Aggregation influences coral species richness at multiple spatial scales

Karlson, Ronald H., Cornell, Howard V., and Hughes, Terence P. (2007) Aggregation influences coral species richness at multiple spatial scales. Ecology, 88 (1). pp. 170-177.

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The spatial dispersion of individuals across multiple spatial scales can significantly influence biodiversity patterns. Here we characterize the dispersion of corals in reef assemblages distributed across a 10 000-km longitudinal biodiversity gradient from Indonesia to the Society Islands, using a multiscale sampling design. Our results indicate that most coral species were aggregated among 10-m transect samples across this vast distance. Using observed and randomized species sampling curves, we show that aggregation reduced the number of species per transect, site, and island sample on average by 13–27%. Across site, island, and regional scales, aggregation also reduced the area under species sampling curves by an average of 2.7–6.5%. The level of aggregation was relatively constant across spatial scales within regions and did not vary among habitats. However, there was significant variation among regions using transect samples across individual sites. Specifically, aggregation reduced the species richness per transect and the area under species sampling curves nearly twice as much in the Indonesian biodiversity hotspot than in the Society Islands. As a significant component of the spatial structure of coral assemblages, aggregation should be integrated into our understanding of coral community dynamics and the development of conservation strategies designed to protect these communities.

Item ID: 2452
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1939-9170
Keywords: spatial; dispersion of corals; aggregation; species; coral assemblages; coral structure; biodiversity; community structure; coral reefs; dispersion; spatial scale; species sampling curves
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Reproduced with permission from the Ecological Society of America.

Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2009 04:59
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969902 Marine Oceanic Processes (excl. Climate Related) @ 100%
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