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The taxonomic distinctness of coastal bottom-dwelling fish communities of the North-east Atlantic
Rogers, S.I.; Clarke, K.R.; Reynolds, J.D. (1999). The taxonomic distinctness of coastal bottom-dwelling fish communities of the North-east Atlantic. J. Anim. Ecol. 68(4): 769-782.
In: Journal of Animal Ecology. Blackwell Science/British Ecological Society: Oxford. ISSN 0021-8790, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Biometry; Species diversity; Taxonomy; Zoobenthos; Marine
Author keywords
    taxonomic diversity; groundfish; community structure; fishing impact; NWEurope

Authors  Top 
  • Rogers, S.I.
  • Clarke, K.R.
  • Reynolds, J.D.

    1. New techniques for identifying the average taxonomic range of species assemblages were applied to an extensive dataset of bottom-dwelling fish in the coastal waters of NW Europe. These taxonomic distinctness indices provided much greater resolution than traditional diversity indices as they incorporated information on taxonomic relationships into an index which measures species dominance. Unlike standard measures of species richness and diversity, the mean value of these statistics is independent of sampling effort, and this allows objective comparisons to be made between samples from studies where sampling effort is not standardized. 2. A reduction in the average taxonomic range between the fauna of western waters of the UK and that of the southern North Sea was consistent with the general decline in species richness observed between these regions, and suggests that these two factors may be spatially positively correlated. Indices calculated for individual samples of fish on a local scale, however, did not all fit this trend. 3. Much of the variability in taxonomic diversity within the coastal waters of NW Europe was caused by the variable geographical distribution of the elasmobranchs. Of all the families which comprise the fish communities, this group has life-history characteristics which make it most susceptible to impact by commercial trawl fisheries. 4. The use of taxonomic distinctness measures provided additional insights, of relevance to biodiversity assessment, suggesting that they might usefully be applied to other aquatic and terrestrial fauna.

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