[Coral-List] Paper: Environmental gradients structure gorgonian assemblages in Indonesia

Sonia Rowley srowley at hawaii.edu
Sun Apr 22 20:23:05 EDT 2018

Dear All

Please find below a recent article entitled: "Environmental gradients
structure gorgonian assemblages on coral reefs in SE Sulawesi, Indonesia"
in Coral Reefs.


Indonesian coral reefs are the epicenter of marine biodiversity, yet are
under rapid anthropogenically induced decline. Therefore, ecological
monitoring of high diversity taxa is paramount to facilitate effective
management and conservation. This study presents an initial report from a
comprehensive survey of shallow-water (0–15 m) gorgonian assemblage
composition and structure across sites with varying habitat quality within
the Wakatobi Marine National Park (WMNP), SE Sulawesi, Indonesia. Current
estimates of over 90 morphospecies from 38 genera and 12 families within
the calcaxonian, holaxonian and scleraxonian groups are reported. This
extensive survey confirms high local gorgonian abundance, diversity and
species richness in the absence of anthropogenic influence and increasing
with depth. Notably, morphological variants of the zooxanthellate species Isis
hippuris Linnaeus, 1758, and Briareum Blainville, 1830, drive site and
habitat assemblage differences across environmental gradients.
Azooxanthellate taxa, particularly within the Plexauridae, drive species
richness and diversity with depth. Of the 14 predictor variables measured,
benthic characteristics, water flow and natural light explained just 30% of
gorgonian assemblage structure. Furthermore, zooxanthellate and
azooxanthellate taxa partitioned distinct gorgonian communities into two
trophic groups—autotrophs and heterotrophs, respectively—with contrasting
diversity and abundance patterns within and between study sites. This study
strongly supports the WMNP as an area of high regional gorgonian abundance
and diversity. Varying ecological patterns across environmental clines can
provide the foundation for future research and conservation management
strategies in some of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world.

Sonia J. Rowley PhD
Postdoctoral Research Affiliate
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
POST 713, 1680 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
+1 808 348 6224

Research Affiliate - Bishop Museum

More information about the Coral-List mailing list