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Habitat-Forming Bryozoans in New Zealand: Their Known and Predicted Distribution in Relation to Broad-Scale Environmental Variables and Fishing Effort
Wood, A.C.L.; Rowden, A.; Compton, T.C.; Gordon, D.P.; Probert, K. (2013). Habitat-Forming Bryozoans in New Zealand: Their Known and Predicted Distribution in Relation to Broad-Scale Environmental Variables and Fishing Effort. PLoS One 8(9): e75160. hdl.handle.net/10.1371/journal.pone.0075160
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Wood, A.C.L.
  • Rowden, A.
  • Compton, T.C., more
  • Gordon, D.P.
  • Probert, K.

Abstract
    Frame-building bryozoans occasionally occur in sufficient densities in New Zealand waters to generate habitat forother macrofauna. The environmental conditions necessary for bryozoans to generate such habitat, and thedistributions of these species, are poorly known. Bryozoan-generated habitats are vulnerable to bottom fishing, soknowledge of species’ distributions is essential for management purposes. To better understand these distributions,presence records were collated and mapped, and habitat suitability models were generated (Maxent, 1 km2 grid) forthe 11 most common habitat-forming bryozoan species: Arachnopusia unicornis, Cellaria immersa, Cellariatenuirostris, Celleporaria agglutinans, Celleporina grandis, Cinctipora elegans, Diaperoecia purpurascens, Galeopsisporcellanicus, Hippomenella vellicata, Hornera foliacea, and Smittoidea maunganuiensis. The models confirmedknown areas of habitat, and indicated other areas as potentially suitable. Water depth, vertical water mixing, tidalcurrents, and water temperature were useful for describing the distribution of the bryozoan species at broad scales.Areas predicted as suitable for multiple species were identified, and these ‘hotspots’ were compared to fishing effortdata. This showed a potential conflict between fishing and the conservation of bryozoan-generated habitat. Fishingimpacts are known from some sites, but damage to large areas of habitat-forming bryozoans is likely to haveoccurred throughout the study area. In the present study, spatial error associated with the use of historic records andthe coarse native resolution of the environmental variables limited both the resolution at which the models could be interpreted and our understanding of the ecological requirements of the study species. However, these models show species distribution modelling has potential to further our understanding of habitat-forming bryozoan ecology and distribution. Importantly, comparisons between hotspots of suitable habitat and the distribution of bottom fishing in the study area highlight the need for management measures designed to mitigate the impact of seafloor disturbance on bryozoan-generated habitat in New Zealand waters.

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