Small-scale variability dominates benthic coverage and diversity across the Jardines de la Reina, Cuba coral reef system

dc.contributor.author Hernández-Fernández, Leslie
dc.contributor.author González de Zayas, Roberto
dc.contributor.author Weber, Laura
dc.contributor.author Apprill, Amy
dc.contributor.author Armenteros, Maickel
dc.date.accessioned 2020-02-21T17:39:17Z
dc.date.available 2020-02-21T17:39:17Z
dc.date.issued 2019-11-29
dc.description © The Author(s), 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Hernandez-Fernandez, L., Gonzalez de Zayas, R., Weber, L., Apprill, A., & Armenteros, M. Small-scale variability dominates benthic coverage and diversity across the Jardines de la Reina, Cuba coral reef system. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, (2019): 747, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00747. en_US
dc.description.abstract Coral reefs are complex and biodiverse ecosystems that are undergoing significant change. Understanding reef composition and biodiversity at multiple spatial scales is necessary to track both large-scale and more subtle ecosystem changes. The Jardines de la Reina (JR) archipelago, located offshore of the island of Cuba, contains the largest marine protected area (MPA) in the Caribbean Sea but lacks multi-scale studies. In this contribution, we documented the diversity of scleractinian corals, octocorals, algae, and sponges across nested spatial scales spanning four orders of magnitude (101–105 m). In addition, we tested the hypothesis that species diversity followed a gradient along the ca. 200 km of reef tract. Across the archipelago, we examined benthic cover and species diversity within 255 photo-quadrats (25 × 25 cm) at 13 fore reef sites (two sampling locations per site, and 10 photo-quadrats per location). Small-scale (101 m) variability between photo-quadrats characterized the coral reef community structure in JR compared with local- (102 m) and mesoscale (104–105 m) variability. This finding suggests that biological processes (e.g., recruitment, competition) had primacy over hydrodynamics for driving the differences in reef community composition. However, the dominance of algae and low cover and diversity of scleractinian corals suggests the pervasive effects of global change on coral communities despite potential benefits provided by the MPA (e.g., oligotrophy and abundance of herbivores). There was no gradient of benthic community structure along the fore reef tract of JR; instead, a patchy distribution occurred in response to more subtle drivers acting at local scales. Overall, our multi-scale comparison was useful for differentiating the impacts of processes potentially impacting the JR reefs, thus providing important information to understand how reef communities are impacted by different environmental and anthropogenic stressors, and the potential benefits of MPAs. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work was supported by the Dalio Foundation’s Dalio Ocean Initiative (now “OceanX”). en_US
dc.identifier.citation Hernandez-Fernandez, L., Gonzalez de Zayas, R., Weber, L., Apprill, A., & Armenteros, M. (2019). Small-scale variability dominates benthic coverage and diversity across the Jardines de la Reina, Cuba coral reef system. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, 747. en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.3389/fmars.2019.00747
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/1912/25409
dc.publisher Frontiers Media en_US
dc.relation.uri https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00747
dc.rights Attribution 4.0 International *
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ *
dc.subject Coral reef en_US
dc.subject Caribbean Sea en_US
dc.subject Protected area en_US
dc.subject Species richness en_US
dc.subject β-diversity en_US
dc.subject Spatial scale en_US
dc.title Small-scale variability dominates benthic coverage and diversity across the Jardines de la Reina, Cuba coral reef system en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dspace.entity.type Publication
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relation.isAuthorOfPublication.latestForDiscovery f201b3d9-66bb-4596-b535-cbbda9218873
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