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Patterns of sponge biodiversity and abundance across different biogeographic regions
Bell, J.J.; Carballo, J.L. (2008). Patterns of sponge biodiversity and abundance across different biogeographic regions. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 155(5): 563-570.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Bell, J.J.
  • Carballo, J.L.

    Few studies have compared the underlying nature or structure of marine communities and assemblages across broad spatial scales, despite the importance of such comparisons in understanding global scale responses to environmental change and biodiversity conservation. The aim of this study was to examine the consistency of relationships between sponge abundance and richness on the undersides of boulders (to control for multiple confounding factors) in relation to space availability (boulder size) in three widely separated biogeographic regions. Sponges followed typical species-area (SA) relationships irrespective of site or ocean and we consistently found no decrease in sponge richness at larger boulder sizes. We also found reliable underlying density–area (DA) relationships, with larger boulders supporting more sponge patches at all sites. Although the general SA and DA relationships were similar between oceans and sites, the exact nature of these relationships in terms of the actual species present per unit area, total number of species present or density differed between sites. There were no consistent differences between SA and DA relationships at each locality, suggesting that although disturbance (particularly wave action) regimes may play an important role in controlling sponge biodiversity and abundance, its effects are manifested differently at local-scales. Even though boulders have received a considerable amount of research effort over the past three decades, this is the first study to examine the consistency of DA and SA relationships between ocean basins, finding similar relationships.

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