Biodiversity of shallow subtidal, under-rock invertebrates in Europe's first marine reserve: effects of physical factors and scientific sampling

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Trowbridge, Cynthia D.
Kachmarik, Katy
Plowman, Caitlin Q.
Little, Colin
Stirling, Penny
McAllen, Rob
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At Lough Hyne Marine Reserve in SW Ireland, shallow subtidal, under-rock biodiversity was investigated to assess (i) any deleterious effects of scientific sampling and (ii) quantitative baseline community patterns. Comparisons were made between 10 sites with annual rock-turning disturbance and 10 with multi-decadal (historical) disturbance. At each site, shallow subtidal rocks (N = 1289 total) were lifted, organisms recorded, and rocks replaced in their original position. Biodiversity indices were calculated to evaluate how diversity varied with location within the lough, frequency of sampling disturbance, degree of hypoxia/anoxia, dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration, and number of rocks turned. The richness of solitary invertebrates surveyed in situ averaged 21 taxa per site with significantly more in the South Basin (near the lough's connection to the ocean) than in the North Basin. The Shannon-Wiener Index did not differ significantly with variables investigated. However, evenness was higher at annually disturbed sites than at historical ones where anemones with algal symbionts often dominated. Several sites were hypoxic to anoxic under the shallow subtidal rocks. Cup corals were most abundant in the South Basin; DO was a crucial explanatory variable of these sensitive species. Solitary ascidians were most abundant at South-Basin annual sites with DO levels being a highly significant explanatory variable.
Epilithic invertebrates , Dissolved oxygen , Lough Hyne , Marine reserve , Ireland , Shallow subtidal
Trowbridge, C. D., Kachmarik, K., Plowman, C. Q., Little, C., Stirling, P. and McAllen, R. (2017) 'Biodiversity of shallow subtidal, under-rock invertebrates in Europe's first marine reserve: Effects of physical factors and scientific sampling', Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 187, pp. 43-52. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2016.12.022
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