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Diverse Staghorn Coral Fauna on the Mesophotic Reefs of North-East Australia

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dc.contributor Australian Institute Of Marine Science
dc.contributor James Cook Univ
dc.contributor James Cook University
dc.contributor Global Change Inst
dc.contributor University Of Queensland
dc.contributor Queensland Museum
dc.contributor Univ Queensland
dc.contributor Australian Inst Marine Sci
dc.contributor Arc Ctr Excellence Coral Reef Studies BONGAERTS, PIM MUIR, PAUL WALLACE, CARDEN BRIDGE, TOM C. L. 2017-03-21T01:04:29Z 2016-09-06T03:43:38Z 2017-03-21T01:04:29Z 2019-07-08T02:21:03Z 2016-09-06T03:43:38Z 2017-03-21T01:04:29Z 2016-09-06T03:43:38Z 2019-07-08T02:21:03Z 2015-02-25
dc.identifier.citation Muir P, Wallace C, Bridge TCL, Bongaerts P (2015) Diverse staghorn coral fauna on the mesophotic reefs of North-East Australia. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0117933 en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.description.abstract Concern for the future of reef-building corals in conditions of rising sea temperatures combined with recent technological advances has led to a renewed interest in documenting the biodiversity of mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) and their potential to provide lineage continuation for coral taxa. Here, we examine species diversity of staghorn corals (genera Acropora and Isopora) in the mesophotic zone (below 30 m depth) of the Great Barrier Reef and western Coral Sea. Using specimen-based records we found 38 staghorn species in the mesophotic zone, including three species newly recorded for Australia and five species that only occurred below 30 m. Staghorn corals became scarce at depths below 50 m but were found growing in-situ to 73 m depth. Of the 76 staghorn coral species recorded for shallow waters (depth <= 30 m) in north-east Australia, 21% extended to mesophotic depths with a further 22% recorded only rarely to 40 m depth. Extending into the mesophotic zone provided shallow water species no significant advantage in terms of their estimated global range-size relative to species restricted to shallow waters (means 86.2 X 10(6) km(2) and 85.7 X 10(6) km(2) respectively, p = 0.98). We found four staghorn coral species at mesophotic depths on the Great Barrier Reef that were previously considered rare and endangered on the basis of their limited distribution in central Indonesia and the far western Pacific. Colonies below 40 m depth showed laterally flattened branches, light and fragile skeletal structure and increased spacing between branches and corallites. The morphological changes are discussed in relation to decreased light, water movement and down-welling coarse sediments. Staghorn corals have long been regarded as typical shallow-water genera, but here we demonstrate the significant contribution of this group to the region's mesophotic fauna and the importance of considering MCEs in reef biodiversity estimates and management.
dc.description.sponsorship This work was supported by the Catlin Seaview Survey, Queensland Museum, James Cook University. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work was supported by the Catlin Seaview Survey, Queensland Museum, James Cook University. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
dc.description.uri en_US
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher PLoS en_US
dc.relation.ispartof Null
dc.rights Attribution 3.0 Australia *
dc.rights.uri *
dc.subject Revision
dc.subject Ecology
dc.subject Science & Technology - Other Topics
dc.subject Building Corals
dc.subject Region
dc.subject Acropora
dc.subject Multidisciplinary Sciences
dc.subject Depth
dc.subject Damage
dc.subject Zonation
dc.subject Isopora
dc.subject Scleractinia
dc.title Diverse Staghorn Coral Fauna on the Mesophotic Reefs of North-East Australia
dc.type journal article en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0117933
dc.identifier.wos WOS:000350168700044

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