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Distribution models of temperate habitat-forming species on the continental shelf in eastern Australia: setting the baseline and predicting future changes


Marzloff, MP and Oliver, ECJ and Barrett, N and Holbrook, N and James, L and Johnson, CR, Distribution models of temperate habitat-forming species on the continental shelf in eastern Australia: setting the baseline and predicting future changes, Species on the Move Conference Program, 09-12 February 2016, Hobart, Tasmania (2016) [Conference Extract]

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Habitat-formers (e.g. kelp beds, corals, sessile invertebrate assemblages) are key to the structure and functioning of reef ecosystems worldwide. In southeast Australia, a region identified as a global hotspot for climate-driven ocean warming, the structure and distribution of deep (> 30 m) benthic sessile communities are poorly known given these habitats are hard to quantitatively survey. Using high-‐resolution imagery of the seafloor from a recent national-scale AUV‐based survey program, we establish a critical baseline about the latitudinal gradient in benthic community composition from 27S to 43S on the eastern seaboard of Australia. Large-scale latitudinal variability between three major community types (sub-tropical, warm temperate and cool temperate) mostly correlates with primary productivity and temperature climatology, while local scale variability relates well with depth. Using environmental variables that capture recent and future climatology both in terms of means and extremes (frequency and magnitude), we develop alternative distribution models for several habitat-‐forming species. Our models characterise the optimal environmental window of individual morphospecies, discriminate between different types of latitudinal distribution (e.g. truncated or continuous), and identify potential indicator morphospecies more likely to respond to climate-driven changes in ocean conditions. Model predictions under projected climate change provide some insights on the potential effects of ongoing and future ocean changes on these deep reef communities. Our study provides an important benchmark to detect and predict future climate-driven changes in southeastern Australia, and our methodology has general applicability for monitoring of deep reef environments.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, deep reef communities, seafloor imagery, benthic invertebrates, temperate reefs, habitat formers, distribution modelling, effects of climate change, East Australian Current, eastern temperate Australia
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Ecosystem function
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Marzloff, MP (Dr Martin Marzloff)
UTAS Author:Oliver, ECJ (Dr Eric Oliver)
UTAS Author:Barrett, N (Associate Professor Neville Barrett)
UTAS Author:Holbrook, N (Professor Neil Holbrook)
UTAS Author:James, L (Ms Lainey James)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CR (Professor Craig Johnson)
ID Code:107671
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2016-03-22
Last Modified:2016-03-22

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