Submerged banks in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, greatly increase available coral reef habitat

Harris, Peter T., Bridge, Thomas C.L., Beaman, Robin J., Webster, Jody M., Nichol, Scott L., and Brooke, Brendan P. (2013) Submerged banks in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, greatly increase available coral reef habitat. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 70 (2). pp. 284-293.

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Abstract

Anthropogenic global ocean warming is predicted to cause bleaching of many near-sea-surface (NSS) coral reefs, placing increased importance on deeper reef habitats to maintain coral reef biodiversity and ecosystem function. However, the location and spatial extent of many deep reef habitats is poorly known. The question arises: how common are deep reef habitats in comparison with NSS reefs? We used a dataset from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) to show that only about 39% of available seabed on submerged banks is capped by NSS coral reefs (16 110 km²); the other 61% of bank area (25 600 km²) is submerged at a mean depth of around 27 m and represents potential deep reef habitat that is spatially distributed along the GBR continental shelf in the same latitudinal distribution as NSS reefs. Out of 25 600 km² of submerged bank area, predictive habitat modelling indicates that more than half (around 14 000 km²) is suitable habitat for coral communities.

Item ID: 24246
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-9289
Keywords: benthic habitats, biodiversity, Great Barrier Reef, mesophotic, refugia, submerged banks
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2013 02:02
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060808 Invertebrate Biology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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