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Changes in deep reef benthic community composition across a latitudinal and environmental gradient in temperate Eastern Australia


James, LC and Marzloff, MP and Barrett, N and Friedman, A and Johnson, CR, Changes in deep reef benthic community composition across a latitudinal and environmental gradient in temperate Eastern Australia, Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 565 pp. 35-52. ISSN 0171-8630 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 the Authors and IMAS. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

DOI: doi:10.3354/meps11989


Deep reef assemblages in south-eastern Australia are poorly described, and have been surveyed by only a few studies conducted over small spatial scales. Here, we characterise the composition of deep (~30-90 m depth) sessile invertebrate communities from sub-tropical (27°S) to temperate eastern Australia (43°S). We estimated the cover of 51 preselected invertebrate types from over 1700 seafloor images collected by an autonomous underwater vehicle from >105 km of transects across the study region. Seafloor images were assessed using 3 alternative schemes reflecting different resolution of benthic invertebrate groupings, including the broad- level Collaborative and Automated Tools for Analysis of Marine Imagery project (‘CATAMI’) classification recently developed as a generic scoring approach for seafloor imagery. Ordination using canonical analysis of principal coordinates indicated a clear latitudinal gradient in benthic community composition and, particularly when based on individual morphotypes, 3 distinct community types (sub-tropical, warm temperate and cool temperate). Changes in community structure mostly correlated with primary productivity and the temperature climatology, while local-scale variability in community composition was most related to depth. Along with the gradual shift in deep reef community composition across latitudes, region-specific sessile invertebrates might serve as useful indicators of change in these deep benthic communities under future changes in ocean climate in the region, which has been identified as a global hotspot for ocean warming. Our methodological approach has general applicability for large-scale surveying and monitoring of benthic communities using underwater imagery.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Deep marine reef, autonomous underwater vehicle, AUV, benthic invertebrate, community composition, climate change
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Ecosystem adaptation to climate change
UTAS Author:James, LC (Ms Lainey James)
UTAS Author:Marzloff, MP (Dr Martin Marzloff)
UTAS Author:Barrett, N (Associate Professor Neville Barrett)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CR (Professor Craig Johnson)
ID Code:115193
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-03-09
Last Modified:2018-04-20
Downloads:132 View Download Statistics

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