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Nestedness patterns and the role of morphodynamics and spatial distance on sandy beach fauna: ecological hypotheses and conservation strategies
Checon, H.H.; Corte, G.N.; Shah Esmaeili, Y.M.L.; Amaral, C.Z. (2018). Nestedness patterns and the role of morphodynamics and spatial distance on sandy beach fauna: ecological hypotheses and conservation strategies. NPG Scientific Reports 8(1): 10 pp. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1038/s41598-018-22158-3
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Checon, H.H.
  • Corte, G.N.
  • Shah Esmaeili, Y.M.L.
  • Amaral, C.Z.

Abstract
    Sandy beach fauna is hypothesized to be mainly structured by environmental variables. As such, it is expected that morphodynamic characteristics are limiting factors, and the species pool inhabiting harsher reflective beaches would be a subset of (i.e., nested in) the fauna of nearby dissipative beaches. We investigated the existence of a nestedness pattern in sandy beach assemblages, as well as the contribution of environmental and spatial variables (i.e., factors that potentially affect an assemblage regardless of environmental conditions - typically related to distance between sites and dispersal of organisms) on sandy beach macrobenthic fauna. Dissipative beaches had higher species richness than reflective beaches but we found no nestedness pattern. Furthermore, almost every beach showed exclusive species. Spatial variables exerted stronger influence on macrobenthic assemblages than local environmental variables. Our results therefore suggest that local and small-scale recruitment is the predominant process structuring macrobenthic assemblages. These results bring important implications for sandy beach conservation: given that spatial distance is an important factor structuring macrobenthic fauna and different sandy beaches harbor different pools of species, conservation programs need to focus on sandy beaches across large spatial scales and with varied morphodynamic characteristics in order to preserve coastal biodiversity.

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