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PloS one

Aspects of benthic decapod diversity and distribution from rocky nearshore habitat at geographically widely dispersed sites.


PMID 21533220

Abstract

Relationships of diversity, distribution and abundance of benthic decapods in intertidal and shallow subtidal waters to 10 m depth are explored based on data obtained using a standardized protocol of globally-distributed samples. Results indicate that decapod species richness overall is low within the nearshore, typically ranging from one to six taxa per site (mean = 4.5). Regionally the Gulf of Alaska decapod crustacean community structure was distinguishable by depth, multivariate analysis indicating increasing change with depth, where assemblages of the high and mid tide, low tide and 1 m, and 5 and 10 m strata formed three distinct groups. Univariate analysis showed species richness increasing from the high intertidal zone to 1 m subtidally, with distinct depth preferences among the 23 species. A similar depth trend but with peak richness at 5 m was observed when all global data were combined. Analysis of latitudinal trends, confined by data limitations, was equivocal on a global scale. While significant latitudinal differences existed in community structure among ecoregions, a semi-linear trend in changing community structure from the Arctic to lower latitudes did not hold when including tropical results. Among boreal regions the Canadian Atlantic was relatively species poor compared to the Gulf of Alaska, whereas the Caribbean and Sea of Japan appeared to be species hot spots. While species poor, samples from the Canadian Atlantic were the most diverse at the higher infraordinal level. Linking 11 environmental variables available for all sites to the best fit family-based biotic pattern showed a significant relationship, with the single best explanatory variable being the level of organic pollution and the best combination overall being organic pollution and primary productivity. While data limitations restrict conclusions in a global context, results are seen as a first-cut contribution useful in generating discussion and more in-depth work in the still poorly understood field of biodiversity distribution.

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