Homogeneity of coral reef communities across 8 degrees of latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

M.B. Roberts, G.P. Jones, M.I. McCormick, P.L. Munday, S. Neale, S. Thorrold, V.S.N. Robitzch, M.L. Berumen
Marine Pollution Bulletin, volume 105, issue 2, pp. 558-565, (2016)

Homogeneity of coral reef communities across 8 degrees of latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

Keywords

Benthic cover, Biogeography, Coral reef fishes, Dissimilarity, Red Sea

Abstract

​Coral reef communities between 26.8°N and 18.6°N latitude in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea were surveyed to provide baseline data and an assessment of fine-scale biogeography of communities in this region. Forty reefs along 1100 km of coastline were surveyed using depth-stratified visual transects of fish and benthic communities. Fish abundance and benthic cover data were analyzed using multivariate approaches to investigate whether coral reef communities differed with latitude. A total of 215 fish species and 90 benthic categories were recorded on the surveys. There were no significant differences among locations in fish abundance, species richness, or among several diversity indices. Despite known environmental gradients within the Red Sea, the communities remained surprisingly similar. The communities do, however, exhibit subtle changes across this span of reefs that likely reflect the constrained distributions of several species of reef fish and benthic fauna.

Code

DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.11.024

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