Benthic Crustacea on coral reefs: a quantitative survey

Kramer, M.J., Bellwood, D.R., and Bellwood, O. (2014) Benthic Crustacea on coral reefs: a quantitative survey. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 511. pp. 105-116.

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Benthic crustaceans are an important component of the coral reef fauna, yet our understanding of their ecological significance is incomplete. To determine the community structure, abundance, biomass and productivity of benthic Crustacea at Lizard Island, a mid-shelf reef on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, we investigated 5 major microhabitats: dead coral, coral rubble, sand, epilithic algal matrix (EAM) and fine-branching live coral. Crustacean communities differed significantly among habitats, with the exception of dead coral and coral rubble. Dead coral was the most important microhabitat type in terms of crustacean abundance (7838 ± 628 ind. 100 cm-2, mean ± SE), biomass (0.75 ± 0.13 g m-2, wet weight) and estimated productivity (0.17 ± 0.043 g 100 cm-2 yr-1 ash free dry weight). These values were 2 to 3 orders of magnitude greater than those for the least important habitats (EAM and fine-branching live coral). Despite their abundance, the average crustacean body length was just 0.79 ± 0.32 mm, largely due to the dominance of harpacticoid copepods. In contrast, decapods exhibited very low abundances, but yielded the greatest biomass and productivity and were particularly abundant in dead coral and coral rubble. The results highlight the importance of small crustaceans and dead coral microhabitats as valuable contributors to the trophic structure of coral reefs.

Item ID: 37688
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: Crustacea, Decapoda, dead coral, coral rubble, biomass, productivity
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2015 04:34
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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