Latitudinal biodiversity gradients of rocky intertidal assemblages: Spatial scales and complex associations with environmental factors

Hadiyanto Hadiyanto, Jane Prince, Renae K. Hovey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Latitudinal biodiversity gradients vary across taxonomic groups and spatial scales, and various environmental factors have been associated with those patterns. However, it remains unknown whether taxonomic groups with strong ecological associations have similar or different latitudinal patterns. Macroalgae are foundation assemblages on rocky intertidal shores and are often inhabited by invertebrates, predominantly polychaetes. This study analysed latitudinal patterns of macroalgae and their associated polychaetes at different spatial scales and determined how environmental factors influenced those patterns. Macroalgae and polychaetes were collected from transects within 38 rocky intertidal shores of Western Australia at 14 latitudes between 18° S and 34° S. Latitudinal gradients in species richness, diversity (Simpson's diversity index) and abundance were evaluated at transect, site and latitudinal scales. Relationships between environmental factors and rocky intertidal assemblages were analysed using piecewise structural equation modelling based on direct, indirect and complex models. Macroalgae showed increases in species richness, diversity and abundance at transect and site scales towards high latitudes, but species richness and diversity patterns were unclear at the latitudinal scale where transect and site data were pooled. In contrast, polychaete diversity decreased towards high latitudes, although this pattern was unclear at the transect scale. Polychaete richness and abundance tended to follow parabolic patterns that peaked at 27° S. Relationships between environmental factors and rocky intertidal assemblages were best described by a complex model, with significant relationships more often at transect and site scales. Sea surface temperatures showed the strongest relationship with macroalgal and polychaete distributions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12789
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Ecology
Volume45
Issue number2
Early online date2 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

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