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Diversity, distribution, and zoogeography of benthic polychaetes in the Gulf of Mexico
Reuscher, M.G.; Shirley, T.C. (2014). Diversity, distribution, and zoogeography of benthic polychaetes in the Gulf of Mexico. Mar. Biodiv. 44(4): 519-532.
In: Marine Biodiversity. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 1867-1616, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Polychaetes; Diversity; Species list; Feeding guilds

Authors  Top 
  • Reuscher, M.G.
  • Shirley, T.C.

    The polychaete diversity of the Gulf of Mexico was examined using a comprehensive species database. The Gulf of Mexico was divided into four geographic regions and six depth classes; ß-diversity between the 24 polygons was calculated with the Sørensen similarity index and analyzed using a cluster analysis and an ordination based on non-metric multidimensional scaling. Both analyses revealed a strong influence of depth on the polychaete assemblages. The polychaete fauna in the southeastern sector was the most distinctive among the four sectors. Each of the 835 polychaete species and subspecies was assigned to a class in the categories “mobility,” “feeding strategy,” and “feeding appendage” and the compositions of the categories throughout different depths were examined. The categories introduced by Fauchald and Jumars (Oceanogr Mar Biol Annu Rev 17:193–284, 1979) were amended and the suggested changes discussed. Each species was assigned to a biogeographical class based on their worldwide distributions. Ten percent of the polychaete species were endemic to the Gulf of Mexico. More than 40 % of the species were exclusively found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, about one-third of the polychaetes had a wide distribution, and 15 % of all species were restricted to both coasts of the American continent. Below 200 m more than 30 % of the species were endemic. Thorough taxonomic research will be pivotal in fostering our understanding of the Gulf of Mexico polychaete fauna.

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