represent diverse and productive ecosystems central to the ecological functioning of the surrounding ultra oligotrophic environment. The dominant taxa in the pond benthic communities have been well described however, little is known regarding their regional dispersal and local drivers to community structure. The benthic microbial communities of 12 meltwater ponds in the McMurdo Sound of Antarctica were investigated to examine variation between pond microbial communities and their biogeography. Geochemically comparable but geomorphologically distinct ponds were selected from Bratina Island (ice shelf) and Miers Valley (terrestrial) (<40 km between study sites), and community structure within ponds was compared using DNA fingerprinting and pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. More than 85% of total sequence reads were shared between pooled benthic communities at different locations (OTU0.05), which in combination with favorable prevailing winds suggests aeolian regional distribution. Consistent with previous findings Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes were the dominant phyla representing over 50% of total sequences; however, a large number of other phyla (21) were also detected in this ecosystem. Although dominant Bacteria were ubiquitous between ponds, site and local selection resulted in heterogeneous community structures and with more than 45% of diversity being pond specific. Potassium was identified as the most significant contributing factor to the cosmopolitan community structure and aluminum to the location unique community based on a BEST analysis (Spearman's correlation coefficient of 0.632 and 0.806, respectively). These results indicate that the microbial communities in meltwater ponds are easily dispersed regionally and that the local geochemical environment drives the ponds community structure. PMID:26074890

  16. Spatial variation in organic matter utilization by benthic communities from Yura River-Estuary to offshore of Tango Sea, Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antonio, Emily S.; Kasai, Akihide; Ueno, Masahiro; Won, Nam-il; Ishihi, Yuka; Yokoyama, Hisashi; Yamashita, Yoh

    2010-01-01

    We investigated the distribution of δ 13C and δ 15N of organic matter among benthic communities from the upper estuary of Yura River to offshore of Tango Sea, Japan, to determine spatial variation in utilization of organic matter by benthic communities. The δ 13C values of benthic animals ranged from -27 to -15‰ in the upper estuary, -21 to -15‰ in the lower estuary, -20 to -16‰ in the shallow coast (5-10 m depths), -18 to -16‰ in the deep coast (30-60 m depths) and -19 to -15‰ in offshore (100-150 m depths) stations. Adapting the dual isotope values to mixing models, we estimated the relative contributions of potential food sources to the benthos diet. Phytoplankton and macroalgae that intruded the estuary in summer were utilized as alternative food aside from the terrestrial-origin organic matter assimilated by the estuarine benthic consumers. Resuspended benthic microalgae were important source of energy in the shallow coastal stations, while abundant supply of phytodetritus fueled the deep coastal and offshore benthic food webs. Spatial difference in the diet of benthic communities depends largely on the shifts in the primary carbon source. Thus, benthic communities are important link of autochthonous/allochthonous production and secondary production in the continuous river-estuary-marine system.

  17. The nearshore benthic community of Kasatochi Island, one year after the 2008 volcanic eruption

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jewett, S.C.; Bodkin, J.L.; Chenelot, H.; Esslinger, G.G.; Hoberg, M.K.

    2010-01-01

    A description is presented of the nearshore benthic community of Kasatochi Island 1012 months after a catastrophic volcanic eruption in 2008. The eruption extended the coastline of the island approximately 400 m offshore, mainly along the south, southeast, and southwest shores, to roughly the 20 m isobath. Existing canopy kelp of Eualaria (Alaria) fistulosa, as well as limited understory algal species and associated fauna (e.g., urchin barrens) on the hard substratum were apparently buried following the eruption. Samples and observations revealed the substrate around the island in 2009 was comprised almost entirely of medium and coarse sands with a depauperate benthic community, dominated by opportunistic pontogeneiid amphipods. Comparisons of habitat and biological communities with other nearby Aleutian Islands, as well as with the Icelandic volcanic island of Surtsey, confirm dramatic reductions in flora and fauna consistent with an early stage of recovery from a large-scale disturbance event. ?? 2010 Regents of the University of Colorado.

  18. Ecological Effects of Biochar on the Structure and Function of Stream Benthic Communities.

    PubMed

    Clements, William H; Stahl, Ralph G; Landis, Richard C

    2015-12-15

    The introduction of biochar, activated carbon, and other carbonaceous materials to aquatic ecosystems significantly reduces the toxicity and bioavailability of contaminants. However, previous studies have shown that these materials can have negative effects on aquatic organisms. We conducted field and mesocosm experiments to test the hypothesis that biochar altered the structure and function of stream benthic communities. After 30 d in the field, colonization by stoneflies (Plecoptera) was significantly lower in trays containing biochar compared to the results from the controls. In stream mesocosms, biochar increased macroinvertebrate drift and significantly reduced community metabolism. However, most measures of community composition showed little variation among biochar treatments, and significant responses were limited to a single stonefly species (Capnia confusa). When benthic communities were simultaneously exposed to biochar and Cu, effects were primarily associated with metal exposure. Because it is unlikely that biochar treatments would be employed in uncontaminated areas, these moderately negative effects should be considered within the context of the positive benefits associated with reduced contaminant bioavailability and toxicity. Additional research is necessary to improve our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for biochar effects on benthic communities and to identify the optimal application rates and size fractions that will maximize contaminant sorption but minimize potential negative effects.

  19. Seascape context and predators override water quality effects on inshore coral reef fish communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilby, Ben L.; Tibbetts, Ian R.; Olds, Andrew D.; Maxwell, Paul S.; Stevens, Tim

    2016-09-01

    Understanding the relative influence of factors that influence faunal community structure, such as habitat and landscape arrangement, has been a long-standing goal of ecologists. This is complicated in marine environments by the high importance of physico-chemical water factors in determining species distributions relative to their physiological or behavioural limits. In this study, we rank the relative importance of 17 seascape, habitat and physico-chemical water factors for structuring the composition of fish communities on the inshore coral reefs of Moreton Bay, eastern Australia. Fish were surveyed at 12 reef sites along the ambient estuarine water gradient in the bay during summer and winter using a baited underwater video approach. Multivariate random forest analyses showed that reef fish community composition correlated most strongly with the local abundance of piscivorous fish and the seascape context of individual reefs (especially distance to nearest seagrass and mangroves), while water quality factors ranked much lower in importance. However, fish communities from sites nearer to rivers were more spatiotemporally variable than those from sites nearer to oceanic waters, indicating that water quality can drive variations in community structure along short-term temporal scales. In turn, piscivore abundance was greatest on reefs near large areas of seagrass, and with low sand cover, high coral cover and high water clarity. Our findings demonstrate that a reef's location within the broader seascape can be more important for fish communities than factors relating to the reef habitat itself and exposure to reduced water quality. To improve the spatial conservation of marine ecosystems, we encourage a more intimate understanding of how these factors contribute to structuring the use of habitats across seascapes by mobile species.

  20. Field experiments on responses of a freshwater, benthic macroinvertebrate community to vertebrate predators

    SciTech Connect

    Thorp, J.H.; Bergey, E.A.

    1981-04-01

    The seasonal importance of vertebrate predators in potentially regulating the abundance and diversity of the benthic macroinvertebrates in the littoral zone of a soft-bottom reservoir that receives thermal effluent from a nuclear production reactor was examined. Thirty-six predator (fish and turtle) exclusion cages (4 m/sup 2/) were placed in shallow water at six locations along a thermal gradient in Par Pond, a 1100-ha cooling reservoir on the Savannah River Plant near Aiken, South Carolina, USA. An additional 36 control plots (4 m/sup 2/) were also set up. Cages were in place during three, 3-mo test periods beginning in September 1977. Estimates of benthic density, taxon richness, and distribution within functional groups (defined by feeding mechanism) were calculated for each test period. Effects of temperature on predator-prey relationships were also determined. Experimental results of this study suggest that vertebrate predation was not the fundamental parameter organizing the benthic macroinvertebrate community in the littoral zone of this reservoir. Neither taxon richness nor density of total macroinvertebrates was conclusively related to predator treatment. Relationships between predator treatment and community response (changes in density and taxon richness) were generally unaffected by either plot locality, temperature fluctuations from thermal effluent, or seasonal changes. When data from caged and control plots were pooled, however, both location and water temperature individually had direct impacts on the benthic community. From these results and other field studies it is hypothesized that individual species of keystone benthic predators do not occur in the littoral zone of freshwater lentic environments with soft bottoms.

  1. Water flow modulates the response of coral reef communities to ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Comeau, S; Edmunds, P J; Lantz, C A; Carpenter, R C

    2014-10-20

    By the end of the century coral reefs likely will be affected negatively by ocean acidification (OA), but both the effects of OA on coral communities and the crossed effects of OA with other physical environmental variables are lacking. One of the least considered physical parameters is water flow, which is surprising considering its strong role in modulating the physiology of reef organisms and communities. In the present study, the effects of flow were tested on coral reef communities maintained in outdoor flumes under ambient pCO2 and high pCO2 (1300 μatm). Net calcification of coral communities, including sediments, was affected by both flow and pCO2 with calcification correlated positively with flow under both pCO2 treatments. The effect of flow was less evident for sediments where dissolution exceeded precipitation of calcium carbonate under all flow speeds at high pCO2. For corals and calcifying algae there was a strong flow effect, particularly at high pCO2 where positive net calcification was maintained at night in the high flow treatment. Our results demonstrate the importance of water flow in modulating the coral reef community response to OA and highlight the need to consider this parameter when assessing the effects of OA on coral reefs.

  2. Oligohaline benthic invertebrate communities at two Chesapeake Bay power plants

    SciTech Connect

    Jordan, R.A.; Sutton, C.E.

    1984-09-01

    Benthic invertebrate populations at the Surry Power Plant on James River, Virginia and the C.P. Crane Power Plant on Saltpeter Creek, Maryland exhibited large spatial and temporal variations. At C.P. Crane, where the cooling water is pumped between two tidal creeks, populations in the receiving creek exhibited five response patterns: 1) mitigation of a winter die off (Rangia cuneata, a brackish water clam), 2) acceleration of growth or development (R. cuneata; Scolecolepides viridis, a polychaete; Leptocheirus plumulosus, an amphipod; Tubificidae; and Coelotanypus sp., a dipteran), 3) importation of larvae from the source water creek (S. viridis and Coelotanypus sp.), 4) extension of creek-dwelling species into the adjacent river (Coelotanypus sp. and other dipterans), and 5) increased severity of late summer population depression (S. viridis and L. plumulosus). At Surry, where the cooling water is taken from the downriver side of a peninsula and discharged on the upriver side, there was no confined creek system at the discharge, and effects were less pronounced. No major ecological damage was attributed to either power plant, due in part to the resilience of estuarine endemic populations, but the unique features exhibited by each of the two sites support the argument that oligohaline estuarine zones should not be designated a priori for unregulated industrial development. 39 references, 20 figures, 9 tables.

  3. Persistence and Change in Community Composition of Reef Corals through Present, Past, and Future Climates

    PubMed Central

    Edmunds, Peter J.; Adjeroud, Mehdi; Baskett, Marissa L.; Baums, Iliana B.; Budd, Ann F.; Carpenter, Robert C.; Fabina, Nicholas S.; Fan, Tung-Yung; Franklin, Erik C.; Gross, Kevin; Han, Xueying; Jacobson, Lianne; Klaus, James S.; McClanahan, Tim R.; O'Leary, Jennifer K.; van Oppen, Madeleine J. H.; Pochon, Xavier; Putnam, Hollie M.; Smith, Tyler B.; Stat, Michael; Sweatman, Hugh; van Woesik, Robert; Gates, Ruth D.

    2014-01-01

    The reduction in coral cover on many contemporary tropical reefs suggests a different set of coral community assemblages will dominate future reefs. To evaluate the capacity of reef corals to persist over various time scales, we examined coral community dynamics in contemporary, fossil, and simulated future coral reef ecosystems. Based on studies between 1987 and 2012 at two locations in the Caribbean, and between 1981 and 2013 at five locations in the Indo-Pacific, we show that many coral genera declined in abundance, some showed no change in abundance, and a few coral genera increased in abundance. Whether the abundance of a genus declined, increased, or was conserved, was independent of coral family. An analysis of fossil-reef communities in the Caribbean revealed changes in numerical dominance and relative abundances of coral genera, and demonstrated that neither dominance nor taxon was associated with persistence. As coral family was a poor predictor of performance on contemporary reefs, a trait-based, dynamic, multi-patch model was developed to explore the phenotypic basis of ecological performance in a warmer future. Sensitivity analyses revealed that upon exposure to thermal stress, thermal tolerance, growth rate, and longevity were the most important predictors of coral persistence. Together, our results underscore the high variation in the rates and direction of change in coral abundances on contemporary and fossil reefs. Given this variation, it remains possible that coral reefs will be populated by a subset of the present coral fauna in a future that is warmer than the recent past. PMID:25272143

  4. The cost of tolerance: sensitivity of stream benthic communities to UV-B and metals.

    PubMed

    Kashian, Donna R; Zuellig, Robert E; Mitchell, Katharine A; Clements, William H

    2007-03-01

    The ability to tolerate disturbance is a defense strategy that minimizes the effects of damage to fitness and is essential for sustainability of populations, communities, and ecosystems. Despite the apparent benefits of tolerance, there may be an associated cost that results in a deficiency of a system to respond to additional disturbances. Aquatic ecosystems are often exposed to a variety of natural and anthropogenic disturbances, and the effects of these compound perturbations are not well known. In this investigation, we examine whether tolerance to one stressor, metals, results in a cost of increased sensitivity to an additional stressor, ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation. Heavy metal pollution is recognized as a major environmental problem in Rocky Mountain streams. These high-elevation, typically clear streams may be at particular risk to elevated UV-B levels associated with reduced levels of ozone. Microcosm experiments were conducted using natural stream benthic communities collected from a reference site and a site with a long-term history of heavy-metal pollution. Direct and interactive effects of heavy metals and UV-B radiation on structural and functional characteristics of benthic communities were evaluated among four treatments: control, UV-B, metals, and metal and UV-B. Communities from the metal-polluted site were more tolerant of metals but less tolerant to UV-B compared to reference communities. Increased mayfly drift and reduced metabolism in response to metal exposure were observed in reference communities but not in the metal-polluted communities. In contrast to these results, UV-B radiation significantly reduced community metabolism, total macroinvertebrate abundance, and abundances of mayflies, caddisflies, and dipterans from the metal-polluted site, but had no effects on benthic communities from the reference site. ANOSIM results demonstrated that community responses differed among treatments at both sites. Metals had the largest impact on

  5. Late Weichselian deglaciation and early Holocene development of a cold-water coral reef along the Lopphavet shelf (Northern Norway) recorded by benthic foraminifera and ostracoda

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stalder, Claudio; Spezzaferri, Silvia; Rüggeberg, Andres; Pirkenseer, Claudius; Gennari, Giordana

    2014-01-01

    Cold-water coral (CWC) settlement in northern Norway is strongly related to the outlet-glaciers of the Fennoscandian Ice-sheet, and dating of known CWC structures show clearly post-glacial ages. Two gravity cores (POS391 559/2,277 cm long and POS391 559/3,282 cm long) were recovered on a CWC reef in the area of Lopphavet, northern Norway. Detailed investigations on lithology (sediment structures and composition), micropaleontology (foraminifera and ostracoda) and AMS 14C dating on the epibenthic foraminifera Discanomalina coronata were performed on the two cores. Phosphorus analyses were performed only on core POS391 559/3. Results indicate that the whole core POS391 559/2 is representative of a CWC reef environment. The base of the core is dated at 10,600±120 cal. yr BP, thus representing one of the oldest ages of a Norwegian coral reef. Core POS391 559/3 documents the passage from a proximal glacier environment characterized by fine silty sediments with intercalation of several dropstone layers to a CWC ecosystem. The transition from the glacial to the interglacial stage is dated as old as 10,725±205 cal. yr BP, whereas the base of the core is dated to an age of 15,300±550 cal. yr BP. Diversity of benthic foraminifera is higher within the CWC, especially in the intervals containing coral framework. Five clusters are identified based on the Bray-Curtis Similarity Term Analyses and the interpretation of data shows that they are related to different ecological settings, e.g., fluctuations of the sea-ice cover; influence of the warmer and more saline Atlantic water masses; transitional to a fully interglacial environment; well oxygenated, nutrient-rich and high current setting being conducive to CWC. Ostracod assemblages show that these crustaceans may be also used to characterize sedimentary facies on CWC reefs.

  6. Significance of microcystin production by benthic communities in water treatment systems of arid zones.

    PubMed

    Hurtado, I; Aboal, M; Zafra, E; Campillo, D

    2008-02-01

    The study of the dynamics of phytobenthic and phytoplankton communities was undertaken, during a year, in the regulation reservoir associated with a water treatment plant (WTP), which provides the city of Murcia (Spain) with drinking water. Water samples were collected in different stages of the treatment. In the reservoir, the presence of dissolved and intracellular microcystins is constant, both in benthos and in plankton. The collected samples show a positive correlation between the dissolved microcystins and the benthic ones in the reservoir itself, as well as in an upstream reservoir (Ojós Reservoir). The treatment process (ozone+clarification+ozone+activated carbon) is very effective in the removal of toxins, and the drinking water produced is totally free of microcystins. The incorporation of the benthic communities in the routine check for the presence of microcystins is recommended, since it is not compulsory according to the current legislation.

  7. Temporal variability of benthic communities in an Alaskan glacial fjord, 1971-2007.

    PubMed

    Blanchard, Arny L; Feder, Howard M; Hoberg, Max K

    2010-03-01

    Temporal trends of deep-subtidal macrofauna in Port Valdez, Alaska, were assessed with respect to multiple environmental stressors. Effects from a magnitude 9.2 earthquake in Prince William Sound, Alaska, 1964, were reflected in recolonization of the basin of the fjord, increased abundance and number of taxa over time, and moderately increased variability in abundance through 1990, stabilizing 26years after the earthquake. Long-term climatic variability and local physical processes were important sources of spatial and temporal variability. Correlative evidence suggests that indirect effects of juvenile salmon from a shoreline salmon hatchery and deposition of adult salmon carcasses moderately enhanced deep-basin benthic communities. Effects on the deep benthos from a marine oil terminal were negligible. Overall, faunal trends deviated from the stability expected for benthic communities in other fjords. Physical characteristics of the fjord were important in mediating the effects of stressors and in delaying the readjustment process.

  8. Mangroves enhance the biomass of coral reef fish communities in the Caribbean.

    PubMed

    Mumby, Peter J; Edwards, Alasdair J; Arias-González, J Ernesto; Lindeman, Kenyon C; Blackwell, Paul G; Gall, Angela; Gorczynska, Malgosia I; Harborne, Alastair R; Pescod, Claire L; Renken, Henk; Wabnitz, Colette C C; Llewellyn, Ghislane

    2004-02-05

    Mangrove forests are one of the world's most threatened tropical ecosystems with global loss exceeding 35% (ref. 1). Juvenile coral reef fish often inhabit mangroves, but the importance of these nurseries to reef fish population dynamics has not been quantified. Indeed, mangroves might be expected to have negligible influence on reef fish communities: juvenile fish can inhabit alternative habitats and fish populations may be regulated by other limiting factors such as larval supply or fishing. Here we show that mangroves are unexpectedly important, serving as an intermediate nursery habitat that may increase the survivorship of young fish. Mangroves in the Caribbean strongly influence the community structure of fish on neighbouring coral reefs. In addition, the biomass of several commercially important species is more than doubled when adult habitat is connected to mangroves. The largest herbivorous fish in the Atlantic, Scarus guacamaia, has a functional dependency on mangroves and has suffered local extinction after mangrove removal. Current rates of mangrove deforestation are likely to have severe deleterious consequences for the ecosystem function, fisheries productivity and resilience of reefs. Conservation efforts should protect connected corridors of mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs.

  9. Community metabolism in shallow coral reef and seagrass ecosystems, lower Florida Keys

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Turk, Daniela; Yates, Kimberly K.; Vega-Rodriguez, Maria; Toro-Farmer, Gerardo; L'Esperance, Chris; Melo, Nelson; Ramsewak, Deanesch; Estrada, S. Cerdeira; Muller-Karger, Frank E.; Herwitz, Stan R.; McGillis, Wade

    2016-01-01

    Diurnal variation of net community production (NEP) and net community calcification (NEC) were measured in coral reef and seagrass biomes during October 2012 in the lower Florida Keys using a mesocosm enclosure and the oxygen gradient flux technique. Seagrass and coral reef sites showed diurnal variations of NEP and NEC, with positive values at near-seafloor light levels >100–300 µEinstein m-2 s-1. During daylight hours, we detected an average NEP of 12.3 and 8.6 mmol O2 m-2 h-1 at the seagrass and coral reef site, respectively. At night, NEP at the seagrass site was relatively constant, while on the coral reef, net respiration was highest immediately after dusk and decreased during the rest of the night. At the seagrass site, NEC values ranged from 0.20 g CaCO3 m-2 h-1 during daylight to -0.15 g CaCO3 m-2 h-1 at night, and from 0.17 to -0.10 g CaCO3 m-2 h-1 at the coral reef site. There were no significant differences in pH and aragonite saturation states (Ωar) between the seagrass and coral reef sites. Decrease in light levels during thunderstorms significantly decreased NEP, transforming the system from net autotrophic to net heterotrophic.

  10. Early-mid-Cretaceous evolution in Tethyan reef communities and sea level

    SciTech Connect

    Scott, R.W.

    1988-01-01

    The replacement of corals by rudists in Early Cretaceous reefal communities spanned a 30-m.y. period when sea level rose and drowned continental shelves. During this time corals formed communities in the deeper parts of reefs and rudists occupied the shallow, high-energy habitats. By Aptian time rudists dominated reefs that fringed interior shelf basins and corals formed reefs with rudists on the outer shelf margins. By late Albian coral communities had virtually disappeared, presumably because of complex environmental changes and cycles of organic productivity. Two important events of eustatic sea level rise are represented by unconformities separating carbonate depositional sequences on the Arabian platform that correlate with sequence boundaries on the Gulf Coast platform. Graphic correlation techniques test the synchroneity of these events. A composite standard time scale dates these sea level rises at 115.8 Ma and 94.6 Ma; a third, intra-Albian event at 104.3 Ma is present in many places and may also be eustatic. Associated with these sea level rises were apparent changes in ocean water chemistry as evidenced by changes in isotopes and trace elements, where diagenetic effects can be discounted. During this time the climate became more humid and atmospheric CO/sub 2/ increased. The concomitant environmental changes in the oceanic conditions presumably stressed the deeper coral communities on reefs. The emergence of rudists as reef contributors had a profound effect on Late Cretaceous depositional conditions and the development of hydrocarbon reservoirs.

  11. Early-mid-Cretaceous evolution in Tethyan reef communities and sea level

    SciTech Connect

    Scott, R.W.

    1988-02-01

    The replacement of corals by rudists in Early Cretaceous reefal communities spanned a 30-m.y. period when sea level rose and drowned continental shelves. During this time corals formed communities in the deeper parts of reefs and rudists occupied the shallow, high-energy habitats. By Aptian time rudists dominated reefs that fringed interior shelf basins and corals formed reefs with rudists on the outer shelf margins. By late Albian coral communities had virtually disappeared, presumably because of complex environmental changes and cycles of organic productivity. Two important events of eustatic sea level rise are represented by unconformities separating carbonate depositional sequences on the Arabian platform that correlate with sequence boundaries on the Gulf Coast platform. Graphic correlation techniques test the synchroneity of these events. A composite standard time scale dates these sea level rises at 115.8 Ma and 94.6 Ma; a third, intra-Albian event at 104.3 Ma is present in many places and may also be eustatic. Associated with these sea level rises were apparent changes in ocean water chemistry as evidenced by changes in isotopes and trace elements, where diagenetic effects can be discounted. During this time the climate became more humid and atmospheric CO/sub 2/ increased. The concomitant environmental changes in the oceanic conditions presumably stressed the deeper coral communities on reefs. The emergence of rudists as reef contributors had a profound effect on Late Cretaceous depositional conditions and the development of hydrocarbon reservoirs.

  12. Coral Reef Remote Sensing Database and Monitoring of Coral Reefs by ASTER

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kayanne, H.; Matsunaga, T.; Kanbara, H.; Kato, M.

    2001-05-01

    Coral reefs in the world are under the crisis of degradation both by increasing human activities in coastal zone and by the global changes. All the factors of the global change scenario would bring serious impact on coral reefs. Increase in CO2 suppress calcification in coral reefs. The world-wide bleaching event in 1997-1998 was supposed to be at least partly resulted from global warming. Coral reefs would submerge by sea level rise in this century. To conserve and manage coral reefs against these threats, monitoring of coral reef by satellite remote sensing is important. ASTER has provided effective data for mapping coral reef landforms and benthic communities. The most basic geomorphological and ecological zonation was successfully classified using ASTER data. For example, coral reef flat with its zonation of algai rim, rubble bank, back reef was clearly identified by ASTER by decision tree method and bottom index using VNIR bands data. For the basis of effective monitoring of coral reefs, we have constructed coral reef remote sensing database, which contains more than 1,100,000 data. Tropical and subtropical oceans (40N-40S) were gridded by 0.5 x 0.5 degrees and the grids with coral reefs were identified. The grids with coral reefs correspond to path/rows of the satellite (MOS1, JERS-1, ADEOS, LANDSAT, SPOT and TERRA) and basic information (existence of data, satellite and sensor, path/row, lat/log, aquisition date, cloud cover, type of coral reef) of so-far obtained satellite data until 2000 was input in the database. Status of data aquisition at specific coral reefs can be listed up by this database.

  13. Do Changes in Current Flow as a Result of Arrays of Tidal Turbines Have an Effect on Benthic Communities?

    PubMed Central

    Kregting, Louise; Elsaesser, Bjoern; Kennedy, Robert; Smyth, David; O’Carroll, Jack; Savidge, Graham

    2016-01-01

    Arrays of tidal energy converters have the potential to provide clean renewable energy for future generations. Benthic communities may, however, be affected by changes in current speeds resulting from arrays of tidal converters located in areas characterised by strong currents. Current speed, together with bottom type and depth, strongly influence benthic community distributions; however the interaction of these factors in controlling benthic dynamics in high energy environments is poorly understood. The Strangford Lough Narrows, the location of SeaGen, the world’s first single full-scale, grid-compliant tidal energy extractor, is characterised by spatially heterogenous high current flows. A hydrodynamic model was used to select a range of benthic community study sites that had median flow velocities between 1.5–2.4 m/s in a depth range of 25–30 m. 25 sites were sampled for macrobenthic community structure using drop down video survey to test the sensitivity of the distribution of benthic communities to changes in the flow field. A diverse range of species were recorded which were consistent with those for high current flow environments and corresponding to very tide-swept faunal communities in the EUNIS classification. However, over the velocity range investigated, no changes in benthic communities were observed. This suggested that the high physical disturbance associated with the high current flows in the Strangford Narrows reflected the opportunistic nature of the benthic species present with individuals being continuously and randomly affected by turbulent forces and physical damage. It is concluded that during operation, the removal of energy by marine tidal energy arrays in the far-field is unlikely to have a significant effect on benthic communities in high flow environments. The results are of major significance to developers and regulators in the tidal energy industry when considering the environmental impacts for site licences. PMID:27560657

  14. Benthic community recovery from brine impact after the implementation of mitigation measures.

    PubMed

    Del-Pilar-Ruso, Yoana; Martinez-Garcia, Elena; Giménez-Casalduero, Francisca; Loya-Fernández, Angel; Ferrero-Vicente, Luis Miguel; Marco-Méndez, Candela; de-la-Ossa-Carretero, Jose Antonio; Sánchez-Lizaso, José Luis

    2015-03-01

    In many regions, seawater desalination is a growing industry that has its impact on benthic communities. This study analyses the effect on benthic communities of a mitigation measure applied to a brine discharge, using polychaete assemblages as indicator. An eight-year study was conducted at San Pedro del Pinatar (SE Spain) establishing a grid of 12 sites at a depth range of 29-38 m during autumn. Brine discharge started in 2006 and produced a significant decrease in abundance, richness and diversity of polychaete families at the location closest to the discharge, where salinity reached 49. In 2010, a diffuser was deployed at the end of the pipeline in order to increase the mixing, to reduce the impact on benthic communities. After implementation of this mitigation measure, the salinity measured close to discharge was less than 38.5 and a significant recovery in polychaete richness and diversity was detected, to levels similar to those before the discharge. A less evident recovery in abundance was also observed, probably due to different recovery rates of polychaete families. Some families like Paraonidae and Magelonidae were more tolerant to this impact. Others like Syllidae and Capitellidae recovered quickly, although still affected by the discharge, while some families such as Sabellidae and Cirratulidae appeared to recover more slowly.

  15. [Community structure of sponges (Porifera) in three reefs at Morrocoy National Park, Venezuela and its correspondence with some environmental variables].

    PubMed

    Romero, Marco A; Villamizar, Estrella; Malaver, Nora

    2013-09-01

    Sponges have an important ecological role in coral reef ecosystems. However, when compared to other benthic Phyla, it has been little researched. This research was focused in the variability of the community structure of sponges in three locations at Morrocoy National Park (Cayo Sombrero, Playa Mero and Punta Brava) exposed to different environmental conditions (transparency and currents intensity) and affected in different degree of severity by a mass mortality event in 1996. A total of 15 transects (10 m long and 1 m wide) were evaluated in three strata (between 3 and 15 m depth) in each site, where all the individuals were counted by species. Relative abundance by species, diversity and evenness were calculated. Locations showed differences respect turbidity, wave and current intensity. 27 species were found in Morrocoy; Cayo Sombrero (23), Playa Mero (18) and Punta Brava (15). Agelas sceptrum, Amphimedon erina and Niphates erecta were the most common in first location; Niphates erecta and Dysidea etheria in Playa Mero and Dysidea etheria, Niphates erecta and Amphimedon erina in Punta Brava. The species composition showed statistical differences between all three locations; Cayo Sombrero resulted the most diverse and even, followed by Playa Mero and Punta Brava. According to Sorensen Similarity Index results, Cayo Sombrero and Playa Mero were more similar, while Punta Brava resulted the most different. The variability in environmental conditions and the differential mass mortality effects of 1996 in all three reefs, were probably the main causes of the differences between their sponge communities. Nevertheless, we cannot conclude about the weight of these factors.

  16. Community calcification in Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef: A 33 year perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silverman, J.; Schneider, K.; Kline, D. I.; Rivlin, T.; Rivlin, A.; Hamylton, S.; Lazar, B.; Erez, J.; Caldeira, K.

    2014-11-01

    Measurements of community calcification (Gnet) were made during September 2008 and October 2009 on a reef flat in Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, 33 years after the first measurements were made there by the LIMER expedition in 1975. In 2008 and 2009 we measured Gnet = 61 ± 12 and 54 ± 13 mmol CaCO3 m-2·day-1, respectively. These rates are 27-49% lower than those measured during the same season in 1975-76. These rates agree well with those estimated from the measured temperature and degree of aragonite saturation using a reef calcification rate equation developed from observations in a Red Sea coral reef. Community structure surveys across the Lizard Island reef flat during our study using the same methods employed in 1978 showed that live coral coverage had not changed significantly (∼8%). However, it should be noted that the uncertainty in the live coral coverage estimates in this study and in 1978 were fairly large and inherent to this methodology. Using the reef calcification rate equation while assuming that seawater above the reef was at equilibrium with atmospheric PCO2 and given that live coral cover had not changed Gnet should have declined by 30 ± 8% since the LIMER study as indeed observed. We note, however, that the error in estimated Gnet decrease relative to the 1970's could be much larger due to the uncertainties in the coral coverage measurements. Nonetheless, the similarity between the predicted and the measured decrease in Gnet suggests that ocean acidification may be the primary cause for the lower CaCO3 precipitation rate on the Lizard Island reef flat.

  17. Is benthic food web structure related to diversity of marine macrobenthic communities?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sokołowski, A.; Wołowicz, M.; Asmus, H.; Asmus, R.; Carlier, A.; Gasiunaité, Z.; Grémare, A.; Hummel, H.; Lesutiené, J.; Razinkovas, A.; Renaud, P. E.; Richard, P.; Kędra, M.

    2012-08-01

    Numerical structure and the organisation of food webs within macrozoobenthic communities has been assessed in the European waters (Svalbard, Barents Sea, Baltic Sea, North Sea, Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea) to address the interactions between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Abundance and classical species diversity indices (S, H', J) of macrofaunal communities were related to principal attributes of food webs (relative trophic level and food chain length, FCL) that were determined from carbon and nitrogen stable isotope values. Structure of marine macrobenthos varies substantially at a geographical scale; total abundance ranges from 63 ind. m-2 to 34,517 ind. m-2, species richness varies from 3 to 166 and the Shannon-Weaver diversity index from 0.26 to 3.26 while Pielou's evenness index is below 0.73. The major source of energy for macrobenthic communities is suspended particulate organic matter, consisting of phytoplankton and detrital particles, sediment particulate organic matter, and microphytobenthos in varying proportions. These food sources support the presence of suspension- and deposit-feeding communities, which dominate numerically on the sea floor. Benthic food webs include usually four to five trophic levels (FCL varies from 3.08 to 4.86). Most species are assigned to the second trophic level (primary consumers), fewer species are grouped in the third trophic level (secondary consumers), and benthic top predators are the least numerous. Most species cluster primarily at the lowest trophic level that is consistent with the typical organization of pyramidal food webs. Food chain length increases with biodiversity, highlighting a positive effect of more complex community structure on food web organisation. In more diverse benthic communities, energy is transferred through more trophic levels while species-poor communities sustain a shorter food chain.

  18. Tropical fishes dominate temperate reef fish communities within western Japan.

    PubMed

    Nakamura, Yohei; Feary, David A; Kanda, Masaru; Yamaoka, Kosaku

    2013-01-01

    Climate change is resulting in rapid poleward shifts in the geographical distribution of tropical and subtropical fish species. We can expect that such range shifts are likely to be limited by species-specific resource requirements, with temperate rocky reefs potentially lacking a range of settlement substrates or specific dietary components important in structuring the settlement and success of tropical and subtropical fish species. We examined the importance of resource use in structuring the distribution patterns of range shifting tropical and subtropical fishes, comparing this with resident temperate fish species within western Japan (Tosa Bay); the abundance, diversity, size class, functional structure and latitudinal range of reef fishes utilizing both coral reef and adjacent rocky reef habitat were quantified over a 2 year period (2008-2010). This region has undergone rapid poleward expansion of reef-building corals in response to increasing coastal water temperatures, and forms one of the global hotspots for rapid coastal changes. Despite the temperate latitude surveyed (33°N, 133°E) the fish assemblage was both numerically, and in terms of richness, dominated by tropical fishes. Such tropical faunal dominance was apparent within both coral, and rocky reef habitats. The size structure of the assemblage suggested that a relatively large number of tropical species are overwintering within both coral and rocky habitats, with a subset of these species being potentially reproductively active. The relatively high abundance and richness of tropical species with obligate associations with live coral resources (i.e., obligate corallivores) shows that this region holds the most well developed temperate-located tropical fish fauna globally. We argue that future tropicalisation of the fish fauna in western Japan, associated with increasing coral habitat development and reported increasing shifts in coastal water temperatures, may have considerable positive economic

  19. The Structure and Distribution of Benthic Communities on a Shallow Seamount (Cobb Seamount, Northeast Pacific Ocean)

    PubMed Central

    Curtis, Janelle M. R.; Clarke, M. Elizabeth

    2016-01-01

    Partially owing to their isolation and remote distribution, research on seamounts is still in its infancy, with few comprehensive datasets and empirical evidence supporting or refuting prevailing ecological paradigms. As anthropogenic activity in the high seas increases, so does the need for better understanding of seamount ecosystems and factors that influence the distribution of sensitive benthic communities. This study used quantitative community analyses to detail the structure, diversity, and distribution of benthic mega-epifauna communities on Cobb Seamount, a shallow seamount in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Underwater vehicles were used to visually survey the benthos and seafloor in ~1600 images (~5 m2 in size) between 34 and 1154 m depth. The analyses of 74 taxa from 11 phyla resulted in the identification of nine communities. Each community was typified by taxa considered to provide biological structure and/or be a primary producer. The majority of the community-defining taxa were either cold-water corals, sponges, or algae. Communities were generally distributed as bands encircling the seamount, and depth was consistently shown to be the strongest environmental proxy of the community-structuring processes. The remaining variability in community structure was partially explained by substrate type, rugosity, and slope. The study used environmental metrics, derived from ship-based multibeam bathymetry, to model the distribution of communities on the seamount. This model was successfully applied to map the distribution of communities on a 220 km2 region of Cobb Seamount. The results of the study support the paradigms that seamounts are diversity 'hotspots', that the majority of seamount communities are at risk to disturbance from bottom fishing, and that seamounts are refugia for biota, while refuting the idea that seamounts have high endemism. PMID:27792782

  20. The Structure and Distribution of Benthic Communities on a Shallow Seamount (Cobb Seamount, Northeast Pacific Ocean).

    PubMed

    Du Preez, Cherisse; Curtis, Janelle M R; Clarke, M Elizabeth

    2016-01-01

    Partially owing to their isolation and remote distribution, research on seamounts is still in its infancy, with few comprehensive datasets and empirical evidence supporting or refuting prevailing ecological paradigms. As anthropogenic activity in the high seas increases, so does the need for better understanding of seamount ecosystems and factors that influence the distribution of sensitive benthic communities. This study used quantitative community analyses to detail the structure, diversity, and distribution of benthic mega-epifauna communities on Cobb Seamount, a shallow seamount in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Underwater vehicles were used to visually survey the benthos and seafloor in ~1600 images (~5 m2 in size) between 34 and 1154 m depth. The analyses of 74 taxa from 11 phyla resulted in the identification of nine communities. Each community was typified by taxa considered to provide biological structure and/or be a primary producer. The majority of the community-defining taxa were either cold-water corals, sponges, or algae. Communities were generally distributed as bands encircling the seamount, and depth was consistently shown to be the strongest environmental proxy of the community-structuring processes. The remaining variability in community structure was partially explained by substrate type, rugosity, and slope. The study used environmental metrics, derived from ship-based multibeam bathymetry, to model the distribution of communities on the seamount. This model was successfully applied to map the distribution of communities on a 220 km2 region of Cobb Seamount. The results of the study support the paradigms that seamounts are diversity 'hotspots', that the majority of seamount communities are at risk to disturbance from bottom fishing, and that seamounts are refugia for biota, while refuting the idea that seamounts have high endemism.

  1. Habitat values for artificial oyster ( Crassostrea ariakensis) reefs compared with natural shallow-water habitats in Changjiang River estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quan, Weimin; Zheng, Lin; Li, Beijun; An, Chuanguang

    2013-09-01

    Oyster reefs have an equivalent, complex 3-dimensional structure to vegetated habitats and may provide similar functions in estuarine environments. Nevertheless, few studies have compared oyster reefs with adjacent natural shallow-water habitats. Here the resident benthic macroinvertebrate communities in an artificial oyster ( Crassostrea ariakensis) reef and in adjacent natural estuarine shallow-water habitats (salt marsh, intertidal mudflat, and subtidal soft bottom) in the Changjiang (Yangtze) River estuary were described. The mean total densities and biomass, Margalef's species richness, Pielou's evenness and Shannon-Weaver biodiversity indices of the resident benthic macroinvertebrate communities differed significantly among the habitats. Significantly higher densities and biomass of benthic macroinvertebrates occurred in the oyster reef compared with the other three habitats. Ordination plots showed a clear separation in benthic macroinvertebrate communities among the four habitat types. The results demonstrated that the artificial oyster reef supported distinct and unique benthic communities, playing an important role in the complex estuarine habitat by supplying prey resources and contributing to biodiversity. In addition, the results suggested that the oyster reef had been restored successfully.

  2. Major methodological constraints to the assessment of environmental status based on the condition of benthic communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Medeiros, João Paulo; Pinto, Vanessa; Sá, Erica; Silva, Gilda; Azeda, Carla; Pereira, Tadeu; Quintella, Bernardo; Raposo de Almeida, Pedro; Lino Costa, José; José Costa, Maria; Chainho, Paula

    2014-05-01

    The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) was published in 2008 and requires Member States to take the necessary measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status in aquatic ecosystems by the year of 2020. The MSFD indicates 11 qualitative descriptors for environmental status assessment, including seafloor integrity, using the condition of the benthic community as an assessment indicator. Member States will have to define monitoring programs for each of the MSFD descriptors based on those indicators in order to understand which areas are in a Good Environmental Status and what measures need to be implemented to improve the status of areas that fail to achieve that major objective. Coastal and offshore marine waters are not frequently monitored in Portugal and assessment tools have only been developed very recently with the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The lack of historical data and knowledge on the constraints of benthic indicators in coastal areas requires the development of specific studies addressing this issue. The major objective of the current study was to develop and test and experimental design to assess impacts of offshore projects. The experimental design consisted on the seasonal and interannual assessment of benthic invertebrate communities in the area of future implementation of the structures (impact) and two potential control areas 2 km from the impact area. Seasonal benthic samples were collected at nine random locations within the impact and control areas in two consecutive years. Metrics included in the Portuguese benthic assessment tool (P-BAT) were calculated since this multimetric tool was proposed for the assessment of the ecological status in Portuguese coastal areas under the WFD. Results indicated a high taxonomic richness in this coastal area and no significant differences were found between impact and control areas, indicating the feasibility of establishing adequate control areas in marine

  3. The need for new concepts in reef biology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Der Land, J.

    The results of the Indonesian-Dutch Snellius-II Expedition showed that several common concepts in reef biology need revision. From the scientific, conservational and economic point of view a more balanced development of tropical marine benthology is needed. There is considerable confusion over nomenclature in reef research. Even the term coral reef is not well defined. It should be used only in a geomorphological sense because it has no biological meaning. A reef, and particularly a complicated one like an atoll, may harbour a variety of benthic, demersal and even terrestrial communities. Highly diverse coral-dominated communities occur not only on reefs but also on primary substrata. Several reefs show little or no coral growth. Instead alcyonarians, sponges or algae may be the dominant life forms. Many reefs with a high coral cover show a very low diversity. Between-habitat diversity is high in Indonesian waters. Some reef communities are stable, others are short-lived. Disturbance or even complete destruction may belong to natural chains of events and should not automatically be blamed on human interference. Commonly held conceptions about nutrient-cycling properties and harvest potential of reef environments are not always applicable. Reef fisheries may become economically more important because fishing for pelagic stocks is a large component.

  4. The influence of heavy metals and predation on benthic macroinvertebrate communities from polluted and unpolluted streams

    SciTech Connect

    Clements, W.H.

    1995-12-31

    The author tested the hypothesis that benthic macroinvertebrate communities from a stream polluted by historic mining operations were tolerant of heavy metals but more susceptible to predation compared to communities from an unpolluted stream. Benthic communities obtained from reference (Cache la Poudre River) and chronically-polluted (Arkansas River) streams in Colorado were transferred to the CSU Stream Research Laboratory and placed into one of 16 stream microcosms. In the first experiment, communities in treatment streams were exposed to 220 {micro}g Zn/L, 24 {micro}g Cu/L and 2.2 {micro}g Cd/L for 10 d. In a second experiment, communities in treatment streams were exposed to predatory stoneflies (Hesperperla pacifica). Effects of metals were significantly greater on mayflies (Rhithrogena hageni, Baetis sp., Ephemerella infrequens) from the unpolluted Cache la Poudre River than from the Arkansas River. In addition, exposure to metals increased drift rate of invertebrates collected from the unpolluted stream but had no effect on invertebrates from the Arkansas River. In contrast to these results, effects of predation on survival and drift were greater for communities from the polluted stream. The results demonstrate that while macroinvertebrate populations in chronically-polluted habitats may acclimate to heavy metals, these populations are more susceptible to biotic interactions.

  5. Reef structure drives parrotfish species composition on shelf edge reefs in La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tzadik, Orian E.; Appeldoorn, Richard S.

    2013-02-01

    Shelf edge reefs that exist in coral reef ecosystems provide essential habitats for a large variety of fish and other marine organisms. Marine herbivores act as differential algal grazers that advocate coral reef colonization. In the Caribbean basin parrotfishes make up a large contingency of such herbivores and act as important ecological ichthyofauna. By investigating parrotfish relationship with habitat, this study aims to aid in future predictive mapping techniques that will outline parrotfish distributions via benthic quantification. Parrotfish communities were evaluated on the shelf edge reef off of La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Parrotfish abundances were found to positively correlate with high values of overall reef structure. High values of coral cover and of rugosity were strong indicators of most parrotfish species. The lone exception, Scarus taeniopterus, negatively correlated with these factors and positively correlated with algal cover. Indications exist that Scarus taeniopterus and Scarus iseri are sympatric species and can be found in abundance at opposite locations.

  6. Reliability and utility of citizen science reef monitoring data collected by Reef Check Australia, 2002-2015.

    PubMed

    Done, Terence; Roelfsema, Chris; Harvey, Andrew; Schuller, Laura; Hill, Jocelyn; Schläppy, Marie-Lise; Lea, Alexandra; Bauer-Civiello, Anne; Loder, Jennifer

    2017-04-15

    Reef Check Australia (RCA) has collected data on benthic composition and cover at >70 sites along >1000km of Australia's Queensland coast from 2002 to 2015. This paper quantifies the accuracy, precision and power of RCA benthic composition data, to guide its application and interpretation. A simulation study established that the inherent accuracy of the Reef Check point sampling protocol is high (<±7% error absolute), in the range of estimates of benthic cover from 1% to 50%. A field study at three reef sites indicated that, despite minor observer- and deployment-related biases, the protocol does reliably document moderate ecological changes in coral communities. The error analyses were then used to guide the interpretation of inter-annual variability and long term trends at three study sites in RCA's major 2002-2015 data series for the Queensland coast.

  7. A matter of scale: damage from Hurricane Hugo (1989) to U.S. Virgin Islands reefs at the colony, community and whole reef level

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.

    1993-01-01

    Studies at Buck Island Reef National Monument (St. Croix) and Virgin Islands National Park (St. John) by scientists in the U.S. National Park Service Coral Reef Assessment Program re- vealed the effects of Humcane Hugo on individual coral species, community parameters, and overall reef structure. Effects of the storm varied with depth, coral species, location relative to the storm path, character of the pre-storm communities, and ecological history. Live coral cover, initially less than 30% at all sites, dropped by 40 to 73%. Cover by the dominant species Montastrea annularis de- clined about 35% on the St. John reefs. At Buck Island, Acropora palmata cover, already reduced from 85% to 5% by white band disease and storms, fell to 0.8% after Hugo. Some areas on the south side of Buck Island were reduced to rubble pave- ment while other areas escaped serious damage. Data from cores at Buck Island reveal the influence of wave energy and storm frequency on overall reef character. Patchiness and variation in the responses of different species, zones, and entire reefs to the storm suggest that assessment of long-term trends in reef structure and composition requires analysis of changes at permanent study sites distributed over large areas.

  8. Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America

    PubMed Central

    Jantzen, Carin; Kremb, Stephan Georg

    2014-01-01

    Many coral reefs in the Caribbean experienced substantial changes in their benthic community composition during the last decades. This often resulted in phase shifts from scleractinian coral dominance to that by other benthic invertebrate or algae. However, knowledge about how the related role of coral-algae contacts may negatively affect corals is scarce. Therefore, benthic community composition, abundance of algae grazers, and the abundance and character of coral-algae contacts were assessed in situ at 13 Belizean reef sites distributed along a distance gradient to the Belizean mainland (12–70 km): Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (inshore), Turneffe Atoll (inner and outer midshore), and Lighthouse Reef (offshore). In situ surveys revealed significantly higher benthic cover by scleractinian corals at the remote Lighthouse Reef (26–29%) when compared to the other sites (4–19%). The abundance of herbivorous fish and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum significantly increased towards the offshore reef sites, while the occurrence of direct coral-algae contacts consequently increased significantly with decreasing distance to shore. About 60% of these algae contacts were harmful (exhibiting coral tissue damage, pigmentation change, or overgrowth) for corals (mainly genera Orbicella and Agaricia), particularly when filamentous turf algae were involved. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that (turf) algae-mediated coral damage occurs in Belizean coastal, near-shore coral reefs. PMID:25276504

  9. Turf algae-mediated coral damage in coastal reefs of Belize, Central America.

    PubMed

    Wild, Christian; Jantzen, Carin; Kremb, Stephan Georg

    2014-01-01

    Many coral reefs in the Caribbean experienced substantial changes in their benthic community composition during the last decades. This often resulted in phase shifts from scleractinian coral dominance to that by other benthic invertebrate or algae. However, knowledge about how the related role of coral-algae contacts may negatively affect corals is scarce. Therefore, benthic community composition, abundance of algae grazers, and the abundance and character of coral-algae contacts were assessed in situ at 13 Belizean reef sites distributed along a distance gradient to the Belizean mainland (12-70 km): Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (inshore), Turneffe Atoll (inner and outer midshore), and Lighthouse Reef (offshore). In situ surveys revealed significantly higher benthic cover by scleractinian corals at the remote Lighthouse Reef (26-29%) when compared to the other sites (4-19%). The abundance of herbivorous fish and the sea urchin Diadema antillarum significantly increased towards the offshore reef sites, while the occurrence of direct coral-algae contacts consequently increased significantly with decreasing distance to shore. About 60% of these algae contacts were harmful (exhibiting coral tissue damage, pigmentation change, or overgrowth) for corals (mainly genera Orbicella and Agaricia), particularly when filamentous turf algae were involved. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that (turf) algae-mediated coral damage occurs in Belizean coastal, near-shore coral reefs.

  10. Benthic macroinvertebrate communities affected by multiple stressors within tidal creeks in northeastern USA harbors

    SciTech Connect

    Papageorgis, C.; Murray, M.; Danis, C.; Yates, L.

    1995-12-31

    Surveys of water quality, substrate quality and benthic macroinvertebrates were conducted in a variety of tidal creeks located in the vicinity of a municipal solid waste landfill prior to the construction of a leachate collection system. In-Situ water quality data indicated high water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen values along with high turbidites. Sediment chemistry data indicated that all sediment within the study area exceed USEPA heavy metal criteria. Grain size and salinity data indicate that the study area lies within the Mesohaline Mud habitat class. Water quality data remained within similar concentrations with respect to indicators of leachate. The benthic macroinvertebrate community was consistently dominated by opportunistic Polychaete and Oligochaete worms. Both Shannon diversity and Rarefaction curves were used to evaluate trends in species diversity over time. The study includes a comparison to data obtained by USEPA R-EMAP monitoring programs. While large scale biomonitoring programs do not focus on small tidal creeks this study provides useful data regarding baseline benthic communities within tidal creeks affected by multiple stressors to include previous exposure and potential exposure to oil spills, continued point and non-point municipal and industrial wastewater discharges and physical stressors such as elevated water temperatures, homogeneous silt/clay substrate, and depressed dissolved oxygen values.

  11. Benthic macroinvertebrate and fish communities in Lake Huron are linked to submerged groundwater vents

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garrison, Sanders T.; Biddanda, B.A.; Stricker, C.A.; Nold, S.C.

    2011-01-01

    Groundwater can be an important source of nutrients and energy to aquatic ecosystems, but quantifying the inputs and biogeochemical importance remains challenging. A series of submerged groundwater vents in northern Lake Huron were examined to determine the linkage between groundwater nutrients and aquatic food webs. We collected samples of key food-web components from groundwater vent and reference habitats and analyzed them for 13C, 15N, and 34S isotopes. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the groundwater was depleted in 13C, while aqueous sulfate was enriched in 34S (mean differences between groundwater and reference sites were -3.9% and +12.0%, respectively). Benthic primary producers, macroinvertebrates, and benthivorous fish had significantly lower ??13C values in groundwater environments, and benthivorous fish were somewhat depleted (-2.5%) in ??34S at groundwater sites compared to reference sites. However, ??15N values were not different between groundwater and reference sites, and pelagic components of the ecosystems (plankton and planktivorous and piscivorous fish) were similar in both ??13C and ??15N. These data suggest benthic metazoan communities surrounding groundwater vents are partially linked to groundwater-derived benthic primary production, while planktivorous and piscivorous communities not directly associated with the benthos do not rely on groundwater nutrients. ?? Inter-Research 2011.

  12. Benthic ammonia oxidizers differ in community structure and biogeochemical potential across a riverine delta

    PubMed Central

    Damashek, Julian; Smith, Jason M.; Mosier, Annika C.; Francis, Christopher A.

    2015-01-01

    Nitrogen pollution in coastal zones is a widespread issue, particularly in ecosystems with urban or agricultural watersheds. California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, at the landward reaches of San Francisco Bay, is highly impacted by both agricultural runoff and sewage effluent, leading to chronically high nutrient loadings. In particular, the extensive discharge of ammonium into the Sacramento River has altered this ecosystem by vastly increasing ammonium concentrations and thus changing the stoichiometry of inorganic nitrogen stocks, with potential effects throughout the food web. This debate surrounding ammonium inputs highlights the importance of understanding the rates of, and controls on, nitrogen (N) cycling processes across the delta. To date, however, there has been little research examining N biogeochemistry or N-cycling microbial communities in this system. We report the first data on benthic ammonia-oxidizing microbial communities and potential nitrification rates for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, focusing on the functional gene amoA (which codes for the α-subunit of ammonia monooxygenase). There were stark regional differences in ammonia-oxidizing communities, with ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) outnumbering ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) only in the ammonium-rich Sacramento River. High potential nitrification rates in the Sacramento River suggested these communities may be capable of oxidizing significant amounts of ammonium, compared to the San Joaquin River and the upper reaches of San Francisco Bay. Gene diversity also showed regional patterns, as well as phylogenetically unique ammonia oxidizers in the Sacramento River. The benthic ammonia oxidizers in this nutrient-rich aquatic ecosystem may be important players in its overall nutrient cycling, and their community structure and biogeochemical function appear related to nutrient loadings. Unraveling the microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of N cycling pathways, including benthic

  13. Food web flows through a sub-arctic deep-sea benthic community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gontikaki, E.; van Oevelen, D.; Soetaert, K.; Witte, U.

    2011-11-01

    The benthic food web of the deep Faroe-Shetland Channel (FSC) was modelled by using the linear inverse modelling methodology. The reconstruction of carbon pathways by inverse analysis was based on benthic oxygen uptake rates, biomass data and transfer of labile carbon through the food web as revealed by a pulse-chase experiment. Carbon deposition was estimated at 2.2 mmol C m -2 d -1. Approximately 69% of the deposited carbon was respired by the benthic community with bacteria being responsible for 70% of the total respiration. The major fraction of the labile detritus flux was recycled within the microbial loop leaving merely 2% of the deposited labile phytodetritus available for metazoan consumption. Bacteria assimilated carbon at high efficiency (0.55) but only 24% of bacterial production was grazed by metazoans; the remaining returned to the dissolved organic matter pool due to viral lysis. Refractory detritus was the basal food resource for nematodes covering ∼99% of their carbon requirements. On the contrary, macrofauna seemed to obtain the major part of their metabolic needs from bacteria (49% of macrofaunal consumption). Labile detritus transfer was well-constrained, based on the data from the pulse-chase experiment, but appeared to be of limited importance to the diet of the examined benthic organisms (<1% and 5% of carbon requirements of nematodes and macrofauna respectively). Predation on nematodes was generally low with the exception of sub-surface deposit-feeding polychaetes that obtained 35% of their energy requirements from nematode ingestion. Carnivorous polychaetes also covered 35% of their carbon demand through predation although the preferred prey, in this case, was other macrofaunal animals rather than nematodes. Bacteria and detritus contributed 53% and 12% to the total carbon ingestion of carnivorous polychaetes suggesting a high degree of omnivory among higher consumers in the FSC benthic food web. Overall, this study provided a unique

  14. An Analysis of Artificial Reef Fish Community Structure along the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico Shelf: Potential Impacts of "Rigs-to-Reefs" Programs.

    PubMed

    Ajemian, Matthew J; Wetz, Jennifer J; Shipley-Lozano, Brooke; Shively, J Dale; Stunz, Gregory W

    2015-01-01

    Artificial structures are the dominant complex marine habitat type along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) shelf. These habitats can consist of a variety of materials, but in this region are primarily comprised of active and reefed oil and gas platforms. Despite being established for several decades, the fish communities inhabiting these structures remain poorly investigated. Between 2012 and 2013 we assessed fish communities at 15 sites using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Fish assemblages were quantified from standing platforms and an array of artificial reef types (Liberty Ships and partially removed or toppled platforms) distributed over the Texas continental shelf. The depth gradient covered by the surveys (30-84 m) and variability in structure density and relief also permitted analyses of the effects of these characteristics on fish richness, diversity, and assemblage composition. ROVs captured a variety of species inhabiting these reefs from large transient piscivores to small herbivorous reef fishes. While structure type and relief were shown to influence species richness and community structure, major trends in species composition were largely explained by the bottom depth where these structures occurred. We observed a shift in fish communities and relatively high diversity at approximately 60 m bottom depth, confirming trends observed in previous studies of standing platforms. This depth was also correlated with some of the largest Red Snapper captured on supplementary vertical longline surveys. Our work indicates that managers of artificial reefing programs (e.g., Rigs-to-Reefs) in the GOM should carefully consider the ambient environmental conditions when designing reef sites. For the Texas continental shelf, reefing materials at a 50-60 m bottom depth can serve a dual purpose of enhancing diving experiences and providing the best potential habitat for relatively large Red Snapper.

  15. Extraordinarily high biomass benthic community on Southern Ocean seamounts.

    PubMed

    Thresher, R E; Adkins, J; Fallon, S J; Gowlett-Holmes, K; Althaus, F; Williams, A

    2011-01-01

    We describe a previously unknown assemblage of seamount-associated megabenthos that has by far the highest peak biomass reported in the deep-sea outside of vent communities. The assemblage was found at depths of 2-2.5 km on rocky geomorphic features off the southeast coast of Australia, in an area near the Sub-Antarctic Zone characterised by high rates of surface productivity and carbon export to the deep-ocean. These conditions, and the taxa in the assemblage, are widely distributed around the Southern mid-latitudes, suggesting the high-biomass assemblage is also likely to be widespread. The role of this assemblage in regional ecosystem and carbon dynamics and its sensitivities to anthropogenic impacts are unknown. The discovery highlights the lack of information on deep-sea biota worldwide and the potential for unanticipated impacts of deep-sea exploitation.

  16. Extraordinarily high biomass benthic community on Southern Ocean seamounts

    PubMed Central

    Thresher, R. E.; Adkins, J.; Fallon, S. J.; Gowlett-Holmes, K.; Althaus, F.; Williams, A.

    2011-01-01

    We describe a previously unknown assemblage of seamount-associated megabenthos that has by far the highest peak biomass reported in the deep-sea outside of vent communities. The assemblage was found at depths of 2–2.5 km on rocky geomorphic features off the southeast coast of Australia, in an area near the Sub-Antarctic Zone characterised by high rates of surface productivity and carbon export to the deep-ocean. These conditions, and the taxa in the assemblage, are widely distributed around the Southern mid-latitudes, suggesting the high-biomass assemblage is also likely to be widespread. The role of this assemblage in regional ecosystem and carbon dynamics and its sensitivities to anthropogenic impacts are unknown. The discovery highlights the lack of information on deep-sea biota worldwide and the potential for unanticipated impacts of deep-sea exploitation. PMID:22355636

  17. Typhoon damage on a shallow mesophotic reef in Okinawa, Japan

    PubMed Central

    Ohara, Taku; Fujii, Takuma; Kawamura, Iori; Mizuyama, Masaru; Montenegro, Javier; Shikiba, Haruka; Naruse, Tohru; McClelland, TY; Denis, Vianney; Reimer, James D.

    2013-01-01

    Little is known about effects of large storm systems on mesophotic reefs. This study reports on how Typhoon 17 (Jelawat) affected Ryugu Reef on Okinawa-jima, Japan in September 2012. Benthic communities were surveyed before and after the typhoon using line intercept transect method. Comparison of the benthic assemblages showed highly significant differences in coral coverage at depths of 25–32 m before and after Typhoon 17. A large deep stand of Pachyseris foliosa was apparently less resistant to the storm than the shallower high diversity area of this reef. Contradictory to common perception, this research shows that large foliose corals at deeper depths are just as susceptible to typhoon damage as shallower branching corals. However, descriptive functional group analyses resulted in only minor changes after the disturbance, suggesting the high likelihood of recovery and the high resilience capacity of this mesophotic reef. PMID:24032094

  18. Rhythmic behaviour of marine benthopelagic species and the synchronous dynamics of benthic communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aguzzi, Jacopo; Sbragaglia, Valerio; Tecchio, Samuele; Navarro, Joan; Company, Joan B.

    2015-01-01

    Light-intensity cycles drive the relentless motion of species in the oceans, and water column migrants may cyclically make contact with the seabed, hence influencing the temporal dynamism of benthic ecosystems. The influence of light on this process remains largely unknown to date. In this study, we focus on the occurrence of day-night changes in benthic communities on the western Mediterranean continental shelf (100 m depth) and slope (400 m depth) as a potential result of a behaviourally sustained benthopelagic coupling. We analysed fluctuations in species abundance based on trawling at hourly intervals over a 4-day period as a proxy of activity rhythms at the seabed. We also measured light in situ to assess how the depth-related decrease of its intensity influences species rhythms and the occurrence of the putative benthopelagic synchronisation. Temporal similarities in the catch patterns for different species were screened by dendrogram analysis. On the continental shelf, species performing diel migrations (i.e., over a 24 h period) that were either vertical (i.e., benthopelagic) or horizontal across depths (i.e., nektobenthic) clustered together separately from the more sedentary endobenthic and epibenthic species. At the same depth, waveform analysis showed a significant diurnal increase in the catch of water column species and benthic species at night. Such coupling was absent on the continental slope, where light intensity was several orders of magnitude lower than that on the shelf. Our data indicate that diel activity rhythms, which are well known for vertical pelagic migrators, are also evident in the benthos. We discuss the role of light as a major evolutionary driver shaping the composition and biodiversity of benthic communities via visual predation.

  19. Effects of marine reserves and urchin disease on southern Californian rocky reef communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Behrens, Michael D.; Lafferty, Kevin D.

    2004-01-01

    While the species level effects of marine reserves are widely recognized, community level shifts due to marine reserves have only recently been documented. Protection from fishing of top predators may lead to trophic cascades, which have community-wide implications. Disease may act in a similar manner, regulating population levels of dominant species within a community. Two decades of data from the Channel Islands National Park Service's Kelp Forest Monitoring database allowed us to compare the effects of fishing and urchin disease on rocky reef community patterns and dynamics. Different size-frequency distributions of urchins inside and outside of reserves indicated reduced predation on urchins at sites where fishing removes urchin predators. Rocky reefs inside reserves were more likely to support kelp forests than were fished areas. We suggest that this results from cascading effects of the fishery on urchin predators outside the reserves, which releases herbivores (urchins) from predation. After periods of prevalent urchin disease, the reef community shifted more towards kelp forest assemblages. Specific groups of algae and invertebrates were associated with kelp forest and barrens communities. The community dynamics leading to transitions between kelp forests and barrens are driven by both fishing and disease; however the fishery effect was of greater magnitude. This study further confirms the importance of marine reserves not only for fisheries conservation, but also for the conservation of historically dominant community types.

  20. Quantifying the Human Impacts on Papua New Guinea Reef Fish Communities across Space and Time

    PubMed Central

    Drew, Joshua A.; Amatangelo, Kathryn L.; Hufbauer, Ruth A.

    2015-01-01

    Describing the drivers of species loss and of community change are important goals in both conservation and ecology. However, it is difficult to determine whether exploited species decline due to direct effects of harvesting or due to other environmental perturbations brought about by proximity to human populations. Here we quantify differences in species richness of coral reef fish communities along a human population gradient in Papua New Guinea to understand the relative impacts of fishing and environmental perturbation. Using data from published species lists we categorize the reef fishes as either fished or non-fished based on their body size and reports from the published literature. Species diversity for both fished and non-fished groups decreases as the size of the local human population increases, and this relationship is stronger in species that are fished. Additionally, comparison of modern and museum collections show that modern reef communities have proportionally fewer fished species relative to 19th century ones. Together these findings show that the reef fish communities of Papua New Guinea experience multiple anthropogenic stressors and that even at low human population levels targeted species experience population declines across both time and space. PMID:26466336

  1. Quantifying the Human Impacts on Papua New Guinea Reef Fish Communities across Space and Time.

    PubMed

    Drew, Joshua A; Amatangelo, Kathryn L; Hufbauer, Ruth A

    2015-01-01

    Describing the drivers of species loss and of community change are important goals in both conservation and ecology. However, it is difficult to determine whether exploited species decline due to direct effects of harvesting or due to other environmental perturbations brought about by proximity to human populations. Here we quantify differences in species richness of coral reef fish communities along a human population gradient in Papua New Guinea to understand the relative impacts of fishing and environmental perturbation. Using data from published species lists we categorize the reef fishes as either fished or non-fished based on their body size and reports from the published literature. Species diversity for both fished and non-fished groups decreases as the size of the local human population increases, and this relationship is stronger in species that are fished. Additionally, comparison of modern and museum collections show that modern reef communities have proportionally fewer fished species relative to 19th century ones. Together these findings show that the reef fish communities of Papua New Guinea experience multiple anthropogenic stressors and that even at low human population levels targeted species experience population declines across both time and space.

  2. Infaunal Benthic Communities from the Inner Shelf off Southwestern Africa Are Characterised by Generalist Species

    PubMed Central

    Steffani, Nina; Sedick, Safiyya; Rogers, John; Gibbons, Mark John

    2015-01-01

    Infaunal communities of benthic macro-organisms (≥ 1mm length) were studied from 81 samples collected across nine sites to the north and south of the Orange River in the Benguela upwelling ecosystem in 2003, with a view to describing communities and understanding the drivers of regional community structure, as well as to document diversity and to examine geographic affinities. Although the fauna was dominated by polychaetes and peracarid crustaceans, patterns in community structure could only weakly be explained by the measured environment (~35%). This is attributed to the generalist nature of the species recovered, which were widely distributed amongst different sediments, water-depths and latitudes. The fauna is dominated by species that enjoy a widespread regional and global distribution and is characterised by relatively low diversity, which is discussed. PMID:26618477

  3. The effects of oil pollution on Antarctic benthic diatom communities over 5 years.

    PubMed

    Polmear, R; Stark, J S; Roberts, D; McMinn, A

    2015-01-15

    Although considered pristine, Antarctica has not been impervious to hydrocarbon pollution. Antarctica's history is peppered with oil spills and numerous abandoned waste disposal sites. Both spill events and constant leakages contribute to previous and current sources of pollution into marine sediments. Here we compare the response of the benthic diatom communities over 5 years to exposure to a commonly used standard synthetic lubricant oil, an alternative lubricant marketed as more biodegradable, in comparison to a control treatment. Community composition varied significantly over time and between treatments with some high variability within contaminated treatments suggesting community stress. Both lubricants showed evidence of significant effects on community composition after 5 years even though total petroleum hydrocarbon reduction reached approximately 80% over this time period. It appears that even after 5 years toxicity remains high for both the standard and biodegradable lubricants revealing the temporal scale at which pollutants persist in Antarctica.

  4. Response of benthic macroinvertebrate communities to highway construction in an Appalachian watershed

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hedrick, Lara B.; Welsh, S.A.; Anderson, James T.; Lin, L.-S.; Chen, Y.; Wei, X.

    2010-01-01

    Highway construction in mountainous areas can result in sedimentation of streams, negatively impacting stream habitat, water quality, and biotic communities. We assessed the impacts of construction of a segment of Corridor H, a four-lane highway, in the Lost River watershed, West Virginia, by monitoring benthic macroinvertebrate communities and water quality, before, during, and after highway construction and prior to highway use at upstream and downstream sites from 1997 through 2007. Data analysis of temporal impacts of highway construction followed a Before-After-Control-Impact (BACI) study design. Highway construction impacts included an increase in stream sedimentation during the construction phase. This was indicated by an increase in turbidity and total suspended solids. Benthic macroinvertebrate metrics indicated a community more tolerant during and after construction than in the period before construction. The percent of Chironomidae and the Hilsenhoff Biotic Index (HBI) increased, while percent of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera (EPT) decreased. Our 10-year study addressed short-term impacts of highway construction and found that impacts were relatively minimal. A recovery of the number of EPT taxa collected after construction indicated that the benthic macroinvertebrate community may be recovering from impacts of highway construction. However, this study only addressed a period of 3 years before, 3 years during, and 4 years post construction. Inferences cannot be made concerning the long-term impacts of the highway, highway traffic, runoff, and other factors associated with highway use. Continual monitoring of the watershed is necessary to determine if the highway has a continual impact on stream habitat, water quality, and biotic integrity. ?? 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  5. How will coral reef fish communities respond to climate-driven disturbances? Insight from landscape-scale perturbations.

    PubMed

    Adam, Thomas C; Brooks, Andrew J; Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Washburn, Libe; Bernardi, Giacomo

    2014-09-01

    Global climate change is rapidly altering disturbance regimes in many ecosystems including coral reefs, yet the long-term impacts of these changes on ecosystem structure and function are difficult to predict. A major ecosystem service provided by coral reefs is the provisioning of physical habitat for other organisms, and consequently, many of the effects of climate change on coral reefs will be mediated by their impacts on habitat structure. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the independent and combined effects of coral mortality and loss of physical habitat on reef-associated biota. Here, we use a unique series of events affecting the coral reefs around the Pacific island of Moorea, French Polynesia to differentiate between the impacts of coral mortality and the degradation of physical habitat on the structure of reef fish communities. We found that, by removing large amounts of physical habitat, a tropical cyclone had larger impacts on reef fish communities than an outbreak of coral-eating sea stars that caused widespread coral mortality but left the physical structure intact. In addition, the impacts of declining structural complexity on reef fish assemblages accelerated as structure became increasingly rare. Structure provided by dead coral colonies can take up to decades to erode following coral mortality, and, consequently, our results suggest that predictions based on short-term studies are likely to grossly underestimate the long-term impacts of coral decline on reef fish communities.

  6. Homogenization of Environmental Condition and Benthic Communities in Restored Streams of the North Carolina Piedmont.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tullos, D. D.; Penrose, D. L.; Jennings, G. D.; Wentworth, T. R.

    2005-05-01

    Stream ecosystems, as described through benthic communities and twenty environmental variables, exhibited decreased variances and reduced ordinal dimensionality in restored streams when compared to associated upstream reaches in this upstream-downstream investigation of stream restoration in the North Carolina Piedmont. Through paired t-tests of the environmental variables and several descriptions of community structure and function, the variance for restored stream reaches was lower than the upstream reaches for 70% of environmental characteristics, for 75% of Functional Feeding and Habitat Groups, and for all of the community descriptions, including the Q statistic, Shannon Index, Simpson Index, EPT taxa richness, and NCBI. Further, Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling of the sites best expressed the upstream reaches on three axes, while the restored stream reaches required only one axis to effectively describe variation in the benthic communities. These results suggest that simplification of the biota may occur following steam restoration activities, indicating the biological losses associated with early recovery in these streams. While the science of stream restoration has advanced since the early construction and implementation at these sites, the consequential homogenization demonstrated by these biotic and abiotic stream corridor features emphasizes the importance of a concentrated effort to re-establish heterogeneity in restoration designs.

  7. Headwater streams and forest management: does ecoregional context influence logging effects on benthic communities?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Medhurst, R. Bruce; Wipfli, Mark S.; Binckley, Chris; Polivka, Karl; Hessburg, Paul F.; Salter, R. Brion

    2010-01-01

    Effects of forest management on stream communities have been widely documented, but the role that climate plays in the disturbance outcomes is not understood. In order to determine whether the effect of disturbance from forest management on headwater stream communities varies by climate, we evaluated benthic macroinvertebrate communities in 24 headwater streams that differed in forest management (logged-roaded vs. unlogged-unroaded, hereafter logged and unlogged) within two ecological sub-regions (wet versus dry) within the eastern Cascade Range, Washington, USA. In both ecoregions, total macroinvertebrate density was highest at logged sites (P = 0.001) with gathering-collectors and shredders dominating. Total taxonomic richness and diversity did not differ between ecoregions or forest management types. Shredder densities were positively correlated with total deciduous and Sitka alder (Alnus sinuata) riparian cover. Further, differences in shredder density between logged and unlogged sites were greater in the wet ecoregion (logging × ecoregion interaction; P = 0.006) suggesting that differences in post-logging forest succession between ecoregions were responsible for differences in shredder abundance. Headwater stream benthic community structure was influenced by logging and regional differences in climate. Future development of ecoregional classification models at the subbasin scale, and use of functional metrics in addition to structural metrics, may allow for more accurate assessments of anthropogenic disturbances in mountainous regions where mosaics of localized differences in climate are common.

  8. Different Oceanographic Regimes in the Vicinity of the Antarctic Peninsula Reflected in Benthic Nematode Communities

    PubMed Central

    Gutt, Julian; Veit-Köhler, Gritta; Vanreusel, Ann

    2015-01-01

    Marine free-living nematode communities were studied at similar depths (~500 m) at two sides of the Antarctic Peninsula, characterised by different environmental and oceanographic conditions. At the Weddell Sea side, benthic communities are influenced by cold deep-water formation and seasonal sea-ice conditions, whereas the Drake Passage side experiences milder oceanic conditions and strong dynamics of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. This resulted in different surface primary productivity, which contrasted with observed benthic pigment patterns and varied according to the area studied: chlorophyll a concentrations (as a proxy for primary production) were high in the Weddell Sea sediments, but low in the surface waters above; this pattern was reversed in the Drake Passage. Differences between areas were largely mirrored by the nematode communities: nematode densities peaked in Weddell stations and showed deeper vertical occurrence in the sediment, associated with deeper penetration of chlorophyll a and indicative of a strong bentho-pelagic coupling. Generic composition showed some similarities across both areas, though differences in the relative contribution of certain genera were noted, together with distinct community shifts with depth in the sediment at all locations. PMID:26355457

  9. Insight into the microbial community structure of a Norwegian deep-water coral reef environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jensen, Sigmund; Neufeld, Josh D.; Birkeland, Nils-Kåre; Hovland, Martin; Murrell, J. Colin

    2008-11-01

    Deep-water coral reefs support rich biological communities below the photic zone of fjords and continental shelves around the world. In this environment, life is enclosed within cold permanent darkness, in stark contrast to life in tropical coral reefs. We collected samples of water, sediment and a Desmacidon sp. sponge from a deep-water coral reef off the coast of Norway, and characterised bacterial communities with focus on primary producers in the dark. Following DNA extraction, PCR amplification and 16S rRNA gene library sequencing, bioinformatic analyses demonstrated significant differences between bacterial communities associated with the three samples. The finding that 50% of the clones showed <90% identity to cultured bacteria reflects the novel and uncharacterised diversity associated with these deep-water coral reefs. A total of 13 bacterial phyla were identified. Acidobacteria dominated the sponge library and Proteobacteria dominated the bacterioplankton and sediment libraries. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a possible new clade of sponge-associated Acidobacteria, which includes representatives from the Desmacidon sp. (Norway), Rhopaloeides odorabile (Australia) and Discodermia dissoluta (Curacao). Furthermore, the targeted recovery of a particulate methane monooxygenase ( pmoA) gene from the Desmacidon sp. DNA extract suggests that as yet uncultivated type I methanotrophs may mediate methane oxidation in this deep-water coral reef. Methanotrophs were not identified in the 16S rRNA gene libraries, but the presence of a high number (8%) of clones related to sulfide-, nitrite- and iodide-oxidising bacteria suggests chemosynthesis to be involved with maintenance of the deep-water coral reef ecosystem.

  10. Environmental controls on daytime net community calcification on a Red Sea reef flat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bernstein, W. N.; Hughen, K. A.; Langdon, C.; McCorkle, D. C.; Lentz, S. J.

    2016-06-01

    Coral growth and carbonate accumulation form the foundation of the coral reef ecosystem. Changes in environmental conditions due to coastal development, climate change, and ocean acidification may pose a threat to net carbonate production in the near future. Controlled laboratory studies demonstrate that calcification by corals and coralline algae is sensitive to changes in aragonite saturation state (Ωa), as well as temperature, light, and nutrition. Studies also show that the dissolution rate of carbonate substrates is impacted by changes in carbonate chemistry. The sensitivity of coral reefs to these parameters must be confirmed and quantified in the natural environment in order to predict how coral reefs will respond to local and global changes, particularly ocean acidification. We estimated the daytime hourly net community metabolic rates, both net community calcification (NCC) and net community productivity (NCP), at Sheltered Reef, an offshore platform reef in the central Red Sea. Average NCC was 8 ± 3 mmol m-2 h-1 in December 2010 and 11 ± 1 mmol m-2 h-1 in May 2011, and NCP was 21 ± 7 mmol m-2 h-1 in December 2010 and 44 ± 4 mmol m-2 h-1 in May 2011. We also monitored a suite of physical and chemical properties to help relate the rates at Sheltered Reef to published rates from other sites. While previous research shows that short-term field studies investigating the NCC-Ωa relationship have differing results due to confounding factors, it is important to continue estimating NCC in different places, seasons, and years, in order to monitor changes in NCC versus Ω in space and time, and to ultimately resolve a broader understanding of this relationship.

  11. Rapid transition in the structure of a coral reef community: the effects of coral bleaching and physical disturbance.

    PubMed

    Ostrander, G K; Armstrong, K M; Knobbe, E T; Gerace, D; Scully, E P

    2000-05-09

    Coral reef communities are in a state of change throughout their geographical range. Factors contributing to this change include bleaching (the loss of algal symbionts), storm damage, disease, and increasing abundance of macroalgae. An additional factor for Caribbean reefs is the aftereffects of the epizootic that reduced the abundance of the herbivorous sea urchin, Diadema antillarum. Although coral reef communities have undergone phase shifts, there are few studies that document the details of such transitions. We report the results of a 40-month study that documents changes in a Caribbean reef community affected by bleaching, hurricane damage, and an increasing abundance of macroalgae. The study site was in a relatively pristine area of the reef surrounding the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas. Ten transects were sampled every 3-9 months from November 1994 to February 1998. During this period, the corals experienced a massive bleaching event resulting in a significant decline in coral abundance. Algae, especially macroalgae, increased in abundance until they effectively dominated the substrate. The direct impact of Hurricane Lili in October 1996 did not alter the developing community structure and may have facilitated increasing algal abundance. The results of this study document the rapid transition of this reef community from one in which corals and algae were codominant to a community dominated by macroalgae. The relatively brief time period required for this transition illustrates the dynamic nature of reef communities.

  12. Coral reef metabolism and carbon chemistry dynamics of a coral reef flat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Albright, Rebecca; Benthuysen, Jessica; Cantin, Neal; Caldeira, Ken; Anthony, Ken

    2015-05-01

    Global carbon emissions continue to acidify the oceans, motivating growing concern for the ability of coral reefs to maintain net positive calcification rates. Efforts to develop robust relationships between coral reef calcification and carbonate parameters such as aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) aim to facilitate meaningful predictions of how reef calcification will change in the face of ocean acidification. Here we investigate natural trends in carbonate chemistry of a coral reef flat over diel cycles and relate these trends to benthic carbon fluxes by quantifying net community calcification and net community production. We find that, despite an apparent dependence of calcification on Ωarag seen in a simple pairwise relationship, if the dependence of net calcification on net photosynthesis is accounted for, knowing Ωarag does not add substantial explanatory value. This suggests that, over short time scales, the control of Ωarag on net calcification is weak relative to factors governing net photosynthesis.

  13. In situ effects of simulated overfishing and eutrophication on settlement of benthic coral reef invertebrates in the Central Red Sea

    PubMed Central

    Voolstra, Christian R.; Wild, Christian

    2014-01-01

    In the Central Red Sea, healthy coral reefs meet intense coastal development, but data on the effects of related stressors for reef functioning are lacking. This in situ study therefore investigated the independent and combined effects of simulated overfishing through predator/grazer exclusion and simulated eutrophication through fertilizer addition on settlement of reef associated invertebrates on light-exposed and -shaded tiles over 4 months. At the end of the study period invertebrates had almost exclusively colonized shaded tiles. Algae were superior settling competitors on light-exposed tiles. On the shaded tiles, simulated overfishing prevented settlement of hard corals, but significantly increased settlement of polychaetes, while simulated eutrophication only significantly decreased hard coral settlement relative to controls. The combined treatment significantly increased settlement of bryozoans and bivalves compared to controls and individual manipulations, but significantly decreased polychaetes compared to simulated overfishing. These results suggest settlement of polychaetes and hard corals as potential bioindicators for overfishing and eutrophication, respectively, and settlement of bivalves and bryozoans for a combination of both. Therefore, if the investigated stressors are not controlled, phase shifts from dominance by hard corals to that by other invertebrates may occur at shaded reef locations in the Central Red Sea. PMID:24765573

  14. In situ effects of simulated overfishing and eutrophication on settlement of benthic coral reef invertebrates in the Central Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Jessen, Christian; Voolstra, Christian R; Wild, Christian

    2014-01-01

    In the Central Red Sea, healthy coral reefs meet intense coastal development, but data on the effects of related stressors for reef functioning are lacking. This in situ study therefore investigated the independent and combined effects of simulated overfishing through predator/grazer exclusion and simulated eutrophication through fertilizer addition on settlement of reef associated invertebrates on light-exposed and -shaded tiles over 4 months. At the end of the study period invertebrates had almost exclusively colonized shaded tiles. Algae were superior settling competitors on light-exposed tiles. On the shaded tiles, simulated overfishing prevented settlement of hard corals, but significantly increased settlement of polychaetes, while simulated eutrophication only significantly decreased hard coral settlement relative to controls. The combined treatment significantly increased settlement of bryozoans and bivalves compared to controls and individual manipulations, but significantly decreased polychaetes compared to simulated overfishing. These results suggest settlement of polychaetes and hard corals as potential bioindicators for overfishing and eutrophication, respectively, and settlement of bivalves and bryozoans for a combination of both. Therefore, if the investigated stressors are not controlled, phase shifts from dominance by hard corals to that by other invertebrates may occur at shaded reef locations in the Central Red Sea.

  15. Long-term changes in the benthic communities of the Sea of Azov related to the sedimentation and hydrological regime

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matishov, G. G.; Shokhin, I. V.; Nabozhenko, M. V.; Pol'Shin, V. V.

    2008-06-01

    The following periods reflected in the composition and distribution of benthic communities are distinguished in the development of the Sea of Azov during the last 80 years: (1) prior to the regulation of the Don River discharge, (2) after its regulation, (3) stabilization of the Don River hydrological regime, and (4) desalination of the sea. The distribution of benthic communities in the Sea of Azov is characterized by concentric patterns, which are distorted due to the changes in the hydrological and oxygen regimes after oxygen depletion. The basic factors that influence the distribution of macrozoobenthic communities are the aeration regime of the sea and the character of the sediment accumulation. The steady distribution of benthic communities composed largely of euryhaline species adapted to the conditions of an unstable salinity in the Sea of Azov shows no correlation with the salinity fluctuations from 9 to 14‰ during the 80-year-long period.

  16. Biodiversity of benthic microbial communities in bioturbated coastal sediments is controlled by geochemical microniches.

    PubMed

    Bertics, Victoria J; Ziebis, Wiebke

    2009-11-01

    We used a combination of field and laboratory approaches to address how the bioturbation activity of two crustaceans, the ghost shrimp Neotrypaea californiensis and the fiddler crab Uca crenulata, affects the microbial diversity in the seabed of a coastal lagoon (Catalina Harbor, Santa Catalina Island, CA, USA). Detailed geochemical analyses, including oxygen microsensor measurements, were performed to characterize environmental parameters. We used a whole-assemblage fingerprinting approach (ARISA: amplified ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis) to compare bacterial diversity along geochemical gradients and in relation to subsurface microniches. The two crustaceans have different burrowing behaviors. The ghost shrimp maintains complex, deep-reaching burrows and permanently lives subterranean, supplying its burrow with oxygen-rich water. In contrast, the fiddler crab constructs simpler, J-shaped burrows, which it does not inhabit permanently and does not actively ventilate. Our goal was to address how varying environmental parameters affect benthic microbial communities. An important question in benthic microbial ecology has been whether burrows support similar or unique communities compared with the sediment surface. Our results showed that sediment surface microbial communities are distinct from subsurface assemblages and that different burrow types support diverse bacterial taxa. Statistical comparisons by canonical correspondence analysis indicated that the availability of oxidants (oxygen, nitrate, ferric iron) play a key role in determining the presence and abundance of different taxa. When geochemical parameters were alike, microbial communities associated with burrows showed significant similarity to sediment surface communities. Our study provides implications on the community structure of microbial communities in marine sediments and the factors controlling their distribution.

  17. Impact of exploratory offshore drilling on benthic communities in the Minerva gas field, Port Campbell, Australia.

    PubMed

    Currie, D R; Isaacs, Leanne R

    2005-04-01

    Changes to benthic infauna caused by exploratory gas drilling operations in the Minerva field were examined experimentally using a BACI (before, after, control, impact) design. Analysis of 72 x 0.1 m2 Smith-McIntyre grab samples obtained from one pre-drilling and three post-drilling periods yielded a diverse fauna consisting of 196 invertebrate species and 5035 individuals. Changes to benthic community structure were assessed using ANOVA and nonmetric multidimensional scaling (MDS). The abundances of two common species (Apseudes sp. 1 and Prionospio coorilla) decreased significantly at the well-head site immediately after drilling. The size of these reductions in abundance ranged between 71% and 88%, and persisted for less than 4 months after drilling. A third common species (Katlysia sp. 1) increased in abundance 200 m east of the well-head following drilling. Most species occurred at densities too low to be analysed individually and so were pooled at higher taxonomic levels. Changes in the abundance of species aggregated by phylum varied, but significant declines in the most abundant phyla (Crustaceans and Polychaetes) of 45-73% were observed at all sites within a 100 m radius of the well-head following drilling. In most cases these changes became undetectable four months after drilling following species recruitments. MDS ordinations confirm that drilling related changes to benthic community structure are most pronounced at stations located closest to the well-head. Additionally, the ordinations indicate that modified communities persist at the well-head for more than 11 months following exploratory drilling.

  18. Responses of biofilm-dwelling ciliate communities to planktonic and benthic resource enrichment.

    PubMed

    Norf, Helge; Arndt, Hartmut; Weitere, Markus

    2009-05-01

    Four experiments covering different seasons were performed to test the impact of increased benthic and planktonic resource availability on the structure of biofilm-dwelling ciliate communities which were cultivated in river bypass systems. The growth of benthic bacteria was stimulated by the addition of dissolved organic carbon. The enrichment of the planktonic resource was achieved by supplementation with suspended bacteria. It was shown that both resource enrichments can differentially influence abundance and taxonomic structure of ciliate communities. Furthermore, both resources can influence different stages during biofilm colonization. Increased benthic bacterial growth mainly resulted in both an accumulation of primarily grazing-resistant bacterial filaments and in an increase in the number of vagile heterotrophic flagellates. This can stimulate nanophagous ciliates (feeding on flagellates) in addition to the direct stimulation of bacteriovorous ciliates. The effects of the planktonic bacteria enrichments were twofold: They could have been utilized either directly by suspension-feeding ciliates or indirectly through an enhanced growth of suspension-feeding attached heterotrophic flagellates, which were then in turn grazed upon by ciliates. The magnitude of responses of the total ciliate abundance to the two resource enrichments further depended on the background conditions, thereby showing temporarily variable limitations of these resources. Furthermore, the particular taxonomic groups stimulated by one resource type sometimes differed between the experiments, an observation which demonstrates that the response depends on different environmental factors and is not easily predictable based simply on resource type. Taken together, our results emphasize the need of a differentiated view on the effects of resources on complex biofilm-dwelling consumer communities with respect to both the origin of carbon source as well as the particular environmental conditions.

  19. Natural disturbance shapes benthic intertidal macroinvertebrate communities of high latitude river deltas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Churchwell, Roy T.; Kendall, Steve J.; Blanchard, Amy L.; Dunton, Kenneth H.; Powell, Abby N.

    2016-01-01

    Unlike lower latitude coastlines, the estuarine nearshore zones of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea are icebound and frozen up to 9 months annually. This annual freezing event represents a dramatic physical disturbance to fauna living within intertidal sediments. The main objectives of this study were to describe the benthic communities of Beaufort Sea deltas, including temporal changes and trophic structure. Understanding benthic invertebrate communities provided a baseline for concurrent research on shorebird foraging ecology at these sites. We found that despite continuous year-to-year episodes of annual freezing, these estuarine deltas are populated by a range of invertebrates that represent both marine and freshwater assemblages. Freshwater organisms like Diptera and Oligochaeta not only survive this extreme event, but a marine invasion of infaunal organisms such as Amphipoda and Polychaeta rapidly recolonizes the delta mudflats following ice ablation. These delta sediments of sand, silt, and clay are fine in structure compared to sediments of other Beaufort Sea coastal intertidal habitats. The relatively depauperate invertebrate community that ultimately develops is composed of marine and freshwater benthic invertebrates. The composition of the infauna also reflects two strategies that make life on Beaufort Sea deltas possible: a migration of marine organisms from deeper lagoons to the intertidal and freshwater biota that survive the 9-month ice-covered period in frozen sediments. Stable isotopic analyses reveal that both infaunal assemblages assimilate marine and terrestrial sources of organic carbon. These results provide some of the first quantitative information on the infaunal food resources of shallow arctic estuarine systems and the long-term persistence of these invertebrate assemblages. Our data help explain the presence of large numbers of shorebirds in these habitats during the brief summer open-water period and their trophic importance to migrating

  20. Benthic macroinvertebrate communities as aquatic bioindicators of contamination by Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

    PubMed

    Reboredo-Fernández, Aurora; Prado-Merini, Óscar; García-Bernadal, Teresa; Gómez-Couso, Hipólito; Ares-Mazás, Elvira

    2014-05-01

    Benthic macroinvertebrates (community composed mostly by aquatic forms of insects, such as stonefly nymphs, dragonfly nymphs, water bugs or beetle larvae) are often used in biological monitoring programmes to evaluate the ecological status of rivers and thus to indicate the repercussions of anthropogenic activities. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the use of this indicator community to detect human enteroprotozoan parasites that are transmitted via water. In total, 32 samples of macroinvertebrates were collected, with the aid of surber nets of mesh size 500 μm, from nine rivers in Galicia (NW Spain), on different occasions between 2005 and 2009. The samples were homogenised (0.04 M phosphate buffered saline, pH 7.2), sieved (150 and 45 μm mesh), and concentrated (by a diphasic method). Aliquots of the sediments were then analysed by a direct immunofluorescence technique with monoclonal antibodies against Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Giardia cysts were detected in one (3.1%) of the samples and Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in four (12.5%) of the samples. This work is the first study carried out to investigate the presence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in this benthic community. The results demonstrate that benthic invertebrates could be used as bioindicators of contamination by these waterborne protozoans. Moreover, as this aquatic organisms act as intermittent accumulators and its monitoring enables chronological analysis of perturbations, in both the short- and mid-term, this may represent a suitable alternative or complementary method to the usual techniques of detecting human and animal enteropathogens in water samples.

  1. Benthic community response to habitat variation: A case of study from a natural protected area, the Celestun coastal lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pech, Daniel; Ardisson, Pedro-Luis; Hernández-Guevara, Norma A.

    2007-12-01

    Little information currently exists on spatial and temporal benthic community variations in tropical coastal lagoons. Here, the benthic community response to habitat variation in the Celestun coastal lagoon, northwest Yucatan peninsula, was seasonally examined during the 1994-1995 climatic cycle into a grid of 12 sampling sites distributed along the salinity gradient of the lagoon. Habitat variation was assessed through physical factors associated both to the water column (e.g. salinity) and the bottom sediment (e.g. sand, silt and clay fractions). The benthic community response was assessed through species diversity measures and abundance. Under the influence of climatic seasonality, variations in habitat conditions followed by changes in the benthic community characteristics were expected. Results from two-way ANOVAs showed that for the period of study, Celestun lagoon was more heterogeneous along the spatial axis of variability than along the temporal one. Multiple regression analysis showed that salinity was spatially the main factor influencing the benthic community characteristics. Temporally, the sediment characteristics were observed to exert significant effects on the species diversity characteristics but not on abundance. Other variables assessed (dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature and water column transparency) exhibited no significant covariance with species diversity and abundance. Since generated from historical data, these results have the potential to be useful as a benchmark to the establishment of monitoring programs in the light of the increasing anthropogenic pressure on the natural resources of the lagoon and surrounding coastal area.

  2. Benthic prokaryotic community dynamics along the Ardencaple Canyon, Western Greenland Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quéric, Nadia-Valérie; Soltwedel, Thomas

    2012-07-01

    The Ardencaple Canyon, emanating from the Eastern Greenland continental rise over a distance of about 200 km towards the Greenland Basin, was investigated to determine the effect of enhanced down-slope transport mechanisms on deep-sea benthic prokaryotic communities. The concentration of viable bacterial cells (Live/Dead®BacLight) and prokaryotic incorporation rates (3H-thymidine, 14C-leucine) increased with increasing distance from the continental shelf. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) results from terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis indicated a spatial coherence between the benthic bacterial community structure, prokaryotic incorporation rates, water content, protein concentration and the total organic matter in the sediments. The community complexity in sediments at 4-5 cm depth was lower in the central parts of the channel compared with the northern and the southern levees, while richness in surface sediments of all stations was similar. Lacking any clear indications for a recent mass sediment transport or funneled shelf drainage flows, high similarities between bacterial assemblages in sediments along the canyon course may thus be governed by a combination of an ice-edge induced particle flux, episodic down-slope and canyon-guided transport mechanisms.

  3. Response of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities to Increases in Sediment Supply from Dam Removal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roark, J.; Podolak, C.

    2009-12-01

    There are approximately 85,000 dams in the United States that have an average age of 51 years and a typical design life of 50 years. An increasingly common management strategy for these dams is to decommission them but the information on environmental impact of releasing impounded sediment on the fresh water ecosystem downstream is unknown. It is expected that the increases in sediment supply could detrimentally impact communities downstream which indicates that a reliable measure of the impact is important in making management decisions. Benthic macroinvertebrate species have been proven as valid indicators of ecosystem health through their response to water quality conditions and have more recently been used to describe ecosystem health from habitat disturbances such as sediment deposition, flow regime changes, and trophic structure changes. The objective of this study is to investigate the use of benthic macroinvertebrate community response from geomorphologic change after a dam removal as a biological indicator of ecosystem health by comparing the results of the current field study to other studies on macroinvertebrate response to dam removal and by contributing to the general knowledge on ecosystem community response to increases in sediment supply. Increasing knowledge on this type of ecosystem response will improve ability to effectively manage dam removal for restoration purposes as well as help us understand ecosystem processes. In order to quantify macroinvertebrate response to sediment deposition for the field study, density and richness of benthic macroinvertebrate species were measured on the Sandy River in Oregon where it was known that stream bed changes had taken place from a dam removal and were quantified for the previous 3 years. It was found that there was a statistically significant difference in species richness among macroinvertebrate communities (p<0.0001, f=0.930) with old habitats richer than new habitats, but there were no significant

  4. [Structure and bioassessment of benthic communities of a lagoonal ecosystem of the Atlantic Moroccan coast].

    PubMed

    Bazairi, Hocein; Bayed, Abdellatif; Hily, Christian

    2005-01-01

    The Merja Zerga lagoon is a semi-enclosed marine ecosystem in which various types of human activities have been developed. This paper characterizes the biosedimentary units of the lagoon and defines a reference status of the quality and health of the macrozoobenthic communities that can be used as bioindicators of the quality of the global marine environment. Specific and functional diversity were high: 147 taxa were identified; they were distributed within seven main trophic groups. Trophic structure is dominated by the suspension-feeding bivalve Cerastoderma edule and the deposit-feeding bivalve Scrobicularia plana, while micrograzers and macroherbivores remain low. Biotic index values indicated that the site is moderately perturbed and that the benthic communities are unbalanced. Nevertheless, the communities showed a seasonal stability of abundances and a high specific richness all through the year.

  5. Virus-host interactions and their roles in coral reef health and disease.

    PubMed

    Thurber, Rebecca Vega; Payet, Jérôme P; Thurber, Andrew R; Correa, Adrienne M S

    2017-04-01

    Coral reefs occur in nutrient-poor shallow waters, constitute biodiversity and productivity hotspots, and are threatened by anthropogenic disturbance. This Review provides an introduction to coral reef virology and emphasizes the links between viruses, coral mortality and reef ecosystem decline. We describe the distinctive benthic-associated and water-column- associated viromes that are unique to coral reefs, which have received less attention than viruses in open-ocean systems. We hypothesize that viruses of bacteria and eukaryotes dynamically interact with their hosts in the water column and with scleractinian (stony) corals to influence microbial community dynamics, coral bleaching and disease, and reef biogeochemical cycling. Last, we outline how marine viruses are an integral part of the reef system and suggest that the influence of viruses on reef function is an essential component of these globally important environments.

  6. Differential response of coral communities to Caulerpa spp. bloom in the reefs of Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Manikandan, B; Ravindran, J

    2017-02-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are disturbed in tandem by climatic and anthropogenic stressors. A number of factors act synergistically to reduce the live coral cover and threaten the existence of reefs. Continuous monitoring of the coral communities during 2012-2014 captured an unprecedented growth of macroalgae as a bloom at Gulf of Mannar (GoM) and Palk Bay (PB) which are protected and unprotected reefs, respectively. The two reefs varying in their protection level enabled to conduct an assessment on the response of coral communities and their recovery potential during and after the macroalgal bloom. Surveys in 2012 revealed a live coral cover of 36.8 and 14.6% in GoM and PB, respectively. Live coral cover was lost at an annual rate of 4% in PB due to the Caulerpa racemosa blooms that occurred in 2013 and 2014. In GoM, the loss of live coral cover was estimated to be 16.5% due to C. taxifolia bloom in 2013. Tissue regeneration by the foliose and branching coral morphotypes aided the recovery of live coral cover in GoM, whereas the chances for the recovery of live coral cover in PB reef were low, primarily due to frequent algal blooms, and the existing live coral cover was mainly due to the abundance of slow-growing massive corals. In combination, results of this study suggested that the recovery of a coral reef after a macroalgal bloom largely depends on coral species composition and the frequency of stress events. A further study linking macroalgal bloom to its specific cause is essential for the successful intervention and management.

  7. Chemical defenses and resource trade-offs structure sponge communities on Caribbean coral reefs

    PubMed Central

    Loh, Tse-Lynn; Pawlik, Joseph R.

    2014-01-01

    Ecological studies have rarely been performed at the community level across a large biogeographic region. Sponges are now the primary habitat-forming organisms on Caribbean coral reefs. Recent species-level investigations have demonstrated that predatory fishes (angelfishes and some parrotfishes) differentially graze sponges that lack chemical defenses, while co-occurring, palatable species heal, grow, reproduce, or recruit at faster rates than defended species. Our prediction, based on resource allocation theory, was that predator removal would result in a greater proportion of palatable species in the sponge community on overfished reefs. We tested this prediction by performing surveys of sponge and fish community composition on reefs having different levels of fishing intensity across the Caribbean. A total of 109 sponge species was recorded from 69 sites, with the 10 most common species comprising 51.0% of sponge cover (3.6–7.7% per species). Nonmetric multidimensional scaling indicated that the species composition of sponge communities depended more on the abundance of sponge-eating fishes than geographic location. Across all sites, multiple-regression analyses revealed that spongivore abundance explained 32.8% of the variation in the proportion of palatable sponges, but when data were limited to geographically adjacent locations with strongly contrasting levels of fishing pressure (Cayman Islands and Jamaica; Curaçao, Bonaire, and Martinique), the adjusted R2 values were much higher (76.5% and 94.6%, respectively). Overfishing of Caribbean coral reefs, particularly by fish trapping, removes sponge predators and is likely to result in greater competition for space between faster-growing palatable sponges and endangered reef-building corals. PMID:24567392

  8. Chemical defenses and resource trade-offs structure sponge communities on Caribbean coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Loh, Tse-Lynn; Pawlik, Joseph R

    2014-03-18

    Ecological studies have rarely been performed at the community level across a large biogeographic region. Sponges are now the primary habitat-forming organisms on Caribbean coral reefs. Recent species-level investigations have demonstrated that predatory fishes (angelfishes and some parrotfishes) differentially graze sponges that lack chemical defenses, while co-occurring, palatable species heal, grow, reproduce, or recruit at faster rates than defended species. Our prediction, based on resource allocation theory, was that predator removal would result in a greater proportion of palatable species in the sponge community on overfished reefs. We tested this prediction by performing surveys of sponge and fish community composition on reefs having different levels of fishing intensity across the Caribbean. A total of 109 sponge species was recorded from 69 sites, with the 10 most common species comprising 51.0% of sponge cover (3.6-7.7% per species). Nonmetric multidimensional scaling indicated that the species composition of sponge communities depended more on the abundance of sponge-eating fishes than geographic location. Across all sites, multiple-regression analyses revealed that spongivore abundance explained 32.8% of the variation in the proportion of palatable sponges, but when data were limited to geographically adjacent locations with strongly contrasting levels of fishing pressure (Cayman Islands and Jamaica; Curaçao, Bonaire, and Martinique), the adjusted R(2) values were much higher (76.5% and 94.6%, respectively). Overfishing of Caribbean coral reefs, particularly by fish trapping, removes sponge predators and is likely to result in greater competition for space between faster-growing palatable sponges and endangered reef-building corals.

  9. Can benthic community structure be used to predict the process of bioturbation in real ecosystems?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Queirós, Ana M.; Stephens, Nicholas; Cook, Richard; Ravaglioli, Chiara; Nunes, Joana; Dashfield, Sarah; Harris, Carolyn; Tilstone, Gavin H.; Fishwick, James; Braeckman, Ulrike; Somerfield, Paul J.; Widdicombe, Stephen

    2015-09-01

    Disentangling the roles of environmental change and natural environmental variability on biologically mediated ecosystem processes is paramount to predict future marine ecosystem functioning. Bioturbation, the biogenic mixing of sediments, has a regulating role in marine biogeochemical processes. However, our understanding of bioturbation as a community level process and of its environmental drivers is still limited by loose use of terminology, and a lack of consensus about what bioturbation is. To help resolve these challenges, this empirical study investigated the links between four different attributes of bioturbation (bioturbation depth, activity and distance, and biodiffusive transport); the ability of an index of bioturbation (BPc) to predict each of them; and their relation to seasonality, in a shallow coastal system - the Western Channel Observatory, UK. Bioturbation distance depended on changes in benthic community structure, while the other three attributes were more directly influenced by seasonality in food availability. In parallel, BPc successfully predicted bioturbation distance but not the other attributes of bioturbation. This study therefore highlights that community bioturbation results from this combination of processes responding to environmental variability at different time-scales. However, community level measurements of bioturbation across environmental variability are still scarce, and BPc is calculated using commonly available data on benthic community structure and the functional classification of invertebrates. Therefore, BPc could be used to support the growth of landscape scale bioturbation research, but future uses of the index need to consider which bioturbation attributes the index actually predicts. As BPc predicts bioturbation distance, estimated here using a random-walk model applicable to community settings, studies using either of the metrics should be directly comparable and contribute to a more integrated future for

  10. Long-lived groupers require structurally stable reefs in the face of repeated climate change disturbances

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karkarey, R.; Kelkar, N.; Lobo, A. Savio; Alcoverro, T.; Arthur, R.

    2014-06-01

    Benthic recovery from climate-related disturbances does not always warrant a commensurate functional recovery for reef-associated fish communities. Here, we examine the distribution of benthic groupers (family Serranidae) in coral reef communities from the Lakshadweep archipelago (Arabian Sea) in response to structural complexity and long-term habitat stability. These coral reefs that have been subject to two major El Niño Southern Oscillation-related coral bleaching events in the last decades (1998 and 2010). First, we employ a long-term (12-yr) benthic-monitoring dataset to track habitat structural stability at twelve reef sites in the archipelago. Structural stability of reefs was strongly driven by exposure to monsoon storms and depth, which made deeper and more sheltered reefs on the eastern aspect more stable than the more exposed (western) and shallower reefs. We surveyed groupers (species richness, abundance, biomass) in 60 sites across the entire archipelago, representing both exposures and depths. Sites were selected along a gradient of structural complexity from very low to high. Grouper biomass appeared to vary with habitat stability with significant differences between depth and exposure; sheltered deep reefs had a higher grouper biomass than either sheltered shallow or exposed (deep and shallow) reefs. Species richness and abundance showed similar (though not significant) trends. More interestingly, average grouper biomass increased exponentially with structural complexity, but only at the sheltered deep (high stability) sites, despite the availability of recovered structure at exposed deep and shallow sites (lower-stability sites). This trend was especially pronounced for long-lived groupers (life span >10 yrs). These results suggest that long-lived groupers may prefer temporally stable reefs, independent of the local availability of habitat structure. In reefs subject to repeated disturbances, the presence of structurally stable reefs may be

  11. Reef Fishes of Saba Bank, Netherlands Antilles: Assemblage Structure across a Gradient of Habitat Types

    PubMed Central

    Toller, Wes; Debrot, Adolphe O.; Vermeij, Mark J. A.; Hoetjes, Paul C.

    2010-01-01

    Saba Bank is a 2,200 km2 submerged carbonate platform in the northeastern Caribbean Sea off Saba Island, Netherlands Antilles. The presence of reef-like geomorphic features and significant shelf edge coral development on Saba Bank have led to the conclusion that it is an actively growing, though wholly submerged, coral reef atoll. However, little information exists on the composition of benthic communities or associated reef fish assemblages of Saba Bank. We selected a 40 km2 area of the bank for an exploratory study. Habitat and reef fish assemblages were investigated in five shallow-water benthic habitat types that form a gradient from Saba Bank shelf edge to lagoon. Significant coral cover was restricted to fore reef habitat (average cover 11.5%) and outer reef flat habitat (2.4%) and declined to near zero in habitats of the central lagoon zone. Macroalgae dominated benthic cover in all habitats (average cover: 32.5 – 48.1%) but dominant algal genera differed among habitats. A total of 97 fish species were recorded. The composition of Saba Bank fish assemblages differed among habitat types. Highest fish density and diversity occurred in the outer reef flat, fore reef and inner reef flat habitats. Biomass estimates for commercially valued species in the reef zone (fore reef and reef flat habitats) ranged between 52 and 83 g/m2. The composition of Saba Bank fish assemblages reflects the absence of important nursery habitats, as well as the effects of past fishing. The relatively high abundance of large predatory fish (i.e. groupers and sharks), which is generally considered an indicator of good ecosystem health for tropical reef systems, shows that an intact trophic network is still present on Saba Bank. PMID:20502637

  12. History of benthic research in the English Channel: From general patterns of communities to habitat mosaic description

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dauvin, Jean-Claude

    2015-06-01

    Benthic studies in the English Channel (EC), a shallow megatidal and epicontinental sea, began in the 1960s and 1970s with the work of teams led by Norman Holme (UK) and Louis Cabioch (F). During this period, benthic sampling was mainly qualitative, i.e. using a device such as the 'Rallier du Baty' dredge in the case of the French team and a modified anchor dredge in the case of the British team. Studies were focused on acquiring knowledge of the main distributions of benthic communities and species. Surveys on the scale of the whole EC led to the recognition of general features and two main patterns were identified: 1) the role of hydrodynamics on the spatial distribution of sediment, benthic species and communities; 2) the presence of a west-east climatic gradient of faunal impoverishment. Benthic studies in the 1980s-1990s were focused on the beginning of the implementation of long-term survey at a limited number of sites to identify seasonal and multi-annual changes. In the first decade of the 2000s, the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive to define the Ecological Quality Status of marine environments increased the need to acquire better information of the structure and functioning of benthic communities, since benthic species and habitats were recognised as good indicators of human pressure on marine ecosystems. Faced with the increase of human maritime activities, the appearance of invasive species and the need to preserve sensitive marine habitats, benthic studies have been focused on developing a 'toolkit' to help in the decision-making and planning for both sound governance and sustainable management of marine resources and human activities in the English Channel. Multidisciplinary approaches were used to differentiate habitats in a more precise detail. Both indirect (side-scan sonar, ROV) and direct (grab sampling with benthos identification and grain-size analyses) approaches were used and

  13. Species-specific responses to climate change and community composition determine future calcification rates of Florida Keys reefs.

    PubMed

    Okazaki, Remy R; Towle, Erica K; van Hooidonk, Ruben; Mor, Carolina; Winter, Rivah N; Piggot, Alan M; Cunning, Ross; Baker, Andrew C; Klaus, James S; Swart, Peter K; Langdon, Chris

    2017-03-01

    Anthropogenic climate change compromises reef growth as a result of increasing temperatures and ocean acidification. Scleractinian corals vary in their sensitivity to these variables, suggesting species composition will influence how reef communities respond to future climate change. Because data are lacking for many species, most studies that model future reef growth rely on uniform scleractinian calcification sensitivities to temperature and ocean acidification. To address this knowledge gap, calcification of twelve common and understudied Caribbean coral species was measured for two months under crossed temperatures (27, 30.3 °C) and CO2 partial pressures (pCO2 ) (400, 900, 1300 μatm). Mixed-effects models of calcification for each species were then used to project community-level scleractinian calcification using Florida Keys reef composition data and IPCC AR5 ensemble climate model data. Three of the four most abundant species, Orbicella faveolata, Montastraea cavernosa, and Porites astreoides, had negative calcification responses to both elevated temperature and pCO2 . In the business-as-usual CO2 emissions scenario, reefs with high abundances of these species had projected end-of-century declines in scleractinian calcification of >50% relative to present-day rates. Siderastrea siderea, the other most common species, was insensitive to both temperature and pCO2 within the levels tested here. Reefs dominated by this species had the most stable end-of-century growth. Under more optimistic scenarios of reduced CO2 emissions, calcification rates throughout the Florida Keys declined <20% by 2100. Under the most extreme emissions scenario, projected declines were highly variable among reefs, ranging 10-100%. Without considering bleaching, reef growth will likely decline on most reefs, especially where resistant species like S. siderea are not already dominant. This study demonstrates how species composition influences reef community responses to climate change

  14. Rare but active taxa contribute to community dynamics of benthic biofilms in glacier-fed streams.

    PubMed

    Wilhelm, Linda; Besemer, Katharina; Fasching, Christina; Urich, Tim; Singer, Gabriel A; Quince, Christopher; Battin, Tom J

    2014-08-01

    Glaciers harbour diverse microorganisms, which upon ice melt can be released downstream. In glacier-fed streams microorganisms can attach to stones or sediments to form benthic biofilms. We used 454-pyrosequencing to explore the bulk (16S rDNA) and putatively active (16S rRNA) microbial communities of stone and sediment biofilms across 26 glacier-fed streams. We found differences in community composition between bulk and active communities among streams and a stronger congruence between biofilm types. Relative abundances of rRNA and rDNA were positively correlated across different taxa and taxonomic levels, but at lower taxonomic levels, the higher abundance in either the active or the bulk communities became more apparent. Here, environmental variables played a minor role in structuring active communities. However, we found a large number of rare taxa with higher relative abundances in rRNA compared with rDNA. This suggests that rare taxa contribute disproportionately to microbial community dynamics in glacier-fed streams. Our findings propose that high community turnover, where taxa repeatedly enter and leave the 'seed bank', contributes to the maintenance of microbial biodiversity in harsh ecosystems with continuous environmental perturbations, such as glacier-fed streams.

  15. Individual-based analyses reveal limited functional overlap in a coral reef fish community.

    PubMed

    Brandl, Simon J; Bellwood, David R

    2014-05-01

    Detailed knowledge of a species' functional niche is crucial for the study of ecological communities and processes. The extent of niche overlap, functional redundancy and functional complementarity is of particular importance if we are to understand ecosystem processes and their vulnerability to disturbances. Coral reefs are among the most threatened marine systems, and anthropogenic activity is changing the functional composition of reefs. The loss of herbivorous fishes is particularly concerning as the removal of algae is crucial for the growth and survival of corals. Yet, the foraging patterns of the various herbivorous fish species are poorly understood. Using a multidimensional framework, we present novel individual-based analyses of species' realized functional niches, which we apply to a herbivorous coral reef fish community. In calculating niche volumes for 21 species, based on their microhabitat utilization patterns during foraging, and computing functional overlaps, we provide a measurement of functional redundancy or complementarity. Complementarity is the inverse of redundancy and is defined as less than 50% overlap in niche volumes. The analyses reveal extensive complementarity with an average functional overlap of just 15.2%. Furthermore, the analyses divide herbivorous reef fishes into two broad groups. The first group (predominantly surgeonfishes and parrotfishes) comprises species feeding on exposed surfaces and predominantly open reef matrix or sandy substrata, resulting in small niche volumes and extensive complementarity. In contrast, the second group consists of species (predominantly rabbitfishes) that feed over a wider range of microhabitats, penetrating the reef matrix to exploit concealed surfaces of various substratum types. These species show high variation among individuals, leading to large niche volumes, more overlap and less complementarity. These results may have crucial consequences for our understanding of herbivorous processes on

  16. Changes in benthic communities along a presumed pollution gradient in Vancouver Harbour.

    PubMed

    Je, Jong-Geel; Belan, Tatyana; Levings, Colin; Koo, Bon Joo

    2004-01-01

    Samples of macrobenthic organisms were obtained at seven stations on a presumed pollution gradient from the head of Vancouver Harbour through to outer Howe Sound. Polychaetes (83 apparent species) and molluscs (43 apparent species) were the most abundant faunal groups numerically (44.8 and 47.9%, respectively). Molluscs accounted for most of the biomass (87.9%). The following univariate and multivariate methods were used to investigate structural changes in the benthic communities: ANOVA, Abundance-Biomass Comparisons and related statistics, cluster analysis, multidimensional scaling, and the BIOENV procedure. Most of the analyses divided the seven stations into three groups: Port Moody Arm (Inner Harbour): two stations; Inner and Outer Harbour: four stations, and Gibsons (Howe Sound): one station. Further cause-effect investigations are needed to determine the sensitivity to organic pollution of indicator species identified in the survey. However our data correlating benthic community changes to sediment chemistry suggest the inner harbour was dominated by pollution-tolerant species. Depth and sediment grain size were confounding factors for the interpretations.

  17. Infaunal and megafaunal benthic community structure associated with cold seeps at the Vestnesa Ridge (79 N°)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Åström, Emmelie K. L.; Carroll, Michael L.; Sen, Arunima; Ambrose, William G., Jr.; Silyakova, Anna; Carroll, JoLynn

    2016-04-01

    Cold seeps are locations where hydrocarbons, sulfide or reduced compounds emanate from the seafloor, which may fuel chemoautotrophic production and form additional hard bottom substrate through carbonate precipitation. Chemosynthetic symbiosis, trophic interactions, and additional bottom substrate types can provide a heterogeneous environment for deep-sea organisms supporting macrofaunal communities including increased biodiversity and biomass. We combined quantitative benthic faunal samples with sea floor photographs from an active, methane seeping pockmark at Vestnesa Ridge (1200 meters depth) to examine community structure and biodiversity in a high Arctic deep cold seep. Quantitative data were compared with samples from the nearby inactive Svyatogor Ridge (1577-1706 meters depth). We measured highly elevated methane concentrations (up to 100x background levels) in the sediment at Vestnesa Ridge. Faunal abundance, species richness and biomass were significantly higher at the Vestnesa pockmark compared to inactive Svyatogor Ridge. Seabed photos from Vestnesa Ridge reveal high megafaunal diversity and biomass and cold seep features including carbonate crust and microbial mats. Our observations indicate that chemoautotrophic production enhances deep-sea biomass and diversity at Vestnesa Ridge. The focused methane emissions create a heterogeneous deep-sea habitat for chemo-associated organisms coexisting with heterotrophic conventional fauna in a high Arctic seep. Keywords: Arctic, benthic ecology, biodiversity, chemosynthesis, methane

  18. Effects of Insecticides on Benthic Communities Under Pulse and Press Exposures.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heard, K.; Culp, J. M.; Luiker, E.; Alexander, A.; Baird, D. J.; Curry, R. A.

    2005-05-01

    Benthic macroinvertebrates are often exposed to short-term pulses of pesticides following runoff events as well as through low background exposure. Pulse events may be important exposure routes for highly soluble insecticides such as imidacloprid. We examined the effects of imidacloprid on the benthos through press and pulse exposures, beginning with a press, range-finding field experiment (0, 5, 15 ppb) designed to estimate thresholds for effects on the invertebrate community. This experiment demonstrated a dose response with higher insecticide treatments reducing abundance, richness and evenness relative to the control. A subsequent experiment aimed at lower concentrations, more consistent with natural levels, contained both pulse (0, 0.1, 0.5, 1.0, 5, 10 ppb) and press (0, 0.1, 0.5, 1.0 ppb) concentrations to detect which exposure caused effects in the benthic community, or affected emerging insect abundance and size. No significant differences in abundance or richness were found with concentrations up to 1 ppb regardless of treatment or design. However, sublethal effects were observed as Baetis adults were generally longer (total length) in pulse versus press exposures and had larger abdomens at higher insecticide concentrations. Current studies are measuring insecticide concentrations during the flood hydrograph to better understand the consequences of these sublethal effects.

  19. Submarine groundwater discharges create unique benthic communities in a coastal sandy marine environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leitão, Francisco; Encarnação, João; Range, Pedro; Schmelz, Rüdiger M.; Teodósio, Maria A.; Chícharo, Luís

    2015-09-01

    In this study we assessed the small-scale effects of submarine groundwater discharges (SGD) on macrofaunal assemblages associated with shallow sandy sediments along the south coast of Portugal. Corer samples were collected in a (1) subtidal seep, (2) at the edge of the seep (periphery) and (3) in the surrounding area. Community structure varied across areas, with diversity, species richness and evenness generally low at seep relatively to the surrounding area. Community composition within the seep was reduced to a small number of taxa, although total abundance was similar between seeps and surrounding areas. The seep was characterized by a distinct hydrological environment, with lower salinity and pH, relative to the surroundings sandy areas. More than 93% of the benthic macrofauna in the seep was dominated by Lumbricillus lineatus (enchytraeid oligochaetes). This study is the first to record the presence of this euryaline species in Portuguese marine waters. In the surrounding area Spionidae Polychaetes and Bathyporeia sp. (Amphipoda) were the most frequent and abundant taxa. These findings provide evidence for a direct association between SGD effect and the composition of benthic marine assemblages. The patchy habitat created by groundwater seep allowed euryhaline species with short and fast recruitment times to occur in a fully marine environment. Whether this pattern is consistent, or only occurs when smooth favorable sea conditions are not superimposed on the groundwater effect remains uncertain.

  20. Impact of deep-water fish farms on benthic macrofauna communities under different hydrodynamic conditions.

    PubMed

    Valdemarsen, Thomas; Hansen, Pia Kupka; Ervik, Arne; Bannister, Raymond J

    2015-12-30

    In this study the environmental impacts of two fish farms located over deep water (180-190 m) were compared. MC-Farm was located at a site with slightly higher water currents (mean current speed 3-5 cms(-1)) than LC-farm (<2 cms(-1)). Macrofauna composition, bioirrigation and benthic fluxes (CO2 and NH4(+)) were quantified at different stages of the production cycle, revealing very different impact of the two farms. Macrofauna abundance and bioirrigation were stimulated compared to a non-impacted reference site at MC-farm, while macrofauna diversity was only moderately reduced. In contrast, macrofauna communities and related parameters were severely impoverished at LC-Farm. This study suggests that deep-water fish farms should not be sited in low current areas (<2 cms(-1)), since this will hamper waste dispersal and aggravate environmental impacts. On the other hand, fish farming at slightly more dynamic sites can lead to stimulated benthic macrofauna communities and only moderate environmental impacts.

  1. Changes in Benthic Invertebrate Communities During the Introduction of Zebra Mussels Into an Impounded Michigan River

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luttenton, M.; Godby, N.; Rutherford, E.; Vankampen, S.

    2005-05-01

    Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha, ZM) were introduced into the Croton impoundment on the Muskegon River, MI, sometime during the late 1990s, and subsequently colonized downstream. We evaluated changes in invertebrate communities in the Muskegon River during ZM colonization. ZM were not found in benthic samples collected during 1998-1999 but densities reached 12,000 m-2 and 26,000 m-2 in 2000 and 2001 respectively, immediately below the Croton impoundment. ZM densities remained relatively low (<70 m-2) at sites 1.75 km and 8.75 km downstream. Total arthropod densities increased from 1998-99 to 2001. Trichoptera densities declined at all sites in 2000 but recovered in 2001. The relative abundance of Hyropsychidae varied between 1998-99 and 2001 at each sample site. Cheumatopsyche sp. increased significantly below Croton dam occupying spaces within and below ZM clumps, but declined at downstream sites following introduction of ZM. Chironomidae were uncommon in 1998-99 samples but were numerically dominant in 2000 and 2001 averaging 16525 m-2 over both years. Data from 2003 indicated that ZM remove 32% of suspended Chl. a in the first 500 m below Croton Dam. Thus, ZM may affect benthic invertebrate communities in impounded river systems by redistributing particulate organic matter within the system.

  2. Tundra fire alters stream water chemistry and benthic invertebrate communities, North Slope, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, A. R.; Bowden, W. B.; Kling, G. W.; Schuett, E.; Kostrzewski, J. M.; Kolden Abatzoglou, C.; Findlay, R. H.

    2010-12-01

    Increased fire frequency and severity are potentially important consequences of climate change in high latitude ecosystems. The 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire, which burned from July until October, is the largest recorded tundra fire from Alaska's north slope (≈1,000 km2). The immediate effects of wildfire on water chemistry and biotic assemblages in tundra streams are heretofore unknown. We hypothesized that a tundra fire would increase inorganic nutrient inputs to P-limited tundra streams, increasing primary production and altering benthic macroinvertebrate community structure. We examined linkages among: 1) percentage of riparian zone and overall watershed vegetation burned, 2) physical, chemical and biological stream characteristics, and 3) macroinvertebrate communities in streams draining burned and unburned watersheds during the summers of 2008 and 2009. Streams in burned watersheds contained higher mean concentrations of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), ammonium (NH4+), and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). In contrast, stream nitrate (NO3-) concentrations were lower in burned watersheds. The net result was that the tundra fire did not affect concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (NH4+ + NO3-). In spite of increased SRP, benthic chlorophyll-a biomass was not elevated. Macroinvertebrate abundances were 1.5 times higher in streams draining burned watersheds; Chironomidae midges, Nematodes, and Nemoura stoneflies showed the greatest increases in abundance. Multivariate multiple regression identified environmental parameters associated with the observed changes in the macroinvertebrate communities. Since we identified stream latitude as a significant predictor variable, latitude was included in the model as a covariate. After removing the variation associated with latitude, 67.3 % of the variance in macroinvertebrate community structure was explained by a subset of 7 predictor variables; DOC, conductivity, mean temperature, NO3-, mean discharge, SRP and NH

  3. Mapping of coral reefs using the combined bathymetric lidar and CASI datasets (Conference Presentation)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cruz, Charmaine A.; Tamondong, Ayin M.; Go, Gay A.

    2016-10-01

    Mapping of coral reefs provides information to support the conservation and monitoring of this vulnerable benthic habitat. Coral reef environment has a high level of complexity and spatial heterogeneity, however, typical maps derived using remote sensing data only includes classification of benthic communities. The study aims to update the status of coral reef classification through the advancement of remote sensing technology in the Philippines. This shows the coral community condition in the area. With the use of hyperspectral Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager (CASI) and bathymetric LiDAR, data were acquired in Apo Reef, Province of Mindoro. Apo Reef is known as the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world. The image taken has a spatial resolution of 0.5 meters with spectral resolution of approximately 10nm between 385nm to 1047nm wavelength regions. Pre-processing of LiDAR data includes extraction of surface bottom and generating derivatives such as Digital Surface Model (DSM), Digital Terrain Model (DTM), rugosity, and slope. Data on spectral reflectance of coral reef types and other substrates, bathymetry, validation points and geotagged underwater video were gathered in situ simultaneous with the image acquisition. Derivative analysis is then applied to the field spectra to determine the wavelength bands for discriminating coral reef types. The optimal subset bands and LiDAR derivatives were used in classifying coral reef types using the supervised classification. Geotagged photos and sampling points were used to validate and assess the accuracy of the map.

  4. Consistent nutrient storage and supply mediated by diverse fish communities in coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Allgeier, Jacob E; Layman, Craig A; Mumby, Peter J; Rosemond, Amy D

    2014-08-01

    Corals thrive in low nutrient environments and the conservation of these globally imperiled ecosystems is largely dependent on mitigating the effects of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. However, to better understand the implications of anthropogenic nutrients requires a heightened understanding of baseline nutrient dynamics within these ecosystems. Here, we provide a novel perspective on coral reef nutrient dynamics by examining the role of fish communities in the supply and storage of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). We quantified fish-mediated nutrient storage and supply for 144 species and modeled these data onto 172 fish communities (71 729 individual fish), in four types of coral reefs, as well as seagrass and mangrove ecosystems, throughout the Northern Antilles. Fish communities supplied and stored large quantities of nutrients, with rates varying among ecosystem types. The size structure and diversity of the fish communities best predicted N and P supply and storage and N : P supply, suggesting that alterations to fish communities (e.g., overfishing) will have important implications for nutrient dynamics in these systems. The stoichiometric ratio (N : P) for storage in fish mass (~8 : 1) and supply (~20 : 1) was notably consistent across the four coral reef types (but not seagrass or mangrove ecosystems). Published nutrient enrichment studies on corals show that deviations from this N : P supply ratio may be associated with poor coral fitness, providing qualitative support for the hypothesis that corals and their symbionts may be adapted to specific ratios of nutrient supply. Consumer nutrient stoichiometry provides a baseline from which to better understand nutrient dynamics in coral reef and other coastal ecosystems, information that is greatly needed if we are to implement more effective measures to ensure the future health of the world's oceans.

  5. Recruitment and development of back-reef communities in response to low pH conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crook, E. D.; Paytan, A.; Rebolledo-Vieyra, M.; Hernandez, L.

    2012-12-01

    Coral reef ecosystems are currently threatened by the anthropogenic loading of CO2 to the oceans, resulting in a reduction of surface water pH. Model predictions and laboratory experiments indicate that as the pH of the oceans drops, the ability of corals and other calcifying organisms to build their carbonate skeletons will be significantly reduced. Here, we investigate community level responses to extreme conditions of natural ocean acidification in a reef lagoon at Puerto Morelos, Mexico. The lagoon experiences localized, continuously low pH (6.8 to 7.6) conditions in the vicinity of submarine springs. The close proximity of these organisms to those living under ambient conditions provides a unique opportunity to study the impacts of ocean acidification on community development in a natural setting. Organismal recruitment and subsequent individual and community succession were studied over a 14 month period at Puerto Morelos, Mexico. We address how ocean acidification may impact reef communities in a high CO2 world.

  6. Strong but opposing β-diversity-stability relationships in coral reef fish communities.

    PubMed

    Mellin, C; Bradshaw, C J A; Fordham, D A; Caley, M J

    2014-02-22

    The 'diversity-stability hypothesis', in which higher species diversity within biological communities buffers the risk of ecological collapse, is now generally accepted. However, empirical evidence for a relationship between β-diversity (spatial turnover in community structure) and temporal stability in community structure remains equivocal, despite important implications for theoretical ecology and conservation biology. Here, we report strong β-diversity-stability relationships across a broad sample of fish taxa on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. These relationships were robust to random sampling error and spatial and environmental factors, such as latitude, reef size and isolation. While β-diversity was positively associated with temporal stability at the community level, the relationship was negative for some taxa, for example surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae), one of the most abundant reef fish families. This demonstrates that the β-diversity-stability relationship should not be indiscriminately assumed for all taxa, but that a species' risk of extirpation in response to disturbance is likely to be taxon specific and trait based. By combining predictions of spatial and temporal turnover across the study area with observations in marine-protected areas, we conclude that protection alone does not necessarily confer temporal stability and that taxon-specific considerations will improve the outcome of conservation efforts.

  7. High frequency variability of environmental drivers determining benthic community dynamics in headwater streams.

    PubMed

    Snell, M A; Barker, P A; Surridge, B W J; Large, A R G; Jonczyk, J; Benskin, C McW H; Reaney, S; Perks, M T; Owen, G J; Cleasby, W; Deasy, C; Burke, S; Haygarth, P M

    2014-07-01

    Headwater streams are an important feature of the landscape, with their diversity in structure and associated ecological function providing a potential natural buffer against downstream nutrient export. Phytobenthic communities, dominated in many headwaters by diatoms, must respond to physical and chemical parameters that can vary in magnitude within hours, whereas the ecological regeneration times are much longer. How diatom communities develop in the fluctuating, dynamic environments characteristic of headwaters is poorly understood. Deployment of near-continuous monitoring technology in sub-catchments of the River Eden, NW England, provides the opportunity for measurement of temporal variability in stream discharge and nutrient resource supply to benthic communities, as represented by monthly diatom samples collected over two years. Our data suggest that the diatom communities and the derived Trophic Diatom Index, best reflect stream discharge conditions over the preceding 18-21 days and Total Phosphorus concentrations over a wider antecedent window of 7-21 days. This is one of the first quantitative assessments of long-term diatom community development in response to continuously-measured stream nutrient concentration and discharge fluctuations. The data reveal the sensitivity of these headwater communities to mean conditions prior to sampling, with flow as the dominant variable. With sufficient understanding of the role of antecedent conditions, these methods can be used to inform interpretation of monitoring data, including those collected under the European Water Framework Directive and related mitigation efforts.

  8. [Reef fishes community structure of Playa Mero, Parque Nacional Morrocoy, Venezuela].

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, J; Villamizar, E

    2000-12-01

    The coral reef fish community was studied in Playa Mero, Morrocoy National Park, after the mass mortality of January, 1996 with a systematic sampling design. Transects and quadrates were used for corals, and a visual census for fishes. The coral community is highly disturbed with extensive areas of dead coral covered by algae, and low coverage and richness of coral species, gorgonians, sponges and briozooans. These factors have generated a relatively homogeneous environment with respect to the fish community, which was dominated by Scaridae and Pomacentridae that represented 75% of fish. Dominant fishes were mainly herbivorous (75.4% of all fish) apparently because of the disturbance that caused the settling of algae.

  9. The Roles of Sea-Ice, Light and Sedimentation in Structuring Shallow Antarctic Benthic Communities.

    PubMed

    Clark, Graeme F; Stark, Jonathan S; Palmer, Anne S; Riddle, Martin J; Johnston, Emma L

    2017-01-01

    On polar coasts, seasonal sea-ice duration strongly influences shallow marine environments by affecting environmental conditions, such as light, sedimentation, and physical disturbance. Sea-ice dynamics are changing in response to climate, but there is limited understanding of how this might affect shallow marine environments and benthos. Here we present a unique set of physical and biological data from a single region of Antarctic coast, and use it to gain insights into factors shaping polar benthic communities. At sites encompassing a gradient of sea-ice duration, we measured temporal and spatial variation in light and sedimentation and hard-substrate communities at different depths and substrate orientations. Biological trends were highly correlated with sea-ice duration, and appear to be driven by opposing gradients in light and sedimentation. As sea-ice duration decreased, there was increased light and reduced sedimentation, and concurrent shifts in community structure from invertebrate to algal dominance. Trends were strongest on shallower, horizontal surfaces, which are most exposed to light and sedimentation. Depth and substrate orientation appear to mediate exposure of benthos to these factors, thereby tempering effects of sea-ice and increasing biological heterogeneity. However, while light and sedimentation both varied spatially with sea-ice, their dynamics differed temporally. Light was sensitive to the site-specific date of sea-ice breakout, whereas sedimentation fluctuated at a regional scale coincident with the summer phytoplankton bloom. Sea-ice duration is clearly the overarching force structuring these shallow Antarctic benthic communities, but direct effects are imposed via light and sedimentation, and mediated by habitat characteristics.

  10. The Roles of Sea-Ice, Light and Sedimentation in Structuring Shallow Antarctic Benthic Communities

    PubMed Central

    Clark, Graeme F.; Stark, Jonathan S.; Palmer, Anne S.; Riddle, Martin J.; Johnston, Emma L.

    2017-01-01

    On polar coasts, seasonal sea-ice duration strongly influences shallow marine environments by affecting environmental conditions, such as light, sedimentation, and physical disturbance. Sea-ice dynamics are changing in response to climate, but there is limited understanding of how this might affect shallow marine environments and benthos. Here we present a unique set of physical and biological data from a single region of Antarctic coast, and use it to gain insights into factors shaping polar benthic communities. At sites encompassing a gradient of sea-ice duration, we measured temporal and spatial variation in light and sedimentation and hard-substrate communities at different depths and substrate orientations. Biological trends were highly correlated with sea-ice duration, and appear to be driven by opposing gradients in light and sedimentation. As sea-ice duration decreased, there was increased light and reduced sedimentation, and concurrent shifts in community structure from invertebrate to algal dominance. Trends were strongest on shallower, horizontal surfaces, which are most exposed to light and sedimentation. Depth and substrate orientation appear to mediate exposure of benthos to these factors, thereby tempering effects of sea-ice and increasing biological heterogeneity. However, while light and sedimentation both varied spatially with sea-ice, their dynamics differed temporally. Light was sensitive to the site-specific date of sea-ice breakout, whereas sedimentation fluctuated at a regional scale coincident with the summer phytoplankton bloom. Sea-ice duration is clearly the overarching force structuring these shallow Antarctic benthic communities, but direct effects are imposed via light and sedimentation, and mediated by habitat characteristics. PMID:28076438

  11. Coastal nutrification and coral health at Porto Seguro reefs, Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Costa, O.; Attrill, M.; Nimmo, M.

    2003-04-01

    Human activities have substantially increased the natural flux of nutrients to coastal systems worldwide. In Brazilian reefs, all major stresses (sedimentation, overfishing, tourism-related activities and nutrification) are human induced. To assess nutrification levels in Brazilian coastal reefs, measurements of the distribution patterns of nutrients and chlorophyll concentrations were conducted in three nearshore and offshore reefs with distinct nutrient inputs along the south coast of Bahia State. Seawater and porewater samples were analysed for soluble reactive phosphorus, total oxidised nitrogen and reactive silica. Benthic surveys were performed at all sites to investigate the relationships between benthic community composition and nutrient and chlorophyll concentrations. Sampling was undertaken in dry and rainy seasons. Results of both seawater and porewater nutrient measurements revealed the occurrence of consistent spatial and temporal patterns. An inshore-offshore gradient reflects the occurrence of land-based point sources, with significant amount of nutrients being delivered by human activities on the coast (untreated sewage and groundwater seepage). Another spatial gradient is related to distance from a localized source of pollution (an urban settlement without sewerage treatment) with two nearshore reefs presenting distinct nutrient and chlorophyll concentrations. Seasonal variations suggest that submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is the primary source of nutrients for the coastal reefs during rainy season. The data also suggests that the SGD effect is not restricted to nearshore reefs, and may be an important factor controlling the differences between landward and seaward sides on the offshore reef. Benthic community assessment revealed that turf alga is the dominant group in all studied reefs and that zoanthids are the organisms most adapted to take advantage of nutrient increase in coastal areas. At nearshore reefs, there was a negative

  12. Development of a marine subtidal epibiotic community in Hong Kong: implications for deployment of artificial reefs.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Jian-Wen; Thiyagarajan, Vengatesen; Leung, Albert W; Qian, Pei-Yuan

    2003-02-01

    A 2-year study was conducted in Hong Kong to examine the effects of substratum, season and length of submersion on the development of a subtidal epibiotic community using four types of settlement panels (concrete, steel, wood and tyre). The season and length of submersion had a strong influence on the total biomass and on community structure while the type of substratum had very little impact on the total biomass or the structure of the epibiotic community. The season of submersion determined the species composition of the newly submerged surfaces. In the spring and summer, tubeworms were the most abundant. In the autumn and winter, barnacles and tunicates dominated. Community succession was not obvious in the first year of submersion as it was intermingled with strong seasonal settlement, growth and death of barnacles and tunicates. In the second year of submersion, green mussels and tunicates settled and grew to occupy most of the panel surfaces, forming an assemblage that was characteristic of climax communities in the local subtidal waters. The results suggest that the type of construction material has limited impact on the development of epibiotic communities on artificial reefs deployed in Hong Kong; the season of submersion may affect community structure in the early successional stage, but not the characteristics of the climax communities. This study indicates that the type of substratum should not be of concern when deploying artificial reefs in the subtidal waters in this region. The design of artificial reefs should focus more on other physical and economical aspects such as durability, flow dynamics, stability, cost, and effects on the ambient environment.

  13. Human exploitation and benthic community structure on a tropical intertidal flat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, W. F.; Prins, H. H. T.

    2002-11-01

    Human exploitation of intertidal marine invertebrates is known to alter benthic community structure. This study describes the impact that harvesting by women and children has on the intertidal community structure of the mudflats of the Saco on Inhaca Island, Mozambique, by comparing the benthic communities of exploited and unexploited areas. Sampling was done using two different methods: a standard core sampling method with sieving over a 1 mm mesh, and collection by the women of all animals within a 10×10 m quadrat. A number of predictions were tested on the basis of previous studies. Species richness analyses were based on multivariate non-parametric tests. The women collected in total 64 different species per tide period, their mean catch amounting to 30.5 g AFDW (Ash-Free Dry Weight) per person, 69% of which comprised predators. The crab Portunus pelagica was the dominant species in weight. Average harvest was estimated at 0.12 g AFDW m -2 y -1. The benthic community comprised 117 different species, totalling 2200 organisms m -2 or 6.0 g AFDW m -2. No impact of the exploitation could be detected for any of the following macrobenthos parameters: biomass, abundance, density or percentage of target species, predator:prey ratio, target species size, species richness, species-rank abundance, or biomass/abundance ratio. No significant correlation was found between the benthos variables obtained with the core samples and the human predation pressure. The low biomass figures for predators obtained in the Saco could be linked with the human exploitation there. The samples collected in the 10×10 m quadrats comprised <0.1% of the numerical abundance and <5% of the biomass of the core samples. Species composition was also different by this method. Nevertheless, people preferred the areas with the highest abundance, biomass and species richness as judged from these 10×10 m samples. These samples apparently represented better the substrate characteristics from a human

  14. Developing a More "Citizen-Centered" Coral Reef Information System: Engaging the Coral Reef Community To Assess User Needs and Improve Coral Reef Science Communication

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, K.; McCaffrey, M.

    2005-05-01

    With 35 million web pages and 22,000 websites, the U.S. Federal Government through the E-Government Act 2002 directs those who develop and maintain these websites to become more "citizen-centered." One required activity of the act is to "sponsor ongoing dialogue with interested parties (including state, local, and tribal governments, private and non-profit sectors, and the general public) to find innovative ways to use IT to improve the delivery of Government information and services" (Sec 101, 3602). One of the websites that has begun to engage such parties is the NOAA Coral Reef Information System (CoRIS), which is designed to provide the public with access to NOAA's coral reef data and information from a single location. CoRIS has, through two usability workshops conducted by staff from the Coastal Services Center, and a series of stakeholder meetings held in the Fall of 2003 in American Samoa and Hawai'i and the Fall of 2004 in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, sought to address the needs of users, both internal and external to NOAA. The goal was to select a set of test participants that represented the CoRIS project's targeted users (researchers, managers, general public) and provide an overview of the web site to demonstrate its resources and capabilities. The findings of the workshops and meetings are being used by the CoRIS development team to respond to user needs as part of an iterative process to improve utility and usability of the website and better understand how to present often complex scientific information to address a variety of user needs and local issues. Based on recommendations from the feedback of current and potential users of the CoRIS website from meetings held in the Fall of 2004, the development team has adopted a series of usability requirements to be implemented in the coming year. Participants of the meetings have suggested that CoRIS engage with user communities, including Local Action Strategy (LAS) efforts, to assess user

  15. Effects of submarine power transmission cables on a glass sponge reef and associated megafaunal community.

    PubMed

    Dunham, A; Pegg, J R; Carolsfeld, W; Davies, S; Murfitt, I; Boutillier, J

    2015-06-01

    We examined the effects of submarine power transmission cable installation and operation on glass sponge reef condition and associated megafauna. Video and still imagery were collected using a Remotely Operated Vehicle twice a year for 4 years following cable installation. The effects of cables on glass sponges were assessed by comparing sponge cover along fixed transects and at marked index sites. Megafauna counts along transects were used to explore the effects on associated community. We found no evidence of cable movement across the sponge reef surface. Live sponge cover was found to be consistently lower along cable transects and at cable index sites compared to controls. Live sponge cover was the lowest (55 ± 1.1% decrease) at cable index sites 1.5 years after installation and recovered to 85 ± 30.6% of the original size over the following 2 years. Our data suggest 100% glass sponge mortality along the direct cable footprint and 15% mortality in the surrounding 1.5 m corridor 3.5 years after cable installation. Growth rate of a new glass sponge was 1 and 3 cm/year in first and second year, respectively, and appeared to be seasonal. We observed a diverse megafaunal community with representatives from 7 phyla and 14 classes. Total megafauna, spot prawn, and other Arthropoda abundances were slightly lower along cable transects although the effect of cable presence was not statistically significant. The following measures could be taken to reduce the amount of damage to glass sponge reefs and associated fauna: routing the cable around reefs, whenever possible, minimizing cable movement across the surface of the reef at installation and routine operation, and assessing potential damage to glass sponges prior to decommissioning.

  16. Trends in Benthic macroinvertebrate community Biomass and Energy Budgets in Lake Sevan, 1928-2004

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stapanian, Martin A.; Jenderedjian, K.; Hakobyan, S.

    2012-01-01

    Water levels of Lake Sevan (Armenia) were artificially lowered by nearly 20 m between 1949 and 1997. Lowered water levels, combined with increased eutrophication, were associated with seasonally anoxic conditions (lasting 1–4 months) near the bottom of the profundal zone each year during 1976–2004. In addition, the extents of the macrophyte zone and of certain substrate types were severely reduced following drawdown. Maximal depth of occurrence decreased by 2–44 m for at least for 50 species of benthic macroinvertebrates between 1982 and 2004 compared to 1937–1961. Species richness of benthic macroinvertebrates declined from 25 to three species at depths where seasonal anoxia occurred. Total biomass increased by a factor of 10 from the period 1928–1948 to 1976–1979 then declined by a factor of 3 to 4 between 1987 and 2004. Energy flow through detritivores was more than tripled during 1976–2004 compared to 1928–1971, a result of increased plankton primary production. In contrast, energy flow through herbivorous benthic macroinvertebrates decreased by a factor of nearly 5, due to reduced areal coverage of macrophytes. Energy flow through filter feeders did not change over the time period examined, but energy flow through the entire zoobenthos community was nearly tripled. The biomasses of Oligochaeta, Chironomidae, and total zoobenthos showed a delayed response to changes in primary production of 7–9, 2, and 2–4 years, respectively. These patterns may provide a basis to predict results of restoration efforts based on the abundance of the zoobenthos in future years as the level of the lake is restored and water quality improves.

  17. Calibration and evaluation of five indicators of benthic community condition in two California bay and estuary habitats.

    PubMed

    Ranasinghe, J Ananda; Weisberg, Stephen B; Smith, Robert W; Montagne, David E; Thompson, Bruce; Oakden, James M; Huff, David D; Cadien, Donald B; Velarde, Ronald G; Ritter, Kerry J

    2009-01-01

    Many types of indices have been developed to assess benthic invertebrate community condition, but there have been few studies evaluating the relative performance of different index approaches. Here we calibrate and compare the performance of five indices: the Benthic Response Index (BRI), Benthic Quality Index (BQI), Relative Benthic Index (RBI), River Invertebrate Prediction and Classification System (RIVPACS), and the Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI). We also examine whether index performance improves when the different indices, which rely on measurement of different properties, are used in combination. The five indices were calibrated for two geographies using 238 samples from southern California marine bays and 125 samples from polyhaline San Francisco Bay. Index performance was evaluated by comparing index assessments of 35 sites to the best professional judgment of nine benthic experts. None of the individual indices performed as well as the average expert in ranking sample condition or evaluating whether benthic assemblages exhibited evidence of disturbance. However, several index combinations outperformed the average expert. When results from both habitats were combined, two four-index combinations and a three-index combination performed best. However, performance differences among several combinations were small enough that factors such as logistics can also become a consideration in index selection.

  18. Inherent Optical Properties in the Benthic Environment

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1999-09-30

    small scales within coral reefs , seagrass beds and other benthic environments. In addition, this year we used a sampling package deployed from a small...Horseshoe reefs (Fig. 2). These data are often consistent with the hypothesis that coral reefs are sinks of particulate material (grazing) and...Figure 1. Total attenuation at 440nm at different vertical distances from a reef (Horseshoe coral reef ). Notice the decrease in variability with

  19. Inferring community properties of benthic macroinvertebrates in streams using Shannon index and exergy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nguyen, Tuyen Van; Cho, Woon-Seok; Kim, Hungsoo; Jung, Il Hyo; Kim, YongKuk; Chon, Tae-Soo

    2014-03-01

    Definition of ecological integrity based on community analysis has long been a critical issue in risk assessment for sustainable ecosystem management. In this work, two indices (i.e., Shannon index and exergy) were selected for the analysis of community properties of benthic macroinvertebrate community in streams in Korea. For this purpose, the means and variances of both indices were analyzed. The results found an extra scope of structural and functional properties in communities in response to environmental variabilities and anthropogenic disturbances. The combination of these two parameters (four indices) was feasible in identification of disturbance agents (e.g., industrial pollution or organic pollution) and specifying states of communities. The four-aforementioned parameters (means and variances of Shannon index and exergy) were further used as input data in a self-organizing map for the characterization of water quality. Our results suggested that Shannon index and exergy in combination could be utilized as a suitable reference system and would be an efficient tool for assessment of the health of aquatic ecosystems exposed to environmental disturbances.

  20. The Gut Microbial Community of Midas Cichlid Fish in Repeatedly Evolved Limnetic-Benthic Species Pairs

    PubMed Central

    Frickey, Tancred; Jones, Julia C.; Meyer, Axel

    2014-01-01

    Gut bacterial communities are now known to influence a range of fitness related aspects of organisms. But how different the microbial community is in closely related species, and if these differences can be interpreted as adaptive is still unclear. In this study we compared microbial communities in two sets of closely related sympatric crater lake cichlid fish species pairs that show similar adaptations along the limnetic-benthic axis. The gut microbial community composition differs in the species pair inhabiting the older of two crater lakes. One major difference, relative to other fish, is that in these cichlids that live in hypersaline crater lakes, the microbial community is largely made up of Oceanospirillales (52.28%) which are halotolerant or halophilic bacteria. This analysis opens up further avenues to identify candidate symbiotic or co-evolved bacteria playing a role in adaptation to similar diets and life-styles or even have a role in speciation. Future functional and phylosymbiotic analyses might help to address these issues. PMID:24733403

  1. Benthic faunal patchiness on soft substrates in modern and paleozoic communities

    SciTech Connect

    Feldman, H.R.

    1985-01-01

    The assumption that fossils are homogeneously distributed, at least on a small scale is common to many paleoecological studies. However, the fauna of most modern benthic marine communities from intertidal to abyssal depths is patchily distributed. Inherently heterogeneous substrates, such as rocky substrates, have patchy communities because of the diversity of microenvironments, but faunal patchiness in homogeneous environments, such as low energy, muddy bottoms, is due to biotic interactions. A wide variety of shelled invertebrates are known to be gregarious. The shelly fauna of Paleozoic BSB communities is dominantly epifaunal, as opposed to the dominantly infaunal modern BSB communities. Patchiness in Paleozoic BSB communities was commonly initiated by the fortuitous occurrence of shells on the muddy bottoms, and sustained by positive taphonomic feedback (taphonomic facilitation). Paleozoic examples of gregarious species are also known. Commonly used sampling schemes require the assumption that the fauna is homogeneously distributed at scales smaller than the distance between samples. The best method to sample patchy faunas is with nested or hierarchical sampling schemes in which samples are taken at a variety of spacings. The failure to account for patchiness can lead to incorrect paleoecological interpretations primarily due to the effect of time averaging of ephemeral patches. It is probably a good assumption that most BSB paleocommunities were originally patchy, and homogeneous faunas are the result of taphonomic mixing.

  2. Application of Landscape Mosaic Technology to Complement Coral Reef Resource Mapping and Monitoring

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-10-01

    Portable Network Graphic RAE – Relative Absolute Error PVC - Polyvinyl chloride RAM- Random-access memory RGB – Red, Green, & Blue ROV – Remotely...monitoring protocol for the benthic community was formulated with regards to location and frequency of surveys Robust, reliable and legally defensible...reef restoration: the rehabilitation of an ecosystem under siege. In: W.F. Precht, Editor, Coral Reef Restoration Handbook , Taylor & Francis, Boca

  3. Sea ice microbial production supports Ross Sea benthic communities: influence of a small but stable subsidy.

    PubMed

    Wing, S R; McLeod, R J; Leichter, J J; Frew, R D; Lamare, M D

    2012-02-01

    Diversity in guilds of primary producers enhances temporal stability in provision of organic matter to consumers. In the Antarctic ecosystem, where temporal variability in phytoplankton production is high, sea ice contains a diatom and microbial community (SIMCO) that represents a pool of organic matter that is seasonally more consistent, although of relatively small magnitude. The fate of organic material produced by SIMCO in Antarctica is largely unknown but may represent an important link between sea ice dynamics and secondary production in nearshore food webs. We used whole tissue and compound-specific stable isotope analysis of consumers to test whether the sea ice microbial community is an important source of organic matter supporting nearshore communities in the Ross Sea. We found distinct gradients in delta13C and delta15N of SIMCO corresponding to differences in inorganic carbon and nitrogen acquisition among sites with different sea ice extent and persistence. Mass balance analysis of a suite of consumers demonstrated large fluxes of SIMCO into the nearshore food web, ranging from 5% to 100% of organic matter supplied to benthic species, and 0-10% of organic matter to upper water column or pelagic inhabitants. A delta13C analysis of nine fatty acids including two key biomarkers for diatoms, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5omega3), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6omega3), confirmed these patterns. We observed clear patterns in delta13C of fatty acids that are enriched in 13C for species that acquire a large fraction of their nutrition from SIMCO. These data demonstrate the key role of SIMCO in ecosystem functioning in Antarctica and strong linkages between sea ice extent and nearshore secondary productivity. While SIMCO provides a stabilizing subsidy of organic matter, changes to sea ice coverage associated with climate change would directly affect secondary production and stability of benthic food webs in Antarctica.

  4. Phanerozoic changes in hardpart availability and utilization in benthic communities: evolutionary ecology or evolutionary stratigraphy

    SciTech Connect

    Kidwell, S.M.

    1985-01-01

    Published experiments on modern communities and quantitative data from Miocene assemblages indicate that the accumulation of dead hardparts can drive specific changes in the composition of benthic communities (taphonomic feedback). Both opportunities and pathways of taphonomic feedback have changed over the Phanerozoic, however, owing to the evolution and environmental expansion of hardpart producers, utilizers, and destroyers. These changes were tracked using semi-quantitative estimates of hardpart availability based on familial diversity of the most abundant taxa, scored according to preservation potential at or near the seafloor. The data suggest a dramatic increase in hardpart availability from the Cambrian into the later Paleozoic, with a decline through the Mesozoic and Cenozoic related to the loss or dramatic reduction in calcitic epifauna, recliners on soft substrata, and large shelled nekton/plankton. The reduction in opportunities for taphonomic feedback among epifauna was accompanied by an increase in levels of infaunal interactions in the Cenozoic, which is characterized by fully three-dimensional shell gravels. In addition to evolutionary change in body sizes of hardpart producers and biotically-driven declines in certain benthic life habits, the change in pathways of taphonomic feedback was also a consequence of the large-scale shift from predominantly carbonate sedimentation in the Paleozoic to predominantly terrigenous sedimentation in the Cenozoic. For example, the waning of epifauna-dominated communities is closely associated with the restriction of level-bottom carbonate environments through the late Mesozoic and Cenozoic. The global evolution of sedimentary environments and their relative representation is important not only in its consequences for sampling but as a driving mechanism of evolutionary ecology of marine benthos.

  5. Relative and combined effects of habitat and fishing on reef fish communities across a limited fishing gradient at Ningaloo.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Shaun K; Babcock, Russ C; Fisher, Rebecca; Holmes, Thomas H; Moore, James A Y; Thomson, Damian P

    2012-10-01

    Habitat degradation and fishing are major drivers of temporal and spatial changes in fish communities. The independent effects of these drivers are well documented, but the relative importance and interaction between fishing and habitat shifts is poorly understood, particularly in complex systems such as coral reefs. To assess the combined and relative effects of fishing and habitat we examined the composition of fish communities on patch reefs across a gradient of high to low structural complexity in fished and unfished areas of the Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia. Biomass and species richness of fish were positively correlated with structural complexity of reefs and negatively related to macroalgal cover. Total abundance of fish was also positively related to structural complexity, however this relationship was stronger on fished reefs than those where fishing is prohibited. The interaction between habitat condition and fishing pressure is primarily due to the high abundance of small bodied planktivorous fish on fished reefs. However, the influence of management zones on the abundance and biomass of predators and target species is small, implying spatial differences in fishing pressure are low and unlikely to be driving this interaction. Our results emphasise the importance of habitat in structuring reef fish communities on coral reefs especially when gradients in fishing pressure are low. The influence of fishing effort on this relationship may however become more important as fishing pressure increases.

  6. Autonomous Marine Robotic Technology Reveals an Expansive Benthic Bacterial Community Relevant to Regional Nitrogen Biogeochemistry.

    PubMed

    Valentine, David L; Fisher, G Burch; Pizarro, Oscar; Kaiser, Carl L; Yoerger, Dana; Breier, John A; Tarn, Jonathan

    2016-10-06

    Benthic accumulations of filamentous, mat-forming bacteria occur throughout the oceans where bisulfide mingles with oxygen or nitrate, providing key but poorly quantified linkages between elemental cycles of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur. Here we used the autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry to conduct a contiguous, 12.5 km photoimaging survey of sea-floor colonies of filamentous bacteria between 80 and 579 m water depth, spanning the continental shelf to the deep suboxic waters of the Santa Barbara Basin (SBB). The survey provided >31 000 images and revealed contiguous, white-colored bacterial colonization coating > ∼80% of the ocean floor and spanning over 1.6 km, between 487 and 523 m water depth. Based on their localization within the stratified waters of the SBB we hypothesize a dynamic and annular biogeochemical zonation by which the bacteria capitalize on periodic flushing events to accumulate and utilize nitrate. Oceanographic time series data bracket the imaging survey and indicate rapid and contemporaneous nitrate loss, while autonomous capture of microbial communities from the benthic boundary layer concurrent with imaging provides possible identities for the responsible bacteria. Based on these observations we explore the ecological context of such mats and their possible importance in the nitrogen cycle of the SBB.

  7. Effects of microplastics on European flat oysters, Ostrea edulis and their associated benthic communities.

    PubMed

    Green, Dannielle Senga

    2016-09-01

    Plastic pollution is recognised as an emerging threat to aquatic ecosystems, with microplastics now the most abundant type of marine debris. Health effects caused by microplastics have been demonstrated at the species level, but impacts on ecological communities remain unknown. In this study, impacts of microplastics on the health and biological functioning of European flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) and on the structure of associated macrofaunal assemblages were assessed in an outdoor mesocosm experiment using intact sediment cores. Biodegradable and conventional microplastics were added at low (0.8 μg L(-1)) and high (80 μg L(-1)) doses in the water column repeatedly for 60 days. Effects on the oysters were minimal, but benthic assemblage structures differed and species richness and the total number of organisms were ∼1.2 and 1.5 times greater in control mesocosms than in those exposed to high doses of microplastics. Notably, abundances of juvenile Littorina sp. (periwinkles) and Idotea balthica (an isopod) were ∼2 and 8 times greater in controls than in mesocosms with the high dose of either type of microplastic. In addition, the biomass of Scrobicularia plana (peppery furrow shell clam) was ∼1.5 times greater in controls than in mesocosms with the high dose of microplastics. This work indicates that repeated exposure to high concentrations of microplastics could alter assemblages in an important marine habitat by reducing the abundance of benthic fauna.

  8. Linkages Between Hydraulics, Morphology, and Benthic Communities in High-Gradient Streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilcox, A. C.; Peckarsky, B. L.

    2003-12-01

    In order to explore the effects of physical processes on benthic communities in mountain stream channels, field surveys of stream hydraulics and channel morphology were completed in fifteen stream reaches in the upper East River basin, Colorado. Biological data on macroinvertebrate abundance, life history, mortality, and drift rates have been collected in these streams as part of a multi-year study of mayfly population dynamics, grazer-algal interactions, and predator-prey interactions. The present study entailed collection of data on channel geometry and gradient, grain sizes, and flow characteristics to provide a basis for examining the role of shear stress, stream power, and other physical variables on ecological processes. The study streams had bed gradients ranging from 0.018 to 0.11 m/m and were mostly characterized by step-pool or step-riffle morphology. Seven reaches with fish and eight fishless reaches were surveyed; presence or absence of fish has been found to strongly affect benthic macroinvertebrate dynamics in the study streams. Streams lacking fish tended to have smaller drainage areas, steeper gradients, greater flow resistance (higher Darcy-Weisbach friction factors), and lower discharges than streams with fish, although boundary shear stresses did not significantly differ in fish versus fishless streams. Darcy-Weisbach friction factor showed a strong negative correlation with discharge in the study streams, reflecting a shift in the balance between driving and resisting forces as stream size decreases.

  9. Community shelter use in response to two benthic decapod predators in the Long Island Sound

    PubMed Central

    Reagan, Dugan; Crivello, Joseph F.

    2016-01-01

    To investigate community shelter effects of two invasive decapod species, Hemigrapsus sanguineus and Carcinus maenas, in the Long Island Sound (LIS), we deployed artificial shelters in the intertidal and immediate subtidal zones. These consisted of five groups during the summer: a control, a resident H. sanguineus male or female group, and a resident C. maenas male or female group. We quantified utilization of the shelters at 24 h by counting crabs and fish present. We found significant avoidance of H. sanguineus in the field by benthic hermit crabs (Pagurus spp.) and significant avoidance of C. maenas by the seaboard goby (Gobiosoma ginsburgi). The grubby (Myoxocephalus aenaeus) avoided neither treatment, probably since it tends to be a predator of invertebrates. H. sanguineus avoided C. maenas treatments, whereas C. maenas did not avoid any treatment. Seasonal deployments in the subtidal indicated cohabitation of a number of benthic species in the LIS, with peak shelter use corresponding with increased predation and likely reproductive activity in spring and summer for green crabs (C. maenas), hermit crabs (Pagurus spp.), seaboard gobies (G. ginsburgi), and grubbies (Myoxocephalus aenaeus). PMID:27547570

  10. Community shelter use in response to two benthic decapod predators in the Long Island Sound.

    PubMed

    Hudson, David M; Reagan, Dugan; Crivello, Joseph F

    2016-01-01

    To investigate community shelter effects of two invasive decapod species, Hemigrapsus sanguineus and Carcinus maenas, in the Long Island Sound (LIS), we deployed artificial shelters in the intertidal and immediate subtidal zones. These consisted of five groups during the summer: a control, a resident H. sanguineus male or female group, and a resident C. maenas male or female group. We quantified utilization of the shelters at 24 h by counting crabs and fish present. We found significant avoidance of H. sanguineus in the field by benthic hermit crabs (Pagurus spp.) and significant avoidance of C. maenas by the seaboard goby (Gobiosoma ginsburgi). The grubby (Myoxocephalus aenaeus) avoided neither treatment, probably since it tends to be a predator of invertebrates. H. sanguineus avoided C. maenas treatments, whereas C. maenas did not avoid any treatment. Seasonal deployments in the subtidal indicated cohabitation of a number of benthic species in the LIS, with peak shelter use corresponding with increased predation and likely reproductive activity in spring and summer for green crabs (C. maenas), hermit crabs (Pagurus spp.), seaboard gobies (G. ginsburgi), and grubbies (Myoxocephalus aenaeus).

  11. Caulerpa cylindracea Sonder invasion modifies trophic niche in infralittoral rocky benthic community.

    PubMed

    Alomar, Carme; Deudero, Salud; Andaloro, Franco; Castriota, Luca; Consoli, Pierpaolo; Falautano, Manuela; Sinopoli, Mauro

    2016-09-01

    The Mediterranean basin is one of the most invaded seas of the world. Invasive species have affected coastal benthic communities inducing structural changes. Since first reports, in the early 90s, Caulerpa cylindracea is considered one of the most important invasive event in the Mediterranean Sea where it has invaded large areas of soft bottoms, seagrass meadows and rocky shores. To assess effects of C. cylindracea in rocky ecosystems, benthic food webs have been compared between invaded and non-invaded coastal conditions through stable isotopes analyses. In addition, the convex hull area of the two types of conditions has been calculated as a proxy for the total extent of trophic diversity within each food web. Results have shown that the trophic niche width is at least 1.4 times wider in invaded conditions than in non-invaded conditions. In addition, this study gives further evidence of similar feeding analogies between the invasive herbivore fish, Siganus luridus and native herbivore fish Sparisoma cretense as both are feeding at the same isotopic level. This investigation provides with new scientific data to assess bionvasions in invaded and non-invaded conditions at assemblage level in coastal systems.

  12. Optical properties of benthic photosynthetic communities: fiber-optic studies of cyanobacterial mats

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jorgensen, B. B.; Des Marais, D. J.

    1988-01-01

    A fiber-optic microphobe was used to analyze the spectral light gradients in benthic cyanobacterial mats with 50-micrometer depth resolution and 10-nm spectral resolution. Microcoleus chthononplastes mats were collected from hypersaline, coastal ponds at Guerrero Negro, Baja California. Gradients of spectral radiance, L, were measured at different angles through the mats and the spherically integrated scalar irradiance, Eo, was calculated. Maximal spectral light attenuation was found at the absorption peaks for the dominant photosynthetic pigments: chlorophyll a at 430 and 670 nm, carotenoids at 450-500 nm, phycocyanin at 620 nm, and bacteriochlorophyll a at 800-900 nm. Scattered light had a marked spectral effect on the scalar irradiance which near the mat surface reached up to 190% of the incident irradiance. The spherically integrated irradiance thus differed strongly from the incident irradiance both in total intensity and in spectral composition. These basic optical properties are important for the understanding of photosynthesis and light harvesting in benthic and epiphytic communities.

  13. Community response patterns: evaluating benthic invertebrate composition in metal-polluted streams.

    PubMed

    Pollard, A I; Yuan, L

    2006-04-01

    Human activities are modifying the condition and character of ecosystems at a rapid rate. Because of these rapid changes, questions concerning how ecosystems and their assemblages respond to anthropogenic stressors have been of general interest. Accurate prediction of assemblage composition in ecosystems with anthropogenic degradation requires that we assess both how assemblages respond to stressors and the generality of the responses. We ask whether assemblage composition among stream sites becomes more similar after exposure to a common stressor. Using data from biological monitoring programs in the southern Rocky Mountain ecoregion of Colorado and in West Virginia, we compare benthic invertebrate similarity and assemblage composition among sites having different levels (background, low, medium, and high) of heavy-metal pollution. Invertebrate assemblages were most similar within the background metal category, and similarity was progressively lower in low, medium, and high metal categories. An analysis of the frequency of occurrence of genera within metal categories reveals taxonomic shifts that conform to expectations based on metal tolerance of benthic invertebrates. However, different metal-tolerant genera were found at different metal-impacted sites, suggesting that local abiotic and biotic processes may influence the identity of the metal-tolerant genera that become established in polluted sites. Low community similarity in the medium and high-metal categories suggests that accurate prediction of assemblage composition at impacted sites may be challenging.

  14. Decadal changes in turbid-water coral communities at Pandora Reef: loss of resilience or too soon to tell?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Done, Terry; Turak, Emre; Wakeford, Mary; Devantier, Lyndon; McDonald, Abbi; Fisk, David

    2007-12-01

    Coral communities were monitored at Pandora Reef, nearshore Great Barrier Reef from 1981 to 2005 using photography and videography. In the 1980s, regional elevation of land-based nutrients in coastal waters (ca. 2-6 times pre-European levels of early 1800s) did not prevent overall recovery of coral cover and diversity following a sequence of environmental disturbances in the 1970s. However, prospects for a repeat of such resilience following catastrophic mortality from high-temperature bleaching in 1998 and a cyclone in 2000 are not clear. Different coral communities around the reef varied greatly in relation to impacts and recovery. Fore-reef communities dominated by acroporids (fast growing branching and tabular Acropora and foliose Montipora) recovered strongly in the 1980s following apparently severe impacts by cyclone, flood and heat wave disturbances in the 1970s, attaining 60-90% cover by stabilizing rubble and outgrowing macro-algae in <10 years. In the back-reef, by contrast, poritid-dominated communities (massive and finger Porites and columnar Goniopora and Alveopora) had more stable trajectories and smaller impact from recent disturbances: recovery was well underway in 2005. The contrasting trajectories of different parts of the reef reflect differential survival of more persistent versus more ephemeral taxa, notably poritids and acroporids, respectively, both major contributors to framework and cover on reefs globally. A repeat of earlier resilience appears possible in the shallow fore-reef, but unlikely in the deeper fore-reef, which had few viable fragments or recruits in 2005. The main limits on recovery may be (1) reduced supply of coral larvae due to widespread regional losses of coral brood stock and (2) the reduced intervals between disturbances associated with global climate change. The presence of a high abundance of Acroporidae is a major pre-disposing risk factor for climate change impacts.

  15. Spatial variation in the functional characteristics of herbivorous fish communities and the resilience of coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Cheal, Alistair J; Emslie, Michael; Aaron, MacNeil M; Miller, Ian; Sweatman, Hugh

    2013-01-01

    Many ecosystems face degradation unless factors that underpin their resilience can be effectively managed. In tropical reef ecosystems, grazing by herbivorous fishes can prevent coral-macroalgal phase shifts that commonly signal loss of resilience. However, knowledge of grazing characteristics that most promote resilience is typically experimental, localized, and sparse, which limits broad management applications. Applying sound ecological theory to broad-scale data may provide an alternative basis for ecosystem management. We explore the idea that resilience is positively related to the diversity within and among functional groups of organisms. Specifically, we infer the relative vulnerability of different subregions of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) to phase shifts based on functional characteristics of the local herbivorous fish communities. Reef slopes on 92 reefs set in three zones of the continental shelf in eight latitudinal sectors of the GBR were surveyed on multiple occasions between 1995 and 2009. Spatial variation in fish community structure was high and driven primarily by shelf position. Measures of functional diversity, functional redundancy, and abundance were generally higher offshore and lower inshore. Two turbid inshore subregions were considered most vulnerable based on very low measures of herbivore function, and this was supported by the occurrence of phase shifts within one of three subregions. Eleven reefs that resisted phase shifts after major coral mortality included some with very low measures of herbivore function. The fact that phase shifts did not necessarily occur when large herbivores were scarce indicates that other environmental factors compensated to preserve resilience. Estimates of vulnerability based solely on herbivore function may thus prove conservative, but caution is appropriate, since compensatory factors are largely unknown and could be eroded unwittingly by anthropogenic stresses. Our data suggest that managing the threat

  16. Relationships between Algae, Benthic Herbivorous Invertebrates and Fishes in Rocky Sublittoral Communities of a Temperate Sea (Mediterranean)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruitton, S.; Francour, P.; Boudouresque, C. F.

    2000-02-01

    In situ surveys were used to examine the contribution of benthic herbivorous invertebrates and fishes to the organization of Mediterranean rocky sublittoral communities. Shallow (1-3 m) and deep (6-8 m) sampling sites, in natural areas and on man-made structures, were characterized by a structural complexity index (cavity index and mean size of cavity aperture), algal cover (encrusting, turfy, shrubby and arborescent algae) and the density of benthic herbivorous invertebrates and fish. A relationship between structural complexity and biota was only evident for some fish species ( Diplodus spp. and Sarpa salpa) at deep sites, where they not only feed but also shelter. Three benthic herbivorous invertebrates, the sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula, and the limpet Patella caerulea , are associated with communities dominated by encrusting algae. Variations in their abundance and role in structuring algal communities follow a depth gradient: P. caerulea and A. lixula are mainly present at shallow sites and P. lividus at deep sites. These benthic herbivorous invertebrates may account for the structure of shallow algal communities. In contrast, at deep sites, fishes (the omnivorous Diplodus spp. and the herbivorous S. salpa) have a potential importance in controlling sublittoral algae, in addition to invertebrates. It is suggested that the ecological impact of herbivorous and omnivorous fishes in temperate seas could be greater than is generally thought. Experiments should be designed to validate this postulate.

  17. Distinct Benthic Community Trends Driven by Particle Transport and Deposition in Mid-Atlantic Bight Canyons, NW Atlantic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demopoulos, A. W.; Robertson, C. M.; Bourque, J. R.; Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.; Ross, S.; Brooke, S.; Davies, A. J.

    2014-12-01

    The Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) is a well-studied region of the U.S. East coast continental margin, rich in submarine canyons. Baltimore and Norfolk canyons were studied during the multidisciplinary Atlantic Deepwater Canyons project through funding from BOEM, NOAA, and USGS. Sediment and water column properties were assessed in the context of canyon physical dynamics and ecosystem ecology. Sediment samples were collected by NIOZ box corer in 2012 and 2013 along canyon axes and comparative adjacent slopes at standardized depths. Sediments were analyzed for grain size, organic content, stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes, chlorophyll a, and benthic infauna. Water column properties were sampled using CTD transects, and benthic landers and moorings positioned along canyon axes. Significant differences in sediment transport regimes were found for each canyon where observed nepheloid layers corresponded to shifts in infaunal community structure. Significant community shifts were observed in stations at depths > 900m in Baltimore Canyon, coinciding with higher organic matter concentrations at depths below the nepheloid layer. In contrast, adjacent slope communities exhibited a more uniform infaunal assemblage where distinct zonation patterns by depth were observed. Preliminary data for Norfolk Canyon suggest very different sediment deposition rates in the canyon and also show clear differences between canyon and slope benthic communities. Geological processes and canyon topography coupled with organic inputs and disturbance events are clear factors in determining benthic infaunal diversity and standing stock dynamics in and around these canyons.

  18. The Expansion of Dreissena and Long-term Shifts in Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Structure in Lake Ontario, 1998-2008

    EPA Science Inventory

    The introduction of Dreissena to the Great lakes has profoundly impacted benthic ecosystems, resulting in the decline of native species and dramatic community restructuring. In Lake Ontario, long-term monitoring has yielded a wealth of detailed information regarding both the exp...

  19. Cross shelf benthic biodiversity patterns in the Southern Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Ellis, Joanne; Anlauf, Holger; Kürten, Saskia; Lozano-Cortés, Diego; Alsaffar, Zahra; Cúrdia, Joao; Jones, Burton; Carvalho, Susana

    2017-03-27

    The diversity of coral reef and soft sediment ecosystems in the Red Sea has to date received limited scientific attention. This study investigates changes in the community composition of both reef and macrobenthic communities along a cross shelf gradient. Coral reef assemblages differed significantly in species composition and structure with location and depth. Inner shelf reefs harbored less abundant and less diverse coral assemblages with higher percentage macroalgae cover. Nutrient availability and distance from the shoreline were significantly related to changes in coral composition and structure. This study also observed a clear inshore offshore pattern for soft sediment communities. In contrast to the coral reef patterns the highest diversity and abundance of soft sediment communities were recorded at the inshore sites, which were characterized by a higher number of opportunistic polychaete species and bivalves indicative of mild disturbance. Sediment grain size and nutrient enrichment were important variables explaining the variability. This study aims to contribute to our understanding of ecosystem processes and biodiversity in the Red Sea region in an area that also has the potential to provide insight into pressing topics, such as the capacity of reef systems and benthic macrofaunal organisms to adapt to global climate change.

  20. APPLICATION OF TWO INDICES OF BENTHIC COMMUNITY CONDITION IN CHESAPEAKE BAY

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Chesapeake Bay Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity (B-161) and the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program's Virginian Province Benthic Index (EMAP-VP BI) were applied to 294 sampling events in Chesapeake Bay and the results were compared. These benthic indices are inte...

  1. Spatial and Diel Variability in Photosynthetic and Photoprotective Pigments in Shallow Benthic Communities

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-06-14

    photosynthetic and photoprotective pigments in benthic plants (primarily benthic microalgae ) affect the optical properties (primarily spectral...fluorescence that results from photoadaptation and vertical migration of microalgae in the sediments. Diel variation in fluorescence of phytoplankton in...sediment surface reflectance and fluorescence have also been processed. RESULTS At Lee Stocking (May 1999), biomass of the benthic microalgae , as

  2. Habitat biodiversity as a determinant of fish community structure on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Messmer, Vanessa; Jones, Geoffrey P; Munday, Philip L; Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Brooks, Andrew J

    2011-12-01

    Increased habitat diversity is often predicted to promote the diversity of animal communities because a greater variety of habitats increases the opportunities for species to specialize on different resources and coexist. Although positive correlations between the diversities of habitat and associated animals are often observed, the underlying mechanisms are only now starting to emerge, and none have been tested specifically in the marine environment. Scleractinian corals constitute the primary habitat-forming organisms on coral reefs and, as such, play an important role in structuring associated reef fish communities. Using the same field experimental design in two geographic localities differing in regional fish species composition, we tested the effects of coral species richness and composition on the diversity, abundance, and structure of the local fish community. Richness of coral species overall had a positive effect on fish species richness but had no effect on total fish abundance or evenness. At both localities, certain individual coral species supported similar levels of fish diversity and abundance as the high coral richness treatments, suggesting that particular coral species are disproportionately important in promoting high local fish diversity. Furthermore, in both localities, different microhabitats (coral species) supported very different fish communities, indicating that most reef fish species distinguish habitat at the level of coral species. Fish communities colonizing treatments of higher coral species richness represented a combination of those inhabiting the constituent coral species. These findings suggest that mechanisms underlying habitat-animal interaction in the terrestrial environment also apply to marine systems and highlight the importance of coral diversity to local fish diversity. The loss of particular key coral species is likely to have a disproportionate impact on the biodiversity of associated fish communities.

  3. Structure and function of a benthic invertebrate stream community as influenced by beaver (Castor canadensis).

    PubMed

    McDowell, Donald M; Naiman, Robert J

    1986-03-01

    Beaver (Castor canadensis) affect the benthic invertebrate community of small woodland streams in Quebec through habitat modifications. Their activities influence community structure through the replacement of lotic taxa by lentic forms and community function by increasing the absolute importance of collectors and predators while decreasing the relative importance of shredders and scrapers in impounded sites. At our study site during the 1983 ice-free season, standing stocks of coarse particulate organic matter (>1 mm) were 2-5 times greater (P<0.05) in impounded sites than riffle sites in spring and summer. Fine (212 μm-1 mm) and very fine (0.5 μm-212 μm) particulate organic matter were 3-10 times greater (P<0.05) in impounded sites in all seasons. Chlorophyll a standing stocks did not differ statistically among sites. Total density and biomass of invertebrates in impoundments were 2-5 times greater (P<0.05) than riffle sites in spring and summer, but statistically similar in autumn. Generic diversity (H') was greater (P<0.05) in unaltered sites in autumn. Non-impounded sites were dominated by Simuliidae, Tanytarsini chironomids, scraping mayflies and net spinning caddisflies while impounded sites were characterized by Tanypodinae and Chironomini chironomids, predacious odonates, Tubificidae, and filtering pelycopods. Our results suggest that current paradigms applied to lotic ecosystems need to be reevaluated to incorporate the influence of beaver upon invertebrate communities.

  4. The relationship between regional and local species diversity in marine benthic communities: A global perspective

    PubMed Central

    Witman, Jon D.; Etter, Ron J.; Smith, Franz

    2004-01-01

    The number of species coexisting in ecological communities must be a consequence of processes operating on both local and regional scales. Although a great deal of experimental work has been devoted to local causes of diversity, little is known about the effects of regional processes on local diversity and how they contribute to global diversity patterns in marine systems. We tested the effects of latitude and the richness of the regional species pool on the species richness of local epifaunal invertebrate communities by sampling the diversity of local sites in 12 independent biogeographic regions from 62°S to 63°N latitude. Both regional and local species richness displayed significant unimodal patterns with latitude, peaking at low latitudes and decreasing toward high latitudes. The latitudinal diversity gradient was represented at the scale of local sites because local species richness was positively and linearly related to regional species richness. The richness of the regional species pool explained 73-76% of local species richness. On a global scale, the extent of regional influence on local species richness was nonrandom—the proportion of regional biota represented in local epifaunal communities increased significantly from low to high latitudes. The strong effect of the regional species pool implies that patterns of local diversity in temperate, tropical, and high-latitude marine benthic communities are influenced by processes operating on larger spatiotemporal scales than previously thought. PMID:15501917

  5. Higher species richness of octocorals in the upper mesophotic zone in Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba) compared to shallower reef zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shoham, Erez; Benayahu, Yehuda

    2017-03-01

    Mesophotic coral-reef ecosystems (MCEs), which comprise the light-dependent communities of corals and other organisms found at depths between 30 and 150 m, have received very little study to date. However, current technological advances, such as remotely operated vehicles and closed-circuit rebreather diving, now enable their thorough investigation. Following the reef-building stony corals, octocorals are the second most common benthic component on many shallow reefs and a major component on deep reefs, the Red Sea included. This study is the first to examine octocoral community features on upper MCEs based on species-level identification and to compare them with the shallower reef zones. The study was carried out at Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea), comparing octocoral communities at two mesophotic reefs (30-45 m) and two shallow reef zones (reef flat and upper fore-reef) by belt transects. A total of 30 octocoral species were identified, with higher species richness on the upper MCEs compared to the shallower reefs. Although the MCEs were found to host a higher number of species than the shallower reefs, both featured a similar diversity. Each reef zone revealed a unique octocoral species composition and distinct community structure, with only 16% of the species shared by both the MCEs and the shallower reefs. This study has revealed an almost exclusive dominance of zooxanthellate species at the studied upper MCE reefs, thus indicating an adequate light regime for photosynthesis there. The findings should encourage similar studies on other reefs, aimed at understanding the spatiotemporal features and ecological role of octocorals in reef ecosystems down to the deepest limit of the MCEs.

  6. Interactions Between Hydropeaking and Thermopeaking Waves and Their Effect on the Benthic Community in Flume Simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bruno, M.; Carolli, M.; Maiolini, B.; Siviglia, A.; Zolezzi, G.

    2013-12-01

    M. C. Bruno1*, M. Carolli2, B. Maiolini1, A. Siviglia2, Zolezzi, G.2 1 Fondazione Edmund Mach, Research and Innovation Centre. S. Michele all'Adige, I-38010, Italy 2 Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, I-38100, Trento, Italy * cristina.bruno@fmach.it In Alpine regions, hydroelectricity generation is a key power source and its ability to quickly respond to short-term changes in energy demand makes it an ideal source to meet the needs of the deregulated energy market. This economic need is reflected in the temporal patterns of dam operations with consequences for the water bodies that receive downstream releases in the form of ';hydropeaking', typically consisting of sharp water releases in river reaches below dams. The unsteadiness related to this highly intermittent phenomenon has cascading effects on both biotic and abiotic river resources. Regulation by dams may also significantly affect the thermal regime of riversespecially in mountain areas, where releases from high-elevation reservoirs are often characterized by a markedly different temperature from that of the receiving body, thus causing also sharp water temperature variations, named ';thermopeaking'. While interacting with external forcing, the hydrodynamic and thermal waves propagate downstream with different celerities and a first phase of mutual overlap is followed by a second phase in which the two waves proceed separately. The asynchronous propagation of the two waves produces two distinct but consecutive impacts on the benthic community. Because it is difficult to disentangle the multiple effects of hydropeaking and thermopeaking on benthic macroinvertebrates in experiments conducted in natural conditions, we conducted our studies in an experimental structure of five steel channels directly fed by an alpine stream, the Fersina, a tributary to the Adige River of northern Italy. We simulated two sets of cold and warm thermopeaking waves, and measured the

  7. Biodiversity, population regulation, and the stability of coral-reef fish communities

    PubMed Central

    Carr, Mark H.; Anderson, Todd W.; Hixon, Mark A.

    2002-01-01

    Unprecedented population declines and extinctions because of human activities, combined with a growing recognition that such losses affect the stability of ecosystems, underscore the need to better understand how populations persist naturally. We provide field experimental evidence that high biodiversity—in particular, the combined effects of predators and competitors—acts in a way that regulates the size of local fish populations within their coral-reef community. These results indicate that complex interactions among multiple species are necessary for the stability of a highly diverse community, and so forewarn that overexploiting such species may have cascading negative consequences for the entire system. PMID:12177430

  8. Sublethal effects of the antibiotic tylosin on estuarine benthic microalgal communities.

    PubMed

    Pinckney, James L; Hagenbuch, Isaac M; Long, Richard A; Lovell, Charles R

    2013-03-15

    Pharmaceuticals are common chemical contaminants in estuaries receiving effluent from wastewater and sewage treatment facilities. The purpose of this research was to examine benthic microalgal (BMA) community responses to sublethal exposures to tylosin, a common and environmentally persistent antibiotic. Bioassays, using concentrations of 0.011-218 μmol tylosin l(-1), were performed on intertidal muddy sediments from North Inlet Estuary, SC. Exposure to tylosin resulted in a reduction in total BMA biomass and primary productivity. Furthermore, exposure seemed to retard diatom growth while having a minimal effect on cyanobacteria biomass. Estuarine systems receiving chronic inputs of trace concentrations of tylosin, as well as other antibiotics, may experience significant reductions in BMA biomass and primary productivity. Given the well-documented role of BMA in the trophodynamics of estuaries, these impacts will likely be manifested in higher trophic levels with possible impairments of the structure and function of these sensitive systems.

  9. The role of benthic macrophytes and their associated macroinvertebrate community in coastal lagoon resistance to eutrophication.

    PubMed

    Lloret, Javier; Marín, Arnaldo

    2009-12-01

    Eutrophication is widely recognised as one of the major menaces to coastal environments, particularly enclosed bays and lagoons. Although there is a general understanding of the consequences of eutrophication in these systems, there is a lack of sufficient knowledge concerning biotic feedbacks that influence eutrophication patterns and the resistance capacity of coastal environments. In this paper, the isotope ratios of main producers and consumers of a Mediterranean lagoon were examined in order to elucidate the fate of anthropogenic inputs from the main watercourse flowing into the lagoon. The results of the study of stable isotope data in the Mar Menor lagoon reflected that the whole benthic community plays an important role as a natural 'filter' that removes excess nutrients from the water column and stores them in the sediments, thereby enhancing lagoon resistance to eutrophication.

  10. Benthic invertebrate community structure is influenced by forest succession after clearcut logging in southeastern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hernandez, O.; Merritt, R.W.; Wipfli, M.S.

    2005-01-01

    To assess the effects of timber harvesting on headwater streams in upland forests, benthic community structure was contrasted among four dominant forest management types (old growth, red alder-dominated young growth, conifer-dominated young growth, clearcut) and instream habitats (woody debris, cobble, gravel) in southeastern Alaska. Benthos in streams of previously harvested areas resulted in increased richness, densities and biomass relative to old growth types, particularly in young growth stands with a red alder-dominated riparian canopy. Woody debris and gravel habitats supported a combination of higher densities and biomass of invertebrates than cobble habitats. In addition, woody debris also supported a richer and more diverse invertebrate fauna than either cobble or gravel substrates. Maintaining both a woody debris source and a red alder component in regenerating riparian forests following timber harvesting should support greater invertebrate densities and diversity following clearcutting. ?? Springer 2005.

  11. Increased anthropogenic pressure decreases species richness in tropical intertidal reefs.

    PubMed

    Portugal, Adriana Brizon; Carvalho, Fabrício Lopes; de Macedo Carneiro, Pedro Bastos; Rossi, Sergio; de Oliveira Soares, Marcelo

    2016-09-01

    Multiple human stressors affect tropical intertidal sandstone reefs, but little is known about their biodiversity and the environmental impacts of these stressors. In the present study, multiple anthropogenic pressures were integrated using the relative environmental pressure index (REPI) and related to benthic community structure across an intertidal gradient in five sandstone reefs in the tropical South Atlantic coast. Greater species richness and diversity were noted in the low intertidal zones. There was a negative relationship between REPI and species richness, suggesting that increasing anthropogenic pressure has decreased benthic richness. The factors associated with the loss of richness were jetties built to control erosion, urban areas, beachfront kiosks and restaurants, fish markets, and storm sewers with illegal sewage connections. Our results highlight the need for better infrastructure planning and rigorous monitoring of coastal urban areas, since the large influence of multiple human pressures in these reefs leads to biodiversity losses.

  12. Experimental analysis of the effects of consumer exclusion on recruitment and succession of a coral reef system along a water quality gradient in the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah G.; Heiden, Jasmin P.; Abu, Nur; Lukman, Muhammad; Teichberg, Mirta

    2016-03-01

    The composition of coral reef benthic communities is strongly affected by variation in water quality and consumer abundance and composition. This is particularly evident in highly populated coastal regions where humans depend on coral reef resources and where terrestrial run-off can change the chemical composition of the water. We tested the effects of grazing pressure and ambient water conditions along an established eutrophication gradient on the recruitment and successional development of benthic communities of the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia, through caging experiments with settlement tiles. Within 1 month, benthic community composition of the closest reef to land, near the city of Makassar, was significantly different from other sites further offshore, driven primarily by differences in recruitment of invertebrates or turf algae. In contrast to other caging experiments, consumer exclusion had no effect after 3 months, suggesting that larger, mobile consumers had little effect on the benthic communities of these reefs at all sites. Despite conditions that usually favour macroalgal development, this group was rarely observed on recruitment tiles even after 4 months of consumer exclusion. Furthermore, tiles from both the caged and open treatments retained high proportions of open space indicating the possible role of small-sized or non-fish consumers that were not excluded from the experiment. These results indicate that, unlike many other studies, benthic consumers in the Spermonde Archipelago had little effect on the recruitment and early succession of the reef habitat and that unexamined biota such as mesograzers may be significant in degraded systems.

  13. Oyster Reef Restoration and Aquaculture Impacts on Denitrification and the Benthic Community

    EPA Science Inventory

    Human impacts have greatly altered coastal ecosystems through a variety of processes including nutrient enrichment and overfishing. The negative consequences of these actions are well known and include increased macroalgae blooms, low oxygen conditions, and losses of biodiversity...

  14. Benthic ciliate and meiofaunal communities in two contrasting habitats of an intertidal estuarine wetland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Du, Yongfen; Xu, Kuidong; Warren, Alan; Lei, Yanli; Dai, Renhai

    2012-05-01

    Annual variations in benthic meiofaunal and ciliated protozoan communities were investigated using monthly samplings from June 2006 to May 2007 in two habitats characterized by different vegetal coverage in an estuarine intertidal wetland of Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay, China. The sediment composition was stable at each site: sediments densely covered with seagrass (Suaeda glauca) in the lower estuarine site (Station S) were finer, with higher content of organic matter, phaeopigments and water than sediments at the upper estuarine site (Station S-P) which was unvegetated other than for patches of S. glauca and common reed (Phragmites australis). Chlorophyll a exhibited a similar distribution in the two habitats. A total of 14 meiofaunal groups, and 249 species of ciliates belonging to 37 genera, 28 families and 16 orders, were isolated from the two sites. Univariate and multivariate measures of the communities were significantly different between the two habitats. There were higher abundances of ciliates and meiofauna, and a greater diversity of ciliates, at Station S than Station S-P (223 vs. 61 species). Herbivorous ciliates were numerically predominant in ciliate communities at both sites. The representative ciliates at Station S-P belonged to the Cyrtophorida and appeared to be a reduced subset of the assemblage at Station S, which was characterized by members of the Prostomatida, Cyrtophorida, Hypotrichida and Scuticociliatida. More than 96% of the total meiofauna were nematodes, accounting for 93% of the differences in the abundance compositions of the meiofaunal communities between habitats. The average individual weights of nematodes were nearly 3 times greater at Station S than Station S-P, indicating a distinctive species composition at each site. Temperature, salinity and food availability were key factors that regulated the ciliate and meiofaunal community structure. Nematodes were the dominant group in terms of the combined abundance, biomass and benthic

  15. Newly discovered reefs in the southern Abrolhos Bank, Brazil: Anthropogenic impacts and urgent conservation needs.

    PubMed

    Mazzei, E F; Bertoncini, A A; Pinheiro, H T; Machado, L F; Vilar, C C; Guabiroba, H C; Costa, T J F; Bueno, L S; Santos, L N; Francini-Filho, R B; Hostim-Silva, M; Joyeux, J-C

    2017-01-15

    The Abrolhos Bank is an area of high ecological, socio-economic importance and harbour the richest and most-extensive coral reefs in the South Atlantic. Here we report the discovery of shallow (12-25m depth) reef complex with ten large biogenic structures, intermediate between the typical mushroom-shaped pinnacles of the northern Abrolhos Bank (17°-18° S) and the small patch reefs found on the central/southern coast of the Espírito Santo State (19°-20° S). The newly discovered reefs harbour a relatively rich and abundant reef community, with 73 fish and 14 benthic cnidarian species, including endangered and commercially important ones. We discuss on urgent needs of properly mapping and understanding the ecological functioning of this reef system. Information provided here is a baseline for future impact evaluations, particularly considering the recent worst environmental disaster of Brazil from a dam collapse in Doce river that affected the region.

  16. Time is no healer: increasing restoration age does not lead to improved benthic invertebrate communities in restored river reaches.

    PubMed

    Leps, Moritz; Sundermann, Andrea; Tonkin, Jonathan D; Lorenz, Armin W; Haase, Peter

    2016-07-01

    Evidence for successful restoration of riverine communities is scarce, particularly for benthic invertebrates. Among the multitude of reasons discussed so far for the lack of observed effects is too short of a time span between implementation and monitoring. Yet, studies that explicitly focus on the importance of restoration age are rare. We present a comprehensive study based on 44 river restoration projects in Germany, focusing on standardized benthic invertebrate sampling. A broad gradient ranging from 1 to 25years in restoration age was available. In contrast to clear improvements in habitat heterogeneity, benthic community responses to restoration were inconsistent when compared to control sections. Taxon richness increased in response to restoration, but abundance, diversity and various assessment metrics did not respond clearly. Restoration age was a poor predictor of community composition and community change, as no significant linear responses could be detected using 34 metrics. Moreover, only 5 out of 34 tested metrics showed non-linear shifts at restoration ages of 2 to 3years. This might be interpreted as an indication of a post-restoration disturbance followed by a re-establishment of pre-restoration conditions. BIO-ENV analysis and fourth-corner modeling underlined the low importance of restoration age, but revealed high importance of catchment-scale characteristics (e.g., ecoregion, catchment size and land use) in controlling community composition and community change. Overall, a lack of time for community development did not appear to be the ultimate reason for impaired benthic invertebrate communities. Instead, catchment-scale characteristics override the effectiveness of restoration. To enhance the ecological success of future river restoration projects, we recommend improving water quality conditions and catchment-scale processes (e.g., connectivity and hydrodynamics) in addition to restoring local habitat structure.

  17. Diving down the reefs? Intensive diving tourism threatens the reefs of the northern Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Hasler, Harald; Ott, Jörg A

    2008-10-01

    Intensive recreational SCUBA diving threatens coral reef ecosystems. The reefs at Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt, are among the world's most dived (>30,000 dives y(-1)). We compared frequently dived sites to sites with no or little diving. Benthic communities and condition of corals were examined by the point intercept sampling method in the reef crest zone (3m) and reef slope zone (12 m). Additionally, the abundance of corallivorous and herbivorous fish was estimated based on the visual census method. Sediments traps recorded the sedimentation rates caused by SCUBA divers. Zones subject to intensive SCUBA diving showed a significantly higher number of broken and damaged corals and significantly lower coral cover. Reef crest coral communities were significantly more affected than those of the reef slope: 95% of the broken colonies were branching ones. No effect of diving on the abundance of corallivorous and herbivorous fish was evident. At heavily used dive sites, diver-related sedimentation rates significantly decreased with increasing distance from the entrance, indicating poor buoyancy regulation at the initial phase of the dive. The results show a high negative impact of current SCUBA diving intensities on coral communities and coral condition. Corallivorous and herbivorous fishes are apparently not yet affected, but are endangered if coral cover decline continues. Reducing the number of dives per year, ecologically sustainable dive plans for individual sites, and reinforcing the environmental education of both dive guides and recreational divers are essential to conserve the ecological and the aesthetic qualities of these dive sites.

  18. Using decision trees to predict benthic communities within and near the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the North Sea.

    PubMed

    Pesch, Roland; Pehlke, Hendrik; Jerosch, Kerstin; Schröder, Winfried; Schlüter, Michael

    2008-01-01

    In this article a concept is described in order to predict and map the occurrence of benthic communities within and near the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the North Sea. The approach consists of two work steps: (1) geostatistical analysis of abiotic measurement data and (2) calculation of benthic provinces by means of Classification and Regression Trees (CART) and GIS-techniques. From bottom water measurements on salinity, temperature, silicate and nutrients as well as from punctual data on grain size ranges (0-20, 20-63, 63-2,000 mu) raster maps were calculated by use of geostatistical methods. At first the autocorrelation structure was examined and modelled with help of variogram analysis. The resulting variogram models were then used to calculate raster maps by applying ordinary kriging procedures. After intersecting these raster maps with punctual data on eight benthic communities a decision tree was derived to predict the occurrence of these communities within the study area. Since such a CART tree corresponds to a hierarchically ordered set of decision rules it was applied to the geostatistically estimated raster data to predict benthic habitats within and near the EEZ.

  19. Upward cascading effects of nutrients: shifts in a benthic microalgal community and a negative herbivore response.

    PubMed

    Armitage, Anna R; Fong, Peggy

    2004-05-01

    We evaluated the effects of nutrient addition on interactions between the benthic microalgal community and a dominant herbivorous gastropod, Cerithidea californica (California horn snail), on tidal flats in Mugu Lagoon, southern California, USA. We crossed snail and nutrient (N and P) addition treatments in enclosures on two tidal flats varying from 71 to 92% sand content in a temporally replicated experiment (summer 2000, fall 2000, spring 2001). Diatom biomass increased slightly (approximately 30%) in response to nutrient treatments but was not affected by snails. Blooms of cyanobacteria (up to 200%) and purple sulfur bacteria (up to 400%) occurred in response to nutrient enrichment, particularly in the sandier site, but only cyanobacterial biomass decreased in response to snail grazing. Snail mortality was 2-5 times higher in response to nutrient addition, especially in the sandier site, corresponding to a relative increase in cyanobacterial biomass. Nutrient-related snail mortality occurred only in the spring and summer, when the snails were most actively feeding on the microalgal community. Inactive snails in the fall showed no response to nutrient-induced cyanobacterial growths. This study demonstrated strongly negative upward cascading effects of nutrient enrichment through the food chain. The strength of this upward cascade was closely linked to sediment type and microalgal community composition.

  20. The nearshore benthic invertebrate community of southern Lake Michigan and its response to beach nourishment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Garza, E.L.; Whitman, R.L.

    2004-01-01

    The nearshore benthic environment of Lake Michigan represents a dynamic and little studied habitat. To explore the biology and response of this community to beach nourishment, Ponar samples were taken at 1.5, 3, and 6 m depths at 10 transects along the southern shore of Lake Michigan before and after beach nourishment. Forty taxa were identified, and two of these, Chaetogaster diastrophus and Nematoda, made up over 81% of all organisms collected. Shallow sites (≤ 3 m) were generally dominated byC. diastrophus and Nematoda, and these sites represent communities adapted to constant wave induced sediment disturbance. Deep (6 m) sites were generally dominated by Nematoda, but fair numbers of C. diastrophus, Amphichaeta leydigi, Paracladopelma spp., and other less abundant taxa were identified. Greater diversity at deeper sites may be related to the stability resulting from reduced wave disturbance. A notable decrease in mean invertebrate density (P < 0.01) from 2001 to 2002 downdrift from the site of beach nourishment suggests that sand placement affected invertebrate populations, although a more thorough understanding of this community's response to environmental variables is required to further support this conclusion.

  1. Ecological and evolutionary consequences of benthic community stasis in the very deep sea (>1500 m)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Buzas, Martin A.; Hayek, Lee-Ann C.; Culver, Stephen J.; Hayward, Bruce W.; Osterman, Lisa E.

    2014-01-01

    An enigma of deep-sea biodiversity research is that the abyss with its low productivity and densities appears to have a biodiversity similar to that of shallower depths. This conceptualization of similarity is based mainly on per-sample estimates (point diversity, within-habitat, or α-diversity). Here, we use a measure of between-sample within-community diversity (β1H) to examine benthic foraminiferal diversity between 333 stations within 49 communties from New Zealand, the South Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Norwegian Sea, and the Arctic. The communities are grouped into two depth categories: 200–1500 m and >1500 m. β1H diversity exhibits no evidence of regional differences. Instead, higher values at shallower depths are observed worldwide. At depths of >1500 m the average β1H is zero, indicating stasis or no biodiversity gradient. The difference in β1H-diversity explains why, despite species richness often being greater per sample at deeper depths, the total number of species is greater at shallower depths. The greater number of communities and higher rate of evolution resulting in shorter species durations at shallower depths is also consistent with higher β1H values.

  2. Twenty years of stream restoration in Finland: little response by benthic macroinvertebrate communities.

    PubMed

    Louhi, Pauliina; Mykrä, Heikki; Paavola, Riku; Huusko, Ari; Vehanen, Teppo; Mäki-Petäys, Aki; Muotka, Timo

    2011-09-01

    The primary focus of many in-stream restoration projects is to enhance habitat diversity for salmonid fishes, yet the lack of properly designed monitoring studies, particularly ones with pre-restoration data, limits any attempts to assess whether restoration has succeeded in improving salmonid habitat. Even less is known about the impacts of fisheries-related restoration on other, non-target biota. We examined how restoration aiming at the enhancement of juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) affects benthic macroinvertebrates, using two separate data sets: (1) a before-after-control-impact (BACI) design with three years before and three after restoration in differently restored and control reaches of six streams; and (2) a space-time substitution design including channelized, restored, and near-natural streams with an almost 20-year perspective on the recovery of invertebrate communities. In the BACI design, total macroinvertebrate density differed significantly from before to after restoration. Following restoration, densities decreased in all treatments, but less so in the controls than in restored sections. Taxonomic richness also decreased from before to after restoration, but this happened similarly in all treatments. In the long-term comparative study, macroinvertebrate species richness showed no difference between the channel types. Community composition differed significantly between the restored and natural streams, but not between restored and channelized streams. Overall, the in-stream restoration measures used increased stream habitat diversity but did not enhance benthic biodiversity. While many macroinvertebrates may be dispersal limited, our study sites should not have been too distant to reach within almost two decades. A key explanation for the weak responses by macroinvertebrate communities may have been historical. When Fennoscandian streams were channelized for log floating, the loss of habitat heterogeneity was only partial. Therefore, habitat

  3. The effects of coastal development on sponge abundance, diversity, and community composition on Jamaican coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Stubler, Amber D; Duckworth, Alan R; Peterson, Bradley J

    2015-07-15

    Over the past decade, development along the northern coast of Jamaica has accelerated, resulting in elevated levels of sedimentation on adjacent reefs. To understand the effects of this development on sponge community dynamics, we conducted surveys at three locations with varying degrees of adjacent coastal development to quantify species richness, abundance and diversity at two depths (8-10 m and 15-18 m). Sediment accumulation rate, total suspended solids and other water quality parameters were also quantified. The sponge community at the location with the least coastal development and anthropogenic influence was often significantly different from the other two locations, and exhibited higher sponge abundance, richness, and diversity. Sponge community composition and size distribution were statistically different among locations. This study provides correlative evidence that coastal development affects aspects of sponge community ecology, although the precise mechanisms are still unclear.

  4. Retention of habitat complexity minimizes disassembly of reef fish communities following disturbance: a large-scale natural experiment.

    PubMed

    Emslie, Michael J; Cheal, Alistair J; Johns, Kerryn A

    2014-01-01

    High biodiversity ecosystems are commonly associated with complex habitats. Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems, but are under increasing pressure from numerous stressors, many of which reduce live coral cover and habitat complexity with concomitant effects on other organisms such as reef fishes. While previous studies have highlighted the importance of habitat complexity in structuring reef fish communities, they employed gradient or meta-analyses which lacked a controlled experimental design over broad spatial scales to explicitly separate the influence of live coral cover from overall habitat complexity. Here a natural experiment using a long term (20 year), spatially extensive (∼ 115,000 kms(2)) dataset from the Great Barrier Reef revealed the fundamental importance of overall habitat complexity for reef fishes. Reductions of both live coral cover and habitat complexity had substantial impacts on fish communities compared to relatively minor impacts after major reductions in coral cover but not habitat complexity. Where habitat complexity was substantially reduced, species abundances broadly declined and a far greater number of fish species were locally extirpated, including economically important fishes. This resulted in decreased species richness and a loss of diversity within functional groups. Our results suggest that the retention of habitat complexity following disturbances can ameliorate the impacts of coral declines on reef fishes, so preserving their capacity to perform important functional roles essential to reef resilience. These results add to a growing body of evidence about the importance of habitat complexity for reef fishes, and represent the first large-scale examination of this question on the Great Barrier Reef.

  5. Benthic macrofauna communities of the submersed Pleistocene Elbe valley in the southern North Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rehm, Peter; Rachor, Eike

    2007-06-01

    Macrozoobenthic community structure was studied in two surveys along a transect of 13 stations following the submersed Pleistocene Elbe valley in the south-eastern North Sea during May to June 2000 and March 2001. Two replicates of bottom samples were taken with a van Veen grab of 0.1 m2 sampling size. In order to analyse the benthic macrofauna communities, the animals obtained were identified and counted, and MDS and cluster analysis were performed. Out of 200 taxa identified, 84 were polychaetes, 46 molluscs, 40 crustaceans, 15 echinoderms, and 15 belonged to other groups. Mean abundance was 4,860 individuals per m2, mean biomass 32.9 g ash free dry mass per m2. Mean diversity was 1.76 and mean evenness 0.54. The macrofauna of the Pleistocene Elbe valley is composed of three associations according to the cluster analysis. Each association is described by a combination of characterizing and discriminating species. An Amphiura-brachiata― Tellimya-ferruginosa-association was found in the south-eastern part of the depression, whereas a transitional association with elements of both assemblages lead to an Amphiura- filiformis― Galathowenia- oculata― Nuculoma- tenuis-association in the north-western part of the valley. In the context of the entire southern North Sea, both associations are small-scale substructures, and as such are contained in the Nucula- nitidosa-community and the Amphiura- filiformis-community, respectively. A north-westward shift of the community of the southern Elbe valley was found and discussed as a possible consequence of warm winters of the last decades.

  6. Integration of coral reef ecosystem process studies and remote sensing: Chapter 5

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brook, John; Yates, Kimberly; Halley, Robert

    2006-01-01

    Worldwide, local-scale anthropogenic stress combined with global climate change is driving shifts in the state of reef benthic communities from coral-rich to micro- or macroalgal-dominated (Knowlton, 1992; Done, 1999). Such phase shifts in reef benthic communities may be either abrupt or gradual, and case studies from diverse ocean basins demonstrate that recovery, while uncertain (Hughes, 1994), typically involves progression through successional stages (Done, 1992). These transitions in benthic community structure involve changes in community metabolism, and accordingly, the holistic evaluation of associated biogeochemical variables is of great intrinsic value (Done, 1992). Effective reef management requires advance prediction of coral reef alteration in the face of anthropogenic stress and change in the global environment (Hatcher, 1997a). In practice, this goal requires techniques that can rapidly discern, at an early stage, sublethal effects that may cause long-term increases in mortality (brown, 1988; Grigg and Dollar, 1990). Such methods would improve our understanding of the differences in the population, community, and ecosystem structure, as well as function, between pristine and degraded reefs. This knowledge base could then support scientifically based management strategies (Done, 1992). Brown (1988) noted the general lack of rigor in the assessment of stress on coral reefs and suggested that more quantitative approaches than currently exist are needed to allow objective understanding of coral reef dynamics. Sensitive techniques for the timely appraisal of pollution effects or generalized endemic stress in coral reefs are sorely lacking (Grigg and Dollar, 1990; Wilkinsin, 1992). Moreover, monitoring methods based on population inventories, sclerochronology, or reproductive biology tend to myopic and may give inconsistent results. Ideally, an improved means of evaluating reef stress would discriminate mortality due to natural causes from morality to

  7. Detecting coral reef substrate types by airborne and spaceborne hyperspectral sensors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kutser, Tiit; Dekker, Arnold G.; Skirving, William

    2002-01-01

    Traditional approaches to remote sensing of coral reefs have been highly empirical, relying on classification of remote sensing images. We have chosen a physics based approach - the collection of reflectance spectra of different substrates and the determination of the inherent optical properties of the water column. This information, together with radiative transfer models of water and atmosphere as well as technical characteristics of different remote sensing sensors, allows us to estimate what benthic communities are spectrally resolvable with respect to water column depth and the sensor characteristics. A hyperspectral library of more than 140 different coral reefs substrates (living hard and soft corals, dead corals, rubble, sand, algae and sponges) were collected from the Great Barrier Reef. Hydrolight 4.1 model was used to simulate remote sensing reflectances above the water and a MODTRAN3 type in-house atmosphere model was used to simulate radiance at airborne and space borne sensor levels. Most of the spectral variability in reflectance of coral reef benthic communities occurs in the spectral range of 550-680 nm (green to red light). The water itself is a main limiting factor in remote detection of various reef substrates, as water itself is absorbing light strongly in the same part of the spectrum where most of the variability in reflectance spectra of different coral reef benthic substrates occurs. Hyperspectral information allows us to separate different substrates from each other more easily and in deeper waters than broad band sensors.

  8. Effects of pulse and press drying disturbance on benthic stream communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lynch, Dustin T.; Magoulick, Daniel D.

    2016-01-01

    Natural disturbance is an integral component of most ecosystems and occurs in 3 different forms: pulse, press, and ramp. In lotic ecosystems, seasonal drought is a major form of disturbance, particularly in intermittent headwater streams, which often are reduced to pools that serve as refuges for biota. We used simulated intermittent stream pools to compare the effects of control, pulse, and press drying on growth and survival in 3 fish species (Lepomis megalotis, Campostoma anomalum, and Etheostoma spectabile) commonly found together in drought-prone streams in the Ozark Highlands, USA. We also compared effects on benthic community structure, including periphyton and chironomid density and sediment in deep (permanently watered) and shallow (intermittently dewatered) habitat. Only one species, L. megalotis, showed a significant reduction in length and mass growth in press drying compared with control treatments. Drying and type of drying had no effect on survival of any fish species. Drying and type of drying had strong overall effects on periphyton growth in shallow habitats, where ash-free dry mass decreased and the autotrophic index (the ratio of chlorophyll a to total biomass) increased significantly in drying relative to control and in press relative to pulse treatments. Drying negatively affected sediment accumulation in shallow habitat and chironomid density in deep habitat. Drying in intermittent streams has species-dependent effects on fish growth and benthic structure, and pulse and press drying differ in their effects on periphyton in these systems. These effects may have important consequences in seasonally drying streams as anthropogenic influence on stream drying increases.

  9. Strong pathways for incorporation of terrestrially derived organic matter into benthic communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McLeod, Rebecca J.; Wing, Stephen R.

    2009-05-01

    In Fiordland, New Zealand, large volumes of organic matter are deposited into the marine environment from pristine forested catchments. Analyses of δ15N, δ13C and δ34S were employed to determine whether these inputs were contributing to marine food webs via assimilation by common macroinvertebrates inhabiting the inner reaches of the fjords. Terrestrially derived organic matter (TOM) had values of δ15N, δ13C and δ34S that were distinct from other carbon source pools, providing sufficient power to quantify the contribution of TOM to the benthic food web. Isotopic values among macroinvertebrates varied significantly, with consistently low values of δ15N, δ13C and δ34S for the abundant deposit feeders Echinocardium cordatum (Echinodermata) and Pectinaria australis (Annelida), indicating assimilation of TOM. High concentrations of bacterial fatty acid biomarkers in E. cordatum, and values of δ13C of these biomarkers similar to TOM (-27 to -30‰) confirmed that TOM is indirectly assimilated by these sea urchins via heterotrophic bacteria. TOM was also found to enter the infaunal food web via chemoautotrophic bacteria that live symbiotically within Solemya parkinsonii (Bivalvia). Echinocardium cordatum, Pectinaria australis and S. parkinsonii comprised up to 33.5% of the biomass of the macroinfaunal community, and thus represent strong pathways for movement of organic matter from the forested catchments into the benthic food web. This demonstration of connectivity among adjacent marine and terrestrial habitats has important implications for coastal land management, and highlights the importance of intact coastal forests to marine ecosystem function.

  10. Relationships among sea-floor structure and benthic communities in Long Island Sound at regional and benthoscape scales

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zajac, Roman N.; Lewis, Ralph S.; Poppe, Larry J.; Twichell, David C.; Vozarik, Joseph; DiGiacomo-Cohen, Mary L.

    2000-01-01

    Long Island Sound is comprised of a rich and spatially heterogeneous mix of sea-floor environments which provide habitat for an equally diverse set of assemblages of soft-sediment communities. Information from recent research on the geomorphological and chemical attributes of these environments, as well as from studies of the hydrodynamics of the Sound, provide the opportunity to develop a landscape, or "benthoscape" framework for understanding the soft-sediment ecology of this estuary and for guiding future research focusing on structure and function at multiple spatial scales. This contribution reviews past research on benthic communities in Long Island Sound and addresses how they may be shaped by sea-floor characteristics at regional and benthoscape scales. At the regional scale (i.e. the entire Sound), differences in benthic community composition correspond to the distribution of general sedimentary environments. However, significant variation in community structure also occurs at the benthoscape scale (within regions) related to local variations in sediment properties, and physical and biogenic topographic features. Several topical areas in particular need further research in Long Island Sound, including temporal dynamics of benthic communities relative to sea-floor structure and the interaction between the dynamics of benthoscapes and hydrologic seascapes.

  11. Water-quality parameters and benthic algal communities at selected streams in Minnesota, August 2000 - Study design, methods and data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lee, K.E.

    2002-01-01

    This report describes the study design, sampling methods, and summarizes the physical, chemical, and benthic algal data for a component of the multiagency study that was designed to document diurnal water-quality measurements (specific conductance, pH, water temperature, and dissolved oxygen), benthic algal community composition and chlorophyll-a content, and primary productivity at 12 stream sites on 6 streams in Minnesota during August 2000. Specific conductance, pH, water temperature, dissolved oxygen concentrations and percent dissolved oxygen saturation measurements were made with submersible data recorders at 30 minute intervals for a period of 3-6 days during August 2000. Benthic algae collected from wood and rock substrate were identified and enumerated. Biovolume (volume of algal cells per unit area), density (number of cells per unit area), and chlorophyll-a content from benthic algae were determined. These data can be used as part of the multiagency study to develop an understanding of the relations among nutrient concentrations, algal abundance, algal community composition, and primary production and respiration processes in rivers of differing ecoregions in Minnesota.

  12. Assessing sediments from Upper Mississippi River navigational pools using a benthic invertebrate community evaluation and the sediment quality triad approach

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Canfield, T.J.; Brunson, E.L.; Dwyer, F.J.; Ingersoll, C.G.; Kemble, N.E.

    1998-01-01

    Benthic invertebrate samples were collected from 23 pools in the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) and from one station in the Saint Croix River (SCR) as part of a study to assess the effects of the extensive flooding of 1993 on sediment contamination in the UMR system. Sediment contaminants of concern included both organic and inorganic compounds. Oligochaetes and chironomids constituted over 80% of the total abundance in samples from 14 of 23 pools in the UMR and SCR samples. Fingernail clams comprised a large portion of the community in three of 23 UMR pools and exceeded abundances of 1,000/m2 in five of 23 pools. Total abundance ranged from 250/m2 in samples from pool 1 to 22,389/m2 in samples from pool 19. Abundance values are comparable with levels previously reported in the literature for the UMR. Overall frequency of chironomid mouthpart deformities was 3% (range 0-13%), which is comparable to reported incidence of deformities in uncontaminated sediments previously evaluated. Sediment contamination was generally low in the UMR pools and the SCR site. Correlations between benthic measures and sediment chemistry and other abiotic parameters exhibited few significant or strong correlations. The sediment quality triad (Triad) approach was used to evaluate data from laboratory toxicity tests, sediment chemistry, and benthic community analyses; it showed that 88% of the samples were not scored as impacted based on sediment toxicity, chemistry, and benthic measures. Benthic invertebrate distributions and community structure within the UMR in the samples evaluated in the present study were most likely controlled by factors independent of contaminant concentrations in the sediments.

  13. Analysis of bacterial communities associated with the benthic amphipod Diporeia in the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin.

    PubMed

    Winters, Andrew D; Marsh, Terence L; Brenden, Travis O; Faisal, Mohamed

    2015-01-01

    Bacterial communities play important roles in the biological functioning of crustaceans, yet little is known about their diversity, structure, and dynamics. This study was conducted to investigate the bacterial communities associated with the benthic amphipod Diporeia, an important component in the Great Lakes foodweb that has been declining over the past 3 decades. In this study, the combination of 16S rRNA gene sequencing and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism revealed a total of 175 and 138 terminal restriction fragments (T-RFs) in Diporeia samples following treatment with the endonucleases HhaI and MspI, respectively. Relatively abundant and prevalent T-RFs were affiliated with the genera Flavobacterium and Pseudomonas and the class Betaproteobacteria. T-RFs affiliated with the order Rickettsiales were also detected. A significant difference in T-RF presence and abundance (P = 0.035) was detected among profiles generated for Diporeia collected from 4 sites in Lake Michigan. Comparison of profiles generated for Diporeia samples collected in 2 years from lakes Superior and Michigan showed a significant change in diversity for Lake Superior Diporeia but not Lake Michigan Diporeia. Profiles from one Lake Michigan site contained multiple unique T-RFs compared with other Lake Michigan Diporeia profiles, most notably one that represents the genus Methylotenera. This study generated the most extensive list of bacteria associated with Diporeia and sheds useful insights on the microbiome of Great Lakes Diporeia that may help to reveal potential causes of the decline of Diporeia populations.

  14. Habitat loss drives threshold response of benthic invertebrate communities to deposited sediment in agricultural streams.

    PubMed

    Burdon, Francis J; McIntosh, Angus R; Harding, Jon S

    2013-07-01

    Agricultural land uses can impact stream ecosystems by reducing suitable habitat, altering flows, and increasing inputs of diffuse pollutants including fine inorganic sediment (< 2 mm). These changes have been linked to altered community composition and declines in biodiversity. Determining the mechanisms driving stream biotic responses, particularly threshold impacts, has, however, proved elusive. To investigate a sediment threshold response by benthic invertebrates, an intensive survey of 30 agricultural streams was conducted along gradients of deposited sediment and dissolved nutrients. Partial redundancy analysis showed that invertebrate community composition changed significantly along the gradient of deposited fine sediment, whereas the effect of dissolved nitrate was weak. Pollution-sensitive invertebrates (%EPT, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera) demonstrated a strong nonlinear response to sediment, and change-point analysis indicated marked declines beyond a threshold of -20% fine sediment covering the streambed. Structural equation modeling indicated that decreased habitat availability (i.e., coarse substrate and associated interstices) was the key driver affecting pollution-sensitive invertebrates, with degraded riparian condition controlling resources through direct (e.g., inputs) and indirect (e.g., flow-mediated) effects on deposited sediment. The identification of specific effects thresholds and the underlying mechanisms (e.g., loss of habitat) driving these changes will assist managers in setting sediment criteria and standards to better guide stream monitoring and rehabilitation.

  15. Macroinvertebrate Communities and Benthic Organic Matter in Sand Habitats of 15 Northern Michigan Streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamamuro, A. M.; Miesbauer, J. M.; Lamberti, G. A.

    2005-05-01

    Relationships between benthic organic matter (BOM) and macroinvertebrates have been well studied in streams with coarse substrates, but such relationships have been little studied in sand habitats, despite the abundance of sand in many streams. These relationships were investigated in sand habitats of 15 streams in three watersheds of the Ottawa National Forest, Michigan. Sand habitats in the 15 streams varied widely in mean total BOM quantity (112 to 1814 g AFDM·m-2) and size composition [very fine BOM (VFBOM, 0.45-250 μm), 0-58%; fine BOM (FBOM, 250 μm-1 mm), 11-27%; coarse BOM (CBOM, >1 mm), 27-81%] but differences were still detected among watersheds (VFBOM, ANOVA, F2,11 = 8.69, p = 0.005; CBOM, F2,11 = 11.15, p = 0.002). Sand-dwelling invertebrates were dominated by gathering-collectors, primarily Chironomidae (relative abundance = 73.6±15.4%; mean±SE; n = 15). Invertebrate biomass and mean body size differed among watersheds (biomass, F2,12 = 3.89, p = 0.050; body size, F2,12 = 6.12, p = 0.015). However, at this broad spatial scale, BOM quantity and quality had little effect on invertebrate community metrics in sand habitats. BOM content of sand habitats likely represents one factor, among many components of this dynamic habitat, which shapes overall macroinvertebrate communities.

  16. Responses of a free-living benthic marine nematode community to bioremediation of a PAH mixture.

    PubMed

    Louati, Hela; Said, Olfa Ben; Soltani, Amel; Cravo-Laureau, Cristiana; Duran, Robert; Aissa, Patricia; Mahmoudi, Ezzeddine; Pringault, Olivier

    2015-10-01

    The objectives of this study were (1) to assess the responses of benthic nematodes to a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination and (2) to test bioremediation techniques for their efficiency in PAH degradation and their effects on nematodes. Sediments with their natural nematofauna communities from Bizerte lagoon (Tunisia) were subjected to a PAH mixture (100 ppm) of phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene during 30 days. Nematode abundance and diversity significantly decreased, and the taxonomic structure was altered. Results from multivariate analyses of the species abundance data revealed that PAH treatments were significantly different from the control. Spirinia parasitifera became the dominant species (70 % relative abundance) and appeared to be an "opportunistic" species to PAH contamination while Oncholaimus campylocercoides and Neochromadora peocilosoma were strongly inhibited. Biostimulation (addition of mineral salt medium) and bioaugmentation (inoculation of a hydrocarbonoclastic bacterium) were used as bioremediation techniques. Bioremediation treatments enhanced degradation of all three PAHs, with up to 96 % degradation for phenanthrene resulting in a significant stimulation of nematode abundance relative to control microcosms. Nevertheless, these treatments, especially the biostimulation provoked a weak impact on the community structure and diversity index relative to the control microcosms suggesting their feasibility in biorestoration of contaminated sediments.

  17. Coastal habitats as surrogates for taxonomic, functional and trophic structures of benthic faunal communities.

    PubMed

    Törnroos, Anna; Nordström, Marie C; Bonsdorff, Erik

    2013-01-01

    Due to human impact, there is extensive degradation and loss of marine habitats, which calls for measures that incorporate taxonomic as well as functional and trophic aspects of biodiversity. Since such data is less easily quantifiable in nature, the use of habitats as surrogates or proxies for biodiversity is on the rise in marine conservation and management. However, there is a critical gap in knowledge of whether pre-defined habitat units adequately represent the functional and trophic structure of communities. We also lack comparisons of different measures of community structure in terms of both between- (β) and within-habitat (α) variability when accounting for species densities. Thus, we evaluated a priori defined coastal habitats as surrogates for traditional taxonomic, functional and trophic zoobenthic community structure. We focused on four habitats (bare sand, canopy-forming algae, seagrass above- and belowground), all easily delineated in nature and defined through classification systems. We analyzed uni- and multivariate data on species and trait diversity as well as stable isotope ratios of benthic macrofauna. A good fit between habitat types and taxonomic and functional structure was found, although habitats were more similar functionally. This was attributed to within-habitat heterogeneity so when habitat divisions matched the taxonomic structure, only bare sand was functionally distinct. The pre-defined habitats did not meet the variability of trophic structure, which also proved to differentiate on a smaller spatial scale. The quantification of trophic structure using species density only identified an epi- and an infaunal unit. To summarize the results we present a conceptual model illustrating the match between pre-defined habitat types and the taxonomic, functional and trophic community structure. Our results show the importance of including functional and trophic aspects more comprehensively in marine management and spatial planning.

  18. Coastal Habitats as Surrogates for Taxonomic, Functional and Trophic Structures of Benthic Faunal Communities

    PubMed Central

    Törnroos, Anna; Nordström, Marie C.; Bonsdorff, Erik

    2013-01-01

    Due to human impact, there is extensive degradation and loss of marine habitats, which calls for measures that incorporate taxonomic as well as functional and trophic aspects of biodiversity. Since such data is less easily quantifiable in nature, the use of habitats as surrogates or proxies for biodiversity is on the rise in marine conservation and management. However, there is a critical gap in knowledge of whether pre-defined habitat units adequately represent the functional and trophic structure of communities. We also lack comparisons of different measures of community structure in terms of both between- (β) and within-habitat (α) variability when accounting for species densities. Thus, we evaluated a priori defined coastal habitats as surrogates for traditional taxonomic, functional and trophic zoobenthic community structure. We focused on four habitats (bare sand, canopy-forming algae, seagrass above- and belowground), all easily delineated in nature and defined through classification systems. We analyzed uni- and multivariate data on species and trait diversity as well as stable isotope ratios of benthic macrofauna. A good fit between habitat types and taxonomic and functional structure was found, although habitats were more similar functionally. This was attributed to within-habitat heterogeneity so when habitat divisions matched the taxonomic structure, only bare sand was functionally distinct. The pre-defined habitats did not meet the variability of trophic structure, which also proved to differentiate on a smaller spatial scale. The quantification of trophic structure using species density only identified an epi- and an infaunal unit. To summarize the results we present a conceptual model illustrating the match between pre-defined habitat types and the taxonomic, functional and trophic community structure. Our results show the importance of including functional and trophic aspects more comprehensively in marine management and spatial planning. PMID

  19. High Macroalgal Cover and Low Coral Recruitment Undermines the Potential Resilience of the World's Southernmost Coral Reef Assemblages

    PubMed Central

    Hoey, Andrew S.; Pratchett, Morgan S.; Cvitanovic, Christopher

    2011-01-01

    Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic and climate-induced stressors. The ability of reefs to reassemble and regenerate after disturbances (i.e., resilience) is largely dependent on the capacity of herbivores to prevent macroalgal expansion, and the replenishment of coral populations through larval recruitment. Currently there is a paucity of this information for higher latitude, subtropical reefs. To assess the potential resilience of the benthic reef assemblages of Lord Howe Island (31°32′S, 159°04′E), the worlds' southernmost coral reef, we quantified the benthic composition, densities of juvenile corals (as a proxy for coral recruitment), and herbivorous fish communities. Despite some variation among habitats and sites, benthic communities were dominated by live scleractinian corals (mean cover 37.4%) and fleshy macroalgae (20.9%). Live coral cover was higher than in most other subtropical reefs and directly comparable to lower latitude tropical reefs. Juvenile coral densities (0.8 ind.m−2), however, were 5–200 times lower than those reported for tropical reefs. Overall, macroalgal cover was negatively related to the cover of live coral and the density of juvenile corals, but displayed no relationship with herbivorous fish biomass. The biomass of herbivorous fishes was relatively low (204 kg.ha−1), and in marked contrast to tropical reefs was dominated by macroalgal browsing species (84.1%) with relatively few grazing species. Despite their extremely low biomass, grazing fishes were positively related to both the density of juvenile corals and the cover of bare substrata, suggesting that they may enhance the recruitment of corals through the provision of suitable settlement sites. Although Lord Howe Islands' reefs are currently coral-dominated, the high macroalgal cover, coupled with limited coral recruitment and low coral growth rates suggest these reefs may be extremely susceptible to future disturbances. PMID:21991366

  20. Stability of a coral reef fish community following a catastrophic storm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walsh, William J.

    1983-08-01

    In January 1980, a severe 3 day storm struck the normally protected leeward coral reefs of Kona, Hawaii. Waves generated by the storm, which was estimated to be a once in 20 40 year occurrence, were in excess of 6 m and caused extensive reef destruction and shoreline alteration. Shallow nearshore areas were denuded of most bottom cover and marine life. Damage to corals was extensive with broken colonies of the coral Porites compressa occurring down to depths of 27 m. Pronounced algal blooms occurred in a clearly defined sequence subsequent to the storm. The patterns of both coral destruction and algal succession were similar to those described on other storm damaged reefs. Fish mortality directly attributable to the storm was slight and the few dead fishes noted were either surge zone or tide pool species. After the storm the shallow reef flat was devoid of resident fishes while deeper areas contained many fishes which had moved from shallower water. This habitat shift substantially reduced the immediate impact of the storm on the fish community. Despite considerable habitat destruction that resulted from the storm, there were no decreases in species or population abundances on five 25 m2 quadrats monitored for 23 months before and 16 months after the storm. Similarly, the numbers of triggerfish sheltering within an area increased even though the storm reduced the number of available shelter holes. The shelter and space-related carrying capacity of these areas prior to the storm may therefore not have been reached. Recolonization of evacuated areas by fishes began shortly after the storm and within 16 months many areas had regained their prestorm appearances. Large numbers of individuals remained however, in their shifted locations.

  1. Predators alter community organization of coral reef cryptofauna and reduce abundance of coral mutualists

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stier, A. C.; Leray, M.

    2014-03-01

    Coral reefs are the most diverse marine systems in the world, yet our understanding of the processes that maintain such extraordinary diversity remains limited and taxonomically biased toward the most conspicuous species. Cryptofauna that live deeply embedded within the interstitial spaces of coral reefs make up the majority of reef diversity, and many of these species provide important protective services to their coral hosts. However, we know very little about the processes governing the diversity and composition of these less conspicuous but functionally important species. Here, we experimentally quantify the role of predation in driving the community organization of small fishes and decapods that live embedded within Pocillopora eydouxi, a structurally complex, reef-building coral found widely across the Indo-Pacific. We use surveys to describe the natural distribution of predators, and then, factorially manipulate two focal predator species to quantify the independent and combined effects of predator density and identity on P. eydouxi-dwelling cryptofauna. Predators reduced abundance (34 %), species richness (20 %), and modified species composition. Rarefaction revealed that observed reductions in species richness were primarily driven by changes in abundance. Additionally, the two predator species uniquely affected the beta diversity and composition of the prey assemblage. Predators reduced the abundance and modified the composition of a number of mutualist fishes and decapods, whose benefit to the coral is known to be both diversity- and density-dependent. We predict that the density and identity of predators present within P. eydouxi may substantially alter coral performance in the face of an increased frequency and intensity of natural and anthropogenic stressors.

  2. Effects of sediment discharge from Namibian diamond mines on intertidal and subtidal rocky-reef communities and the rock lobster Jasus lalandii

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pulfrich, Andrea; Branch, George M.

    2014-10-01

    Extensive terrestrial diamond mining occurs on the southern coast of Namibia, and at Elizabeth Bay near Lüderitz sediment tailings totalling about 2 million tons.yr-1, have been discharged onto the beach. We report here on monitoring spanning 2004-2012 to assess (1) the impacts of increased tailings discharges following an expansion of the mine in 2005, and (2) recovery after discharges halted in 2009. Sampling covered three levels of wave exposure, and compared impacted sites with comparable unmined reference sites. Benthic communities were quantified on both intertidal and subtidal reefs, and kelp densities and rock-lobster abundances, lengths and sex ratios on subtidal reefs. Prior to intensification of mining, deposition of tailings significantly influenced intertidal communities only at sheltered localities where wave action was insufficient to disperse them. Following the mine expansion, effects spread to both semi-exposed and exposed sites. After mining was suspended, recovery of the biota was limited, even three years later. Reductions of intertidal diversity and grazers, proliferation of macroalgae, and increased dominance by filter feeders were recorded at the impacted sites and were persistent, but the affects of wave exposure on community composition generally exceeded those of mining discharges. On subtidal reefs, tailings deposition reduced predators and grazers, increased filter feeders and ephemeral green algae, and decreased all other algae, possibly driven by light reduction due to plumes of suspended fine sediments. Increased discharges post-2005 also substantially influenced bathymetry, wave and current regimes, transforming 2 km of previously wave-exposed rocky coastline into a semi-exposed sandy beach. Tailings discharge appeared to influence community composition in four ways: (1) inundation and blanketing; (2) increased suspended particulate materials; (3) indirect top-down ripple effects, and (4) light reduction. Throughout the period 2004

  3. Distribution and abundance of sea urchins in Singapore reefs and their potential ecological impacts on macroalgae and coral communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goh, Beverly P. L.; Lim, Dawn Y. F.

    2015-06-01

    The sea urchin Diadema setosum is often encountered in the coral reefs in the Southern Islands of Singapore. While sea urchins have been known to play a role in regulating algal communities and influencing coral recruitment in other parts of the world, their role in Singapore reefs has not been determined. This study was conducted to determine the distribution and abundance of sea urchins in Singapore reefs, to examine algal cover, algal biomass, algal species and live coral cover, and to determine any interactions between urchin density and algal communities that may impact coral cover. Several reefs in Singapore were surveyed using belt transects measuring 20 m by 2 m, laid down on the reef crest. Abundance of urchins, algal species, biomass, and live coral cover were determined by the use of quadrats within each belt transect. This study revealed an increasing abundance of the sea urchin Diadema setosum in reefs progressing southwards away from mainland Singapore with low density of urchins occurring in Sisters' Island, St John's Island, Pulau Tekukor, and Kusu Island, and the highest density observed at Raffles Lighthouse. A significant negative linear relationship between algal cover and live coral cover (P < 0.05) was established. The results of this study indicate that sea urchins may not be an important component of the herbivore guild in Singapore.

  4. Current status of coral reefs in the United Arab Emirates: Distribution, extent, and community structure with implications for management.

    PubMed

    Grizzle, Raymond E; Ward, Krystin M; AlShihi, Rashid M S; Burt, John A

    2016-04-30

    Coral reefs of the United Arab Emirates were once extensive, but have declined dramatically in recent decades. Marine management and policy have been hampered by outdated and inaccurate habitat maps and habitat quality information. We combined existing recent datasets with our newly mapped coral habitats to provide a current assessment of nation-wide extent, and performed quantitative surveys of communities at 23 sites to assess coral cover and composition. Over 132 km(2) of coral habitat was mapped, averaging 28.6 ± 3.8% live coral cover at surveyed sites. In the Arabian Gulf low cover, low richness Porites dominated communities characterized western Abu Dhabi, while reefs northeast of Abu Dhabi city generally contained higher richness and cover, and were dominated by merulinids (formerly faviids). Distinct communities occur in the Sea of Oman, where cover and richness were low. We provide management recommendations to enhance conservation of vulnerable coral reefs in the UAE.

  5. Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs

    PubMed Central

    Frade, Pedro R.; Roll, Katharina; Bergauer, Kristin; Herndl, Gerhard J.

    2016-01-01

    Comparative studies on the distribution of archaeal versus bacterial communities associated with the surface mucus layer of corals have rarely taken place. It has therefore remained enigmatic whether mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities exhibit a similar specificity towards coral hosts and whether they vary in the same fashion over spatial gradients and between reef locations. We used microbial community profiling (terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism, T-RFLP) and clone library sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to compare the diversity and community structure of dominant archaeal and bacterial communities associating with the mucus of three common reef-building coral species (Porites astreoides, Siderastrea siderea and Orbicella annularis) over different spatial scales on a Caribbean fringing reef. Sampling locations included three reef sites, three reef patches within each site and two depths. Reference sediment samples and ambient water were also taken for each of the 18 sampling locations resulting in a total of 239 samples. While only 41% of the bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) characterized by T-RFLP were shared between mucus and the ambient water or sediment, for archaeal OTUs this percentage was 2-fold higher (78%). About half of the mucus-associated OTUs (44% and 58% of bacterial and archaeal OTUs, respectively) were shared between the three coral species. Our multivariate statistical analysis (ANOSIM, PERMANOVA and CCA) showed that while the bacterial community composition was determined by habitat (mucus, sediment or seawater), host coral species, location and spatial distance, the archaeal community composition was solely determined by the habitat. This study highlights that mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities differ in their degree of community turnover over reefs and in their host-specificity. PMID:26788724

  6. Archaeal and Bacterial Communities Associated with the Surface Mucus of Caribbean Corals Differ in Their Degree of Host Specificity and Community Turnover Over Reefs.

    PubMed

    Frade, Pedro R; Roll, Katharina; Bergauer, Kristin; Herndl, Gerhard J

    2016-01-01

    Comparative studies on the distribution of archaeal versus bacterial communities associated with the surface mucus layer of corals have rarely taken place. It has therefore remained enigmatic whether mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities exhibit a similar specificity towards coral hosts and whether they vary in the same fashion over spatial gradients and between reef locations. We used microbial community profiling (terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism, T-RFLP) and clone library sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to compare the diversity and community structure of dominant archaeal and bacterial communities associating with the mucus of three common reef-building coral species (Porites astreoides, Siderastrea siderea and Orbicella annularis) over different spatial scales on a Caribbean fringing reef. Sampling locations included three reef sites, three reef patches within each site and two depths. Reference sediment samples and ambient water were also taken for each of the 18 sampling locations resulting in a total of 239 samples. While only 41% of the bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) characterized by T-RFLP were shared between mucus and the ambient water or sediment, for archaeal OTUs this percentage was 2-fold higher (78%). About half of the mucus-associated OTUs (44% and 58% of bacterial and archaeal OTUs, respectively) were shared between the three coral species. Our multivariate statistical analysis (ANOSIM, PERMANOVA and CCA) showed that while the bacterial community composition was determined by habitat (mucus, sediment or seawater), host coral species, location and spatial distance, the archaeal community composition was solely determined by the habitat. This study highlights that mucus-associated archaeal and bacterial communities differ in their degree of community turnover over reefs and in their host-specificity.

  7. High coral cover on a mesophotic, subtropical island platform at the limits of coral reef growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Linklater, Michelle; Carroll, Andrew G.; Hamylton, Sarah M.; Jordan, Alan R.; Brooke, Brendan P.; Nichol, Scott L.; Woodroffe, Colin D.

    2016-11-01

    Balls Pyramid is a volcanic monolith rising 552 m from the Tasman Sea, 24 km southeast of the Pacific Ocean's southernmost modern coral reef at Lord Howe Island. High resolution seabed mapping of the shelf surrounding Balls Pyramid has revealed an extensive submerged reef structure in 30-50 m water depth, covering an area of 87 km2. Benthic community composition analysis of high-resolution still images revealed abundant scleractinian corals on the submerged reef, extending to a maximum depth of 94 m. Scleractinian coral occurred predominantly in 30-40 m depth where it comprised 13.3% of benthic cover within this depth range. Average scleractinian coral cover for all transects was 6.7±12.2%, with the highest average transect cover of 19.4±14.3% and up to 84% cover recorded for an individual still image. The remaining substrate comprised mixed benthos with veneers of carbonate sand. Benthic data were shown to significantly relate to the underlying geomorphology. BVSTEP analyses identified depth and backscatter as the strongest correlating explanatory variables driving benthic community structure. The prevalence of scleractinian corals on the submerged reef features at Balls Pyramid, and the mesophotic depths to which these corals extend, demonstrates the important role of this subtropical island shelf as habitat for modern coral communities in the southwest Pacific Ocean. As Balls Pyramid is located beyond the known latitudinal limit of coral reef formation, these findings have important implications for potential coral reef range expansion and deep reef refugia under a changing climate.

  8. Impact of flow conditions on ammonium uptake and microbial community structure in benthic biofilms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arnon, Shai; Yanuka, Keren; Nejidat, Ali

    2010-05-01

    Excess nitrogen in surface waters is widely recognized to be a major global problem that adversely affects ecosystems, human health, and the economy. Today, most efforts to understand and model nutrient dynamics at large scales relies on macro-scale parameterization, such as mean channel geometry and velocity with uniform flow assumptions, as well as gross averages of in-situ nutrient transformation rates. However, there is increasing evidence that nutrient transformations in hyporheic zone are regulated by coupling between physical, chemical, and microbiological processes. Ignoring this greatly hinders the estimation of average biochemical transformation rates under the variable flow conditions found in aquatic systems. We used a combination of macro- and micro-scale observations in laboratory flumes to show that interplay between hydrodynamic transport, redox gradients, and microbial metabolism controls ammonium utilization by hyporheic microbial communities. Biofilm structural characteristics were quantified using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and real time PCR, while redox and pH gradients were measured using microelectrodes. We found that overlying velocities had profound effect on ammonium uptake due to mass transfer of ammonium from the bulk water to the benthic biofilms, but also due to the delivery of oxygen into the sediment bed. Under laminar flow conditions we didn't observe any change of ammonium uptake as a response to increase in overlying velocity. However, under non-laminar conditions we observe monotonic increase in ammonium uptake, with the greatest uptake under the fastest flow condition. We will discuss ammonium uptake rates results in the context of the different microbial communities and the micro-scale observations that were obtained using the microelectrodes. We anticipate that combined knowledge of the response of the microbial community and bulk nitrogen utilization rates to flow conditions will support the development of

  9. Long-Term Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Monitoring to Assess Pollution Abatement Effectiveness

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, John G; Brandt, Craig C; Christensen, Sigurd W

    2011-01-01

    The benthic macroinvertebrate community of East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) in East Tennessee was monitored for 18 years to evaluate the effectiveness of a water pollution control program implemented at a major United States (U.S.) Department of Energy facility. Several actions were implemented to reduce and control releases of pollutants into the headwaters of the stream. Four of the most significant actions were implemented during different time periods, which allowed assessment of each action. Macroinvertebrate samples were collected annually in April from three locations in EFPC (EFK24, EFK23, and EFK14) and two nearby reference streams from 1986 through 2003. Significant improvements occurred in the macroinvertebrate community at the headwater sites (EFK24 and EFK23) after implementation of each action, while changes detected 9 km further downstream (EFK14) could not be clearly attributed to any of the actions. Because the stream was impacted at its origin, invertebrate recolonization was primarily limited to aerial immigration, thus, recovery has been slow. As recovery progressed, abundances of small pollution-tolerant taxa (e.g., Orthocladiinae chironomids) decreased and longer lived taxa colonized (e.g., hydropsychid caddisflies, riffle beetles, Baetis). While assessments lasting three to four years may be long enough to detect a response to new pollution controls at highly impacted locations, more time may be needed to understand the full effects. Studies on the effectiveness of pollution controls can be improved if impacted and reference sites are selected to maximize spatial and temporal trending, and if a multidisciplinary approach is used to broadly assess environmental responses (e.g., water quality trends, invertebrate and fish community assessments, toxicity testing, etc.).

  10. Long-Term Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Monitoring to Assess Pollution Abatement Effectiveness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, John G.; Brandt, Craig C.; Christensen, Sigurd W.

    2011-06-01

    The benthic macroinvertebrate community of East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) in East Tennessee was monitored for 18 years to evaluate the effectiveness of a water pollution control program implemented at a major United States (U.S.) Department of Energy facility. Several actions were implemented to reduce and control releases of pollutants into the headwaters of the stream. Four of the most significant actions were implemented during different time periods, which allowed assessment of each action. Macroinvertebrate samples were collected annually in April from three locations in EFPC (EFK24, EFK23, and EFK14) and two nearby reference streams from 1986 through 2003. Significant improvements occurred in the macroinvertebrate community at the headwater sites (EFK24 and EFK23) after implementation of each action, while changes detected 9 km further downstream (EFK14) could not be clearly attributed to any of the actions. Because the stream was impacted at its origin, invertebrate recolonization was primarily limited to aerial immigration, thus, recovery has been slow. As recovery progressed, abundances of small pollution-tolerant taxa (e.g., Orthocladiinae chironomids) decreased and longer lived taxa colonized (e.g., hydropsychid caddisflies, riffle beetles, Baetis). While assessments lasting three to four years may be long enough to detect a response to new pollution controls at highly impacted locations, more time may be needed to understand the full effects. Studies on the effectiveness of pollution controls can be improved if impacted and reference sites are selected to maximize spatial and temporal trending, and if a multidisciplinary approach is used to broadly assess environmental responses (e.g., water quality trends, invertebrate and fish community assessments, toxicity testing, etc.).

  11. Effects of two classification strategies on a Benthic Community Index for streams in the Northern Lakes and Forests Ecoregion

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Butcher, Jason T.; Stewart, Paul M.; Simon, Thomas P.

    2003-01-01

    Ninety-four sites were used to analyze the effects of two different classification strategies on the Benthic Community Index (BCI). The first, a priori classification, reflected the wetland status of the streams; the second, a posteriori classification, used a bio-environmental analysis to select classification variables. Both classifications were examined by measuring classification strength and testing differences in metric values with respect to group membership. The a priori (wetland) classification strength (83.3%) was greater than the a posteriori (bio-environmental) classification strength (76.8%). Both classifications found one metric that had significant differences between groups. The original index was modified to reflect the wetland classification by re-calibrating the scoring criteria for percent Crustacea and Mollusca. A proposed refinement to the original Benthic Community Index is suggested. This study shows the importance of using hypothesis-driven classifications, as well as exploratory statistical analysis, to evaluate alternative ways to reveal environmental variability in biological assessment tools.

  12. PAH effects on meio- and microbial benthic communities strongly depend on bioavailability.

    PubMed

    Lindgren, J Fredrik; Hassellöv, Ida-Maja; Dahllöf, Ingela

    2014-01-01

    bioavailability are important to include. In addition, these results add to the understanding that bioavailability measurements of PAHs are a more correct assessment compared to measurements of total PAH concentrations, and need to be included when estimating effects of PAHs in marine benthic communities.

  13. Taxonomic and Functional Metagenomic Signature of Turfs in the Abrolhos Reef System (Brazil)

    PubMed Central

    Walter, Juline M.; Tschoeke, Diogo A.; Meirelles, Pedro M.; de Oliveira, Louisi; Leomil, Luciana; Tenório, Márcio; Valle, Rogério; Salomon, Paulo S.; Thompson, Cristiane C.; Thompson, Fabiano L.

    2016-01-01

    Turfs are widespread assemblages (consisting of microbes and algae) that inhabit reef systems. They are the most abundant benthic component in the Abrolhos reef system (Brazil), representing greater than half the coverage of the entire benthic community. Their presence is associated with a reduction in three-dimensional coral reef complexity and decreases the habitats available for reef biodiversity. Despite their importance, the taxonomic and functional diversity of turfs remain unclear. We performed a metagenomics and pigments profile characterization of turfs from the Abrolhos reefs. Turf microbiome primarily encompassed Proteobacteria (mean 40.57% ± s.d. 10.36, N = 1.548,192), Cyanobacteria (mean 35.04% ± s.d. 15.5, N = 1.337,196), and Bacteroidetes (mean 11.12% ± s.d. 4.25, N = 424,185). Oxygenic and anoxygenic phototrophs, chemolithotrophs, and aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic (AANP) bacteria showed a conserved functional trait of the turf microbiomes. Genes associated with oxygenic photosynthesis, AANP, sulfur cycle (S oxidation, and DMSP consumption), and nitrogen metabolism (N2 fixation, ammonia assimilation, dissimilatory nitrate and nitrite ammonification) were found in the turf microbiomes. Principal component analyses of the most abundant taxa and functions showed that turf microbiomes differ from the other major Abrolhos benthic microbiomes (i.e., corals and rhodoliths) and seawater. Taken together, these features suggest that turfs have a homogeneous functional core across the Abrolhos Bank, which holds diverse microbial guilds when comparing with other benthic organisms. PMID:27548380

  14. Influence of landscape structure on reef fish assemblages

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grober-Dunsmore, R.; Frazer, T.K.; Beets, J.P.; Lindberg, W.J.; Zwick, P.; Funicelli, N.A.

    2008-01-01

    Management of tropical marine environments calls for interdisciplinary studies and innovative methodologies that consider processes occurring over broad spatial scales. We investigated relationships between landscape structure and reef fish assemblage structure in the US Virgin Islands. Measures of landscape structure were transformed into a reduced set of composite indices using principal component analyses (PCA) to synthesize data on the spatial patterning of the landscape structure of the study reefs. However, composite indices (e.g., habitat diversity) were not particularly informative for predicting reef fish assemblage structure. Rather, relationships were interpreted more easily when functional groups of fishes were related to individual habitat features. In particular, multiple reef fish parameters were strongly associated with reef context. Fishes responded to benthic habitat structure at multiple spatial scales, with various groups of fishes each correlated to a unique suite of variables. Accordingly, future experiments should be designed to test functional relationships based on the ecology of the organisms of interest. Our study demonstrates that landscape-scale habitat features influence reef fish communities, illustrating promise in applying a landscape ecology approach to better understand factors that structure coral reef ecosystems. Furthermore, our findings may prove useful in design of spatially-based conservation approaches such as marine protected areas (MPAs), because landscape-scale metrics may serve as proxies for areas with high species diversity and abundance within the coral reef landscape. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  15. Assessing Caribbean Shallow and Mesophotic Reef Fish Communities Using Baited-Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) and Diver-Operated Video (DOV) Survey Techniques

    PubMed Central

    Macaya-Solis, Consuelo; Exton, Dan A.; Gress, Erika; Wright, Georgina; Rogers, Alex D.

    2016-01-01

    Fish surveys form the backbone of reef monitoring and management initiatives throughout the tropics, and understanding patterns in biases between techniques is crucial if outputs are to address key objectives optimally. Often biases are not consistent across natural environmental gradients such as depth, leading to uncertainty in interpretation of results. Recently there has been much interest in mesophotic reefs (reefs from 30–150 m depth) as refuge habitats from fishing pressure, leading to many comparisons of reef fish communities over depth gradients. Here we compare fish communities using stereo-video footage recorded via baited remote underwater video (BRUV) and diver-operated video (DOV) systems on shallow and mesophotic reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean. We show inconsistent responses across families, species and trophic groups between methods across the depth gradient. Fish species and family richness were higher using BRUV at both depth ranges, suggesting that BRUV is more appropriate for recording all components of the fish community. Fish length distributions were not different between methods on shallow reefs, yet BRUV recorded more small fish on mesophotic reefs. However, DOV consistently recorded greater relative fish community biomass of herbivores, suggesting that studies focusing on herbivores should consider using DOV. Our results highlight the importance of considering what component of reef fish community researchers and managers are most interested in surveying when deciding which survey technique to use across natural gradients such as depth. PMID:27959907

  16. Herbivore space use influences coral reef recovery

    PubMed Central

    Eynaud, Yoan; McNamara, Dylan E.; Sandin, Stuart A.

    2016-01-01

    Herbivores play an important role in marine communities. On coral reefs, the diversity and unique feeding behaviours found within this functional group can have a comparably diverse set of impacts in structuring the benthic community. Here, using a spatially explicit model of herbivore foraging, we explore how the spatial pattern of grazing behaviours impacts the recovery of a reef ecosystem, considering movements at two temporal scales—short term (e.g. daily foraging patterns) and longer term (e.g. monthly movements across the landscape). Model simulations suggest that more spatially constrained herbivores are more effective at conferring recovery capability by providing a favourable environment to coral recruitment and growth. Results also show that the composition of food available to the herbivore community is linked directly to the pattern of space use by herbivores. To date, most studies of variability among the impacts of herbivore species have considered the diversity of feeding modes and mouthparts. Our work provides a complementary view of spatial patterns of foraging, revealing that variation in movement behaviours alone can affect patterns of benthic change, and thus broadens our view of realized links between herbivore diversity and reef recovery. PMID:27429784

  17. Herbivore space use influences coral reef recovery.

    PubMed

    Eynaud, Yoan; McNamara, Dylan E; Sandin, Stuart A

    2016-06-01

    Herbivores play an important role in marine communities. On coral reefs, the diversity and unique feeding behaviours found within this functional group can have a comparably diverse set of impacts in structuring the benthic community. Here, using a spatially explicit model of herbivore foraging, we explore how the spatial pattern of grazing behaviours impacts the recovery of a reef ecosystem, considering movements at two temporal scales-short term (e.g. daily foraging patterns) and longer term (e.g. monthly movements across the landscape). Model simulations suggest that more spatially constrained herbivores are more effective at conferring recovery capability by providing a favourable environment to coral recruitment and growth. Results also show that the composition of food available to the herbivore community is linked directly to the pattern of space use by herbivores. To date, most studies of variability among the impacts of herbivore species have considered the diversity of feeding modes and mouthparts. Our work provides a complementary view of spatial patterns of foraging, revealing that variation in movement behaviours alone can affect patterns of benthic change, and thus broadens our view of realized links between herbivore diversity and reef recovery.

  18. Effects of the bloom of harmful benthic dinoflagellate Ostreopsis cf. ovata on the microphytobenthos community in the northern Adriatic Sea.

    PubMed

    Accoroni, Stefano; Romagnoli, Tiziana; Pichierri, Salvatore; Totti, Cecilia

    2016-05-01

    Composition and temporal variation of the microphytobenthos communities of the Conero Riviera (northern Adriatic Sea) were investigated in the course of an annual cycle, focusing on their relationships with blooms of the benthic dinoflagellate Ostreopsis cf. ovata. Sampling was carried out from March 2009 to March 2010 on undisturbed benthic substrata (macroalgae and pebbles). Samples for the study of microphytobenthos were collected with a monthly frequency, while those for the study of Ostreopsis bloom weekly. Benthic diatoms dominated the microphytobenthos communities for most of the annual cycle (except the summer), both in terms of abundance and biomass. In summer, cyanobacteria were dominant (54.04±9.18 and 24.29±11.11% of total abundance and biomass, respectively), while benthic dinoflagellates were an important component of the community in terms of biomass only at the peak of the Ostreopsis bloom in late summer (up to 91% of the total biomass). Among diatoms, the most abundant forms throughout the year were motile species (77.5±3.71% of the population), while erect diatoms formed the majority of the biomass in winter and spring (48.66±16.66 and 48.05±5.56% of total population, respectively). Diatoms were mainly affected by DIN availability, while the patterns of biomass of O. cf. ovata and cyanobacteria were related to salinity and temperature. The biomass of Ostreopsis was also affected by the availability of phosphorus. The results of this study suggest that the proliferation of Ostreopsis affected the structure of the benthic diatom community: motile diatoms were significantly more abundant during the Ostreopsis bloom peak than during the rest of summer, probably because they benefited from the abundant mucilaginous mat covering the benthic substrata. In the course of the O. cf. ovata bloom the diversity of the microphytobenthos was significantly lower than during the rest of the year, suggesting an influence of both the shading produced by the

  19. Effect of sample area and sieve size on benthic macrofaunal community condition assessments in California enclosed bays and estuaries.

    PubMed

    Hammerstrom, Kamille K; Ranasinghe, J Ananda; Weisberg, Stephen B; Oliver, John S; Fairey, W Russell; Slattery, Peter N; Oakden, James M

    2012-10-01

    Benthic macrofauna are used extensively for environmental assessment, but the area sampled and sieve sizes used to capture animals often differ among studies. Here, we sampled 80 sites using 3 different sized sampling areas (0.1, 0.05, 0.0071 m(2)) and sieved those sediments through each of 2 screen sizes (0.5, 1 mm) to evaluate their effect on number of individuals, number of species, dominance, nonmetric multidimensional scaling (MDS) ordination, and benthic community condition indices that are used to assess sediment quality in California. Sample area had little effect on abundance but substantially affected numbers of species, which are not easily scaled to a standard area. Sieve size had a substantial effect on both measures, with the 1-mm screen capturing only 74% of the species and 68% of the individuals collected in the 0.5-mm screen. These differences, though, had little effect on the ability to differentiate samples along gradients in ordination space. Benthic indices generally ranked sample condition in the same order regardless of gear, although the absolute scoring of condition was affected by gear type. The largest differences in condition assessment were observed for the 0.0071-m(2) gear. Benthic indices based on numbers of species were more affected than those based on relative abundance, primarily because we were unable to scale species number to a common area as we did for abundance.

  20. Setting the maximum ecological potential of benthic communities, to assess ecological status, in heavily morphologically-modified estuarine water bodies.

    PubMed

    Borja, Ángel; Chust, Guillem; del Campo, Andrea; González, Manuel; Hernández, Carlos

    2013-06-15

    Investigations on setting benthic macroinvertebrates reference conditions in natural waters have increased recently. Under the European Water Framework Directive, importance is given to research in morphological heavily-modified water bodies (HMWBs), which are very common in countries with high human pressure. However, research has not been undertaken on setting the maximum ecological potential (MEP), as a reference in HMWB. The objective of the present investigation is to set the MEP of two metrics (diversity and richness), used in assessing the ecological status in different benthic indices. The Oiartzun estuary (Basque Country) is used as a case study, which changed morphologically in the 19th Century, following harbour construction. Data obtained from 1874 and the present were used to model changes in currents, water residence time, salinity, volume, and intertidal area. Benthic macroinvertebrate data, from 1995 to 2011, were used to predict 19th Century and present MEP. Changes in the estuary were described: loss of all of the intertidal areas; doubling of the volume; residence time, changing from 2 to 95 days; current velocity reduced by 50%; salinity increase. All these factors have led to changes in the benthic communities and the structural variables. Predicted richness and diversity, for 1874, were lower (48-76%) than those at present. Taking into account the differences between natural and modified waters, it is proposed to utilize 75% of the natural reference conditions, as the MEP values for Basque HMWB.

  1. The influence of fire-coral colony size and agonistic behaviour of territorial damselfish on associated coral reef fish communities.

    PubMed

    Leal, Isabela Carolina Silva; de Araújo, Maria Elisabeth; da Cunha, Simone Rabelo; Pereira, Pedro Henrique Cipresso

    2015-07-01

    Branching hydrocorals from the genus Millepora play an important ecological role in South Atlantic reefs, where branching scleractinian corals are absent. Previous studies have shown a high proportion of reef fish species using branching fire-coral colonies as shelter, breeding, and feeding sites. However, the effects of Millepora spp. colony size and how the agonistic behaviour of a competitive damselfish affect the associated reef fish community are still unknown. The present study examined how fire-coral colony volume and the presence of a highly territorial and aggressive damselfish (Brazilian endemic Stegastes fuscus) affects the reef fish community associated with the fire-coral Millepora alcicornis. M. alcicornis colonies were surveyed from September 2012 to April 2013 at Tamandaré Reefs off Northeast Brazil. Our results show that the abundance and richness of coral associated fish was positively correlated with M. alcicornis coral colony volume. Additionally, behaviour of S. fuscus, the most abundant reef fish species found associated with fire-coral colonies (almost 57% of the fish community), was also influenced by fire-coral colony volume. There was a clear trend of increased agonistic behaviour and feeding on coral polyps as colony volume increased. This trend was reversed for the non-occupational swimming category, which decreased as M. alcicornis colony volume increased. Behavioural ontogenetic changes were also detected for S. fuscus individuals. Juveniles mainly showed two distinct behaviours: sheltered on coral branches and feeding on coral polyps. In contrast, adults presented greater equitability among the behavioural categories, mostly non-occupational swimming around coral colonies and agonistic behaviour. Lastly, S. fuscus individuals actively defended fire-coral colonies from intruders. A large number of agonistic interactions occurred against potential food competitors, which were mainly roving herbivores, omnivores, and sessile

  2. Indications for algae-degrading benthic microbial communities in deep-sea sediments along the Antarctic Polar Front

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emil Ruff, S.; Probandt, David; Zink