Drivers of species richness and abundance of marine macrophytes on shallow tropical reefs of north-western Australia

Ylva S. Olsen, Lydiane Mattio, Andrea Zavala Perez, Russ C. Babcock, Damian Thompson, Michael D. E. Haywood, John Keesing, Gary A. Kendrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim Marine macrophytes are important components of tropical reefs that are influenced by environmental conditions and biotic interactions. Here, we aimed to identify the factors that shape macrophyte communities on shallow reefs in a region with limited anthropogenic impacts, but that is influenced by periodic disturbances from cyclones and marine heatwaves. Location Pilbara coast, Western Australia. Methods Macrophyte species richness and biomass were assessed at 75 shallow reefs along 300 km of shoreline in November 2013 and May 2014. The influence of 28 predictor variables including seascape descriptors, physico-chemical variables, and herbivore abundances were evaluated using distance based linear models (DistLM), redundancy analyses (dbRDA), and full-subsets multiple regressions. Results We identified 188 macrophyte species; 60% were Rhodophyta, whereas Phaeophyceae made up 67% of the biomass. Macrophyte assemblages did not show any broad-scale patterns but a number of key drivers were identified, including sea surface temperature, salinity, and sediment uniformity. Two of the main predictors of macrophyte abundance and species richness were rugosity and coral cover rather than herbivory, unlike what has been demonstrated for many reefs globally. Availability of space therefore appears to be a major factor on these reefs and it is possible that macrophytes benefit from periodic disturbances as they can free up space through physical removal of organisms. Main conclusions Macrophyte assemblages along the Pilbara coast show no distinct large-scale patterns; instead, local biotic and environmental drivers such as rugosity appear to be structuring assemblages. We propose that natural disturbance plays a key role on these shallow reefs by increasing substrate availability. Data on the long-term community structure of macroalgae, in particular how communities respond to heatwaves and cyclones, would improve our ability to manage these reefs and predict potential "phase shifts" which can have severe ecological and economic consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-184
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Cite this

Olsen, Ylva S. ; Mattio, Lydiane ; Perez, Andrea Zavala ; Babcock, Russ C. ; Thompson, Damian ; Haywood, Michael D. E. ; Keesing, John ; Kendrick, Gary A. / Drivers of species richness and abundance of marine macrophytes on shallow tropical reefs of north-western Australia. In: Journal of Biogeography. 2019 ; Vol. 46, No. 1. pp. 170-184.
@article{c019ee7af94f4654a89ef4b7286ae056,
title = "Drivers of species richness and abundance of marine macrophytes on shallow tropical reefs of north-western Australia",
abstract = "Aim Marine macrophytes are important components of tropical reefs that are influenced by environmental conditions and biotic interactions. Here, we aimed to identify the factors that shape macrophyte communities on shallow reefs in a region with limited anthropogenic impacts, but that is influenced by periodic disturbances from cyclones and marine heatwaves. Location Pilbara coast, Western Australia. Methods Macrophyte species richness and biomass were assessed at 75 shallow reefs along 300 km of shoreline in November 2013 and May 2014. The influence of 28 predictor variables including seascape descriptors, physico-chemical variables, and herbivore abundances were evaluated using distance based linear models (DistLM), redundancy analyses (dbRDA), and full-subsets multiple regressions. Results We identified 188 macrophyte species; 60{\%} were Rhodophyta, whereas Phaeophyceae made up 67{\%} of the biomass. Macrophyte assemblages did not show any broad-scale patterns but a number of key drivers were identified, including sea surface temperature, salinity, and sediment uniformity. Two of the main predictors of macrophyte abundance and species richness were rugosity and coral cover rather than herbivory, unlike what has been demonstrated for many reefs globally. Availability of space therefore appears to be a major factor on these reefs and it is possible that macrophytes benefit from periodic disturbances as they can free up space through physical removal of organisms. Main conclusions Macrophyte assemblages along the Pilbara coast show no distinct large-scale patterns; instead, local biotic and environmental drivers such as rugosity appear to be structuring assemblages. We propose that natural disturbance plays a key role on these shallow reefs by increasing substrate availability. Data on the long-term community structure of macroalgae, in particular how communities respond to heatwaves and cyclones, would improve our ability to manage these reefs and predict potential {"}phase shifts{"} which can have severe ecological and economic consequences.",
keywords = "benthic habitats, community structure, environmental drivers, grazing, macroalgae, periodic disturbances, seagrasses, GREAT-BARRIER-REEF, PHASE-SHIFTS, CORAL-REEFS, COMMUNITY STRUCTURE, HERBIVOROUS FISHES, MACROALGAL COVER, WATER-QUALITY, PATTERNS, DIVERSITY, SEAGRASS",
author = "Olsen, {Ylva S.} and Lydiane Mattio and Perez, {Andrea Zavala} and Babcock, {Russ C.} and Damian Thompson and Haywood, {Michael D. E.} and John Keesing and Kendrick, {Gary A.}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1111/jbi.13470",
language = "English",
volume = "46",
pages = "170--184",
journal = "Journal of Biogeography",
issn = "0305-0270",
publisher = "John Wiley & Sons",
number = "1",

}

Drivers of species richness and abundance of marine macrophytes on shallow tropical reefs of north-western Australia. / Olsen, Ylva S.; Mattio, Lydiane; Perez, Andrea Zavala; Babcock, Russ C.; Thompson, Damian; Haywood, Michael D. E.; Keesing, John; Kendrick, Gary A.

In: Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 46, No. 1, 01.2019, p. 170-184.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Drivers of species richness and abundance of marine macrophytes on shallow tropical reefs of north-western Australia

AU - Olsen, Ylva S.

AU - Mattio, Lydiane

AU - Perez, Andrea Zavala

AU - Babcock, Russ C.

AU - Thompson, Damian

AU - Haywood, Michael D. E.

AU - Keesing, John

AU - Kendrick, Gary A.

PY - 2019/1

Y1 - 2019/1

N2 - Aim Marine macrophytes are important components of tropical reefs that are influenced by environmental conditions and biotic interactions. Here, we aimed to identify the factors that shape macrophyte communities on shallow reefs in a region with limited anthropogenic impacts, but that is influenced by periodic disturbances from cyclones and marine heatwaves. Location Pilbara coast, Western Australia. Methods Macrophyte species richness and biomass were assessed at 75 shallow reefs along 300 km of shoreline in November 2013 and May 2014. The influence of 28 predictor variables including seascape descriptors, physico-chemical variables, and herbivore abundances were evaluated using distance based linear models (DistLM), redundancy analyses (dbRDA), and full-subsets multiple regressions. Results We identified 188 macrophyte species; 60% were Rhodophyta, whereas Phaeophyceae made up 67% of the biomass. Macrophyte assemblages did not show any broad-scale patterns but a number of key drivers were identified, including sea surface temperature, salinity, and sediment uniformity. Two of the main predictors of macrophyte abundance and species richness were rugosity and coral cover rather than herbivory, unlike what has been demonstrated for many reefs globally. Availability of space therefore appears to be a major factor on these reefs and it is possible that macrophytes benefit from periodic disturbances as they can free up space through physical removal of organisms. Main conclusions Macrophyte assemblages along the Pilbara coast show no distinct large-scale patterns; instead, local biotic and environmental drivers such as rugosity appear to be structuring assemblages. We propose that natural disturbance plays a key role on these shallow reefs by increasing substrate availability. Data on the long-term community structure of macroalgae, in particular how communities respond to heatwaves and cyclones, would improve our ability to manage these reefs and predict potential "phase shifts" which can have severe ecological and economic consequences.

AB - Aim Marine macrophytes are important components of tropical reefs that are influenced by environmental conditions and biotic interactions. Here, we aimed to identify the factors that shape macrophyte communities on shallow reefs in a region with limited anthropogenic impacts, but that is influenced by periodic disturbances from cyclones and marine heatwaves. Location Pilbara coast, Western Australia. Methods Macrophyte species richness and biomass were assessed at 75 shallow reefs along 300 km of shoreline in November 2013 and May 2014. The influence of 28 predictor variables including seascape descriptors, physico-chemical variables, and herbivore abundances were evaluated using distance based linear models (DistLM), redundancy analyses (dbRDA), and full-subsets multiple regressions. Results We identified 188 macrophyte species; 60% were Rhodophyta, whereas Phaeophyceae made up 67% of the biomass. Macrophyte assemblages did not show any broad-scale patterns but a number of key drivers were identified, including sea surface temperature, salinity, and sediment uniformity. Two of the main predictors of macrophyte abundance and species richness were rugosity and coral cover rather than herbivory, unlike what has been demonstrated for many reefs globally. Availability of space therefore appears to be a major factor on these reefs and it is possible that macrophytes benefit from periodic disturbances as they can free up space through physical removal of organisms. Main conclusions Macrophyte assemblages along the Pilbara coast show no distinct large-scale patterns; instead, local biotic and environmental drivers such as rugosity appear to be structuring assemblages. We propose that natural disturbance plays a key role on these shallow reefs by increasing substrate availability. Data on the long-term community structure of macroalgae, in particular how communities respond to heatwaves and cyclones, would improve our ability to manage these reefs and predict potential "phase shifts" which can have severe ecological and economic consequences.

KW - benthic habitats

KW - community structure

KW - environmental drivers

KW - grazing

KW - macroalgae

KW - periodic disturbances

KW - seagrasses

KW - GREAT-BARRIER-REEF

KW - PHASE-SHIFTS

KW - CORAL-REEFS

KW - COMMUNITY STRUCTURE

KW - HERBIVOROUS FISHES

KW - MACROALGAL COVER

KW - WATER-QUALITY

KW - PATTERNS

KW - DIVERSITY

KW - SEAGRASS

U2 - 10.1111/jbi.13470

DO - 10.1111/jbi.13470

M3 - Article

VL - 46

SP - 170

EP - 184

JO - Journal of Biogeography

JF - Journal of Biogeography

SN - 0305-0270

IS - 1

ER -