Exceptional biodiversity of the cryptofaunal decapods in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean

Head, Catherine E.I., Bonsall, Michael B., Jenkins, Tom L., Koldewey, Heather, Pratchett, Morgan S., Taylor, Michelle L., and Rogers, Alex D. (2018) Exceptional biodiversity of the cryptofaunal decapods in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 135. pp. 636-647.

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Abstract

The Chagos Archipelago is geographically remote and isolated from most direct anthropogenic pressures. Here, we quantify the abundance and diversity of decapod crustaceans inhabiting dead coral colonies, representing a standardised microhabitat, across the Archipelago. Using morphological and molecular techniques we recorded 1868 decapods from 164 nominal species within 54 dead coral colonies, but total species estimates (Chao1 estimator) calculate at least 217 species. Galatheids were the most dominant taxa, though alpheids and hip-polytids were also very abundant. 32% of species were rare, and 46% of species were found at only one atoll. This prevalence of rarer species has been reported in other cryptofauna studies, suggesting these assemblages maybe comprised of low-abundance species. This study provides the first estimate of diversity for reef cryptofauna in Chagos, which will serve as a useful baseline for global comparisons of coral reef biodiversity.

Item ID: 56131
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Decapods, Cryptofauna, Coral reefs, Chagos Archipelago, Rare species, Species richness
Copyright Information: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science (BPMS), Selfridges' Project Ocean (SPO)
Projects and Grants: NERC CASE Studentship NE/1018298/1
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2018 09:37
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
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