|Title:||Structure of Benthic Communities along the Taiwan Latitudinal Gradient||Authors:||Ribas-Deulofeu, Lauriane
De Palmas, Stéphane
Hsieh, Hernyi Justin
Chen, Chaolun Allen
|Keywords:||CORAL-REEF ECOSYSTEMS; CHINWAN INNER BAY; CLIMATE-CHANGE; WATER-QUALITY; OCEAN ACIDIFICATION; SPECIES-DIVERSITY; SOUTHERN TAIWAN; ALGAL TURFS; PHASE-SHIFT; RESILIENCE||Issue Date:||Aug-2016||Publisher:||PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE||Journal Volume:||11||Journal Issue:||8||Source:||PloS one||Abstract:||
The distribution and the structure of benthic assemblages vary with latitude. However, few studies have described benthic communities along large latitudinal gradients, and patterns of variation are not fully understood. Taiwan, lying between 21.90°N and 25.30°N, is located at the center of the Philippine-Japan arc and lies at the northern margin of coral reef development. A wide range of habitats is distributed along this latitudinal gradient, from extensive fringing coral reefs at the southern coast to non-reefal communities at the north. In this study, we examined the structure of benthic communities around Taiwan, by comparing its assemblages in four regions, analyzing the effects of the latitudinal gradient, and highlighting regional characteristics. A total of 25 sites, 125 transects, and 2,625 photographs were used to analyze the benthic communities. Scleractinian corals present an obvious gradient of increasing diversity from north to south, whereas macro-algae diversity is higher on the north-eastern coast. At the country scale, Taiwanese coral communities were dominated by turf algae (49%). At the regional scale, we observed an important heterogeneity that may be caused by local disturbances and habitat degradation that smooths out regional differences. In this context, our observations highlight the importance of managing local stressors responsible for reef degradation. Overall, this study provides an important baseline upon which future changes in benthic assemblages around Taiwan can be assessed.
|Appears in Collections:||海洋研究所|
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