Benthic diatom community composition in three regions of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Gottschalk, S, Uthicke, S, and Heimann, Kirsten (2007) Benthic diatom community composition in three regions of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Coral Reefs, 26 (2). pp. 345-357.

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Despite their ecological importance, very little is known about the taxonomy and ecology of benthic diatoms in coral-reef ecosystems. Diatom densities and community compositions were investigated in three distinct regions of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR): (a) Wet Tropics (WT), (b) Princess Charlotte Bay (PCB), and (c) the Outer Shelf (OS). About 209 taxa were observed in the GBR sediments studied, with an average abundance of 2.55 × 10^6 cells ml^−1 in the upper 1 cm of sediment. Total diatom abundances were about twice as high in inshore reefs of PCB and WT compared with OS reefs. A redundancy analysis (RDA) of diatom composition clearly grouped the three regions separately but showed little influence of grain size, nitrogen and organic carbon content of the sediments. The only distinct correlates were inorganic carbon and the distance to the mainland associated with OS communities. Analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) of diatom community composition revealed significant differences between all three regions. Indicator values showed that most highly abundant taxa occurred in all regions. However, several taxa were clearly identified as characteristic of particular regions. It is hypothesised that variations in nutrient and light availability are the most likely explanation for the observed differences in community composition.

Item ID: 1929
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: benthic diatoms, microphytobenthos, calcareous sediments, coral reefs, water quality, nutrient enrichment, water sediment system, microalgae, lagoon, phytoplankton, assmeblages, responses
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2008
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960508 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Mining Environments @ 100%
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