A decadal analysis of bioeroding sponge cover on the inshore Great Barrier Reef

Ramsby, Blake D., Hoogenboom, Mia O., Whalan, Steve, Webster, Nicole S., and Thompson, Angus (2017) A decadal analysis of bioeroding sponge cover on the inshore Great Barrier Reef. Scientific Reports, 7.

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Abstract

Decreasing coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) may provide opportunities for rapid growth and expansion of other taxa. The bioeroding sponges Cliona spp. are strong competitors for space and may take advantage of coral bleaching, damage, and mortality. Benthic surveys of the inshore GBR (2005–2014) revealed that the percent cover of the most abundant bioeroding sponge species, Cliona orientalis, has not increased. However, considerable variation in C. orientalis cover, and change in cover over time, was evident between survey locations. We assessed whether biotic or environmental characteristics were associated with variation in C. orientalis distribution and abundance. The proportion of fine particles in the sediments was negatively associated with the presence-absence and the percent cover of C. orientalis, indicating that the sponge requires exposed habitat. The cover of corals and other sponges explained little variation in C. orientalis cover or distribution. The fastest increases in C. orientalis cover coincided with the lowest macroalgal cover and chlorophyll a concentration, highlighting the importance of macroalgal competition and local environmental conditions for this bioeroding sponge. Given the observed distribution and habitat preferences of C. orientalis, bioeroding sponges likely represent site-specific – rather than regional – threats to corals and reef accretion.

Item ID: 34623
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information:

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2018 22:44
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 60%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961104 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Marine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 60%
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