Article

A rapid biodiversity assessment methodology tested on intertidal rocky shores

Authors:
  • Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust
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Abstract

1.Conservation managers require biodiversity assessment tools to estimate the impact of human activities on biodiversity and to prioritize resources for habitat protection or restoration. Large-scale programs have been developed for freshwater ecosystems which grade sites by comparing measured versus expected species richness. These models have been applied successfully to habitats that suffer from systemic pressures, such as poor water quality. However, pressures in other habitats, such as rocky intertidal shores, are known to induce more subtle changes in community composition.2.This paper tests a biodiversity assessment methodology that uses the ANOSIM R statistic to quantify the biological dissimilarity between a site being assessed and a series of reference sites selected on the basis of their similar environmental profile. Sites with high R values for assemblage composition have an anomalous assemblage for their environmental profile and are potentially disturbed.3.This methodology successfully identified moderate to heavily perturbed sites in a pilot study on 65 rocky intertidal sites in south-eastern Australia. In general, measures based on percentage cover (flora and sessile invertebrates) were more sensitive than abundance (fauna). Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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... This will be further influenced in the intertidal by construction of coastal protection structures to mitigate coastal erosion and flooding (Airoldi et al., 2005;Thompson et al., 2002). With increased vertical surfaces in the intertidal we may see an increase in the proportion of sessile invertebrates and encrusting coralline algae at the expense of upright foliose macroalgal cover (Vaselli et al 2008), and this has potential to threaten the unique diversity of macroalgae that differs between Regions (O'Hara et al., 2010;Phillips, 2001). ...
... There are significant differences in rocky reef biota across the regions and embayments, with particularly high endemism (O'Hara et al., 2010;Phillips, 2001). These regional differences in marine flora and fauna are the result of complex interactions of ecological, biogeographical and phylogenetic processes occurring on evolutionary time scales (Phillips, 2001;Waters et al., 2010). ...
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... Due to their permanence over seasonal time scales, benthic communities may integrate the effects of long-term exposure to natural and anthropogenic disturbances (Borowitzka, 1972). Moreover, there is extensive literature about their taxonomy, ecology and distribution, and about responses to disturbance (e.g., Boaventura et al., 2002;Schiel, 2004;O'Hara et al., 2010;O'Connor, 2013;Cabral-Oliveira et al., 2014a,b). ...
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Along Victoria’s coastline there are 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that have been established to protect the state’s significant marine environmental and cultural values. These MPAs include 13 Marine National Parks (MNPs), 11 Marine Sanctuaries (MSs), 3 Marine and Coastal Parks, 2 Marine Parks, and a Marine Reserve, and together these account for 11.7% of the Victorian marine environment. The highly protected Marine National Park System, which is made up of the MNPs and MSs, covers 5.3% of Victorian waters and was proclaimed in November 2002. This system has been designed to be representative of the diversity of Victoria’s marine environment and aims to conserve and protect ecological processes, habitats, and associated flora and fauna. The Marine National Park System is spread across Victoria’s five marine bioregions with multiple MNPs and MSs in each bioregion, with the exception of Flinders bioregion which has one MNP. All MNPs and MSs are “no-take” areas and are managed under the National Parks Act (1975) - Schedules 7 and 8 respectively.This report updates the first Marine Natural Values Study (Plummer et al. 2003) for the MPAs in the Otway bioregion on the west coast of Victoria and is one of a series of five reports covering Victoria’s Marine National Park System. It uses the numerous monitoring and research programs that have increased our knowledge since declaration and aims to give a comprehensive overview of the important natural values of each MNP and MS.
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Explaining patterns of commonness and rarity is fundamental for understanding and managing biodiversity. Consequently, a key test of biodiversity theory has been how well ecological models reproduce empirical distributions of species abundances. However, ecological models with very different assumptions can predict similar species abundance distributions, whereas models with similar assumptions may generate very different predictions. This complicates inferring processes driving community structure from model fits to data. Here, we use an approximation that captures common features of “neutral” biodiversity models—which assume ecological equivalence of species—to test whether neutrality is consistent with patterns of commonness and rarity in the marine biosphere. We do this by analyzing 1,185 species abundance distributions from 14 marine ecosystems ranging from intertidal habitats to abyssal depths, and from the tropics to polar regions. Neutrality performs substantially worse than a classical nonneutral alternative: empirical data consistently show greater heterogeneity of species abundances than expected under neutrality. Poor performance of neutral theory is driven by its consistent inability to capture the dominance of the communities’ most-abundant species. Previous tests showing poor performance of a neutral model for a particular system often have been followed by controversy about whether an alternative formulation of neutral theory could explain the data after all. However, our approach focuses on common features of neutral models, revealing discrepancies with a broad range of empirical abundance distributions. These findings highlight the need for biodiversity theory in which ecological differences among species, such as niche differences and demographic trade-offs, play a central role.
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Along Victoria’s coastline there are 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that have been established to protect the state’s significant marine environmental and cultural values. These MPAs include 13 Marine National Parks (MNPs), 11 Marine Sanctuaries (MSs), 3 Marine and Coastal Parks, 2 Marine Parks, and a Marine Reserve, and together these account for 11.7% of the Victorian marine environment. The highly protected Marine National Park System, which is made up of the MNPs and MSs, covers 5.3% of Victorian waters and was proclaimed in November 2002. This system has been designed to be representative of the diversity of Victoria’s marine environment and aims to conserve and protect ecological processes, habitats, and associated flora and fauna. The Marine National Park System is spread across Victoria’s five marine bioregions with multiple MNPs and MSs in each bioregion, with the exception of Flinders bioregion which has one MNP. All MNPs and MSs are “no-take” areas and are managed under the National Parks Act (1975) - Schedules 7 and 8 respectively.This report updates the first Marine Natural Values Study (Plummer et al. 2003) for the MPAs in the Flinders and Twofold Shelf bioregions on the east coast of Victoria and is one of a series of five reports covering Victoria’s Marine National Park System. It uses the numerous monitoring and research programs that have increased our knowledge since declaration and aims to give a comprehensive overview of the important natural values of each MNP and MS.
Book
Full-text available
Along Victoria’s coastline there are 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that have been established to protect the state’s significant marine environmental and cultural values. These MPAs include 13 Marine National Parks (MNPs), 11 Marine Sanctuaries (MSs), 3 Marine and Coastal Parks, 2 Marine Parks, and a Marine Reserve, and together these account for 11.7% of the Victorian marine environment. The highly protected Marine National Park System, which is made up of the MNPs and MSs, covers 5.3% of Victorian waters and was proclaimed in November 2002. This system has been designed to be representative of the diversity of Victoria’s marine environment and aims to conserve and protect ecological processes, habitats, and associated flora and fauna. The Marine National Park System is spread across Victoria’s five marine bioregions with multiple MNPs and MSs in each bioregion, with the exception of Flinders bioregion which has one MNP. All MNPs and MSs are “no-take” areas and are managed under the National Parks Act (1975) - Schedules 7 and 8 respectively.This report updates the first Marine Natural Values Study (Plummer et al. 2003) for the MPAs in the Port Phillip Bay area of the Victorian Embayments bioregion and is one of a series of five reports covering Victoria’s Marine National Park System. It uses the numerous monitoring and research programs that have increased our knowledge since declaration and aims to give a comprehensive overview of the important natural values of each MNP and MS.
Book
Full-text available
Along Victoria’s coastline there are 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that have been established to protect the state’s significant marine environmental and cultural values. These MPAs include 13 Marine National Parks (MNPs), 11 Marine Sanctuaries (MSs), 3 Marine and Coastal Parks, 2 Marine Parks, and a Marine Reserve, and together these account for 11.7% of the Victorian marine environment. The highly protected Marine National Park System, which is made up of the MNPs and MSs, covers 5.3% of Victorian waters and was proclaimed in November 2002. This system has been designed to be representative of the diversity of Victoria’s marine environment and aims to conserve and protect ecological processes, habitats, and associated flora and fauna. The Marine National Park System is spread across Victoria’s five marine bioregions with multiple MNPs and MSs in each bioregion, with the exception of Flinders bioregion which has one MNP. All MNPs and MSs are “no-take” areas and are managed under the National Parks Act (1975) - Schedules 7 and 8 respectively.This report updates the first Marine Natural Values Study (Plummer et al. 2003) for the MNPs in the Western Port Bay (WP) and Corner Inlet (CI) areas of the Victorian Embayments bioregion. It covers Yaringa, French Island, Churchill Island and Corner Inlet MNPs. This report is one of a series of five reports covering Victoria’s Marine National Park System. It uses the numerous monitoring and research programs that have increased our knowledge since declaration and aims to give a comprehensive overview of the important natural values of each MNP.
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Full-text available
Across the state there are 30 marine protected areas (MPAs) that have been reserved to protect environmental, historical or cultural features. The MPAs include Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries, Marine and Coastal Parks, Marine Parks and a Marine Reserve, which make up 11.7 per cent of the Victorian marine environment. The thirteen Marine National Parks (MNPs) and eleven Marine Sanctuaries (MSs), henceforth in this report collectively referred to as the MPAs, protecting ~5.3% of Victorian waters were declared in November 2002. These MPAs were chosen to be representative of the diversity of Victoria’s marine environment. They aim to conserve and protect its ecological processes, habitats and associated flora and fauna. The MPAs are spread across Victoria’s five marine bioregions with multiple MPAs in each bioregion, with the exception of Flinders bioregion which has one MPA. All are “no-take” areas and are managed under the National Parks Act (1975). This current report updates the first Marine Natural Values Study (Plummer et al. 2003) for the MPAs in the Central Victoria bioregion on the central coast of Victoria. It uses the numerous monitoring and research programs that have increased our knowledge since declaration. It aims to give a comprehensive overview of the important natural values of each MPA. It is one of a series of five reports covering Victoria’s MPAs. The Central Victorian Bioregion extends along the open coast from Apollo Bay to Cape Liptrap and out to the limit of Victorian State waters in Bass Strait. It contains two MNPs, Point Addis and Bunurong, and five small MSs, Marengo Reefs, Eagle Rock, Point Danger, Barwon Bluff and Mushroom Reef. It has a temperate climate, a shore characterised by cliffs and sandy beaches and a steep sea bed. It is relatively exposed to swells and weather from the south-west. Its biota is a diverse mixture of species from all of the adjacent biogeographical provinces – western, eastern and southern temperate species – in addition to cosmopolitan southern Australian species. Ship wrecks occur within all the MPAs except Eagle Rock and Mushroom reef. High resolution bathymetry mapping has increased our understanding of habitats in the shallow waters of all the MPAs, and for the whole of Point Addis MNP. Knowledge of the distribution and extent of habitats is required to target management activities, including emergency response, monitoring and research effectively. Mapping of habitats is important for understanding and communicating the distribution of natural values within Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries, particularly as the marine environment is not as easily visualised as the terrestrial environment (Parks Victoria 2003). For management purposes, knowledge of the distribution and extent of habitats is required to more effectively target management activities, including emergency response, monitoring and research. Mapping of marine habitats provides a baseline inventory, allows the identification of suitable monitoring sites and possible tracking of environmental change, as well as identifying areas vulnerable to particular threats or suitable for recreational activities. All the MPAs in the Central Victoria bioregion have intertidal rocky reef and some shallow subtidal reef. The shallow subtidal rocky reefs in Bunurong MNP are extensive. Only Point Addis and Bunurong MNPs have deep subtidal reef. The reefs in the MPAs are predominately limestone or sandstone, with some basalt in Eagle Rock, Barwon Bluff and Mushroom Reef MSs. All, except Marengo Reefs MS, have intertidal soft sediment habitat or beaches interspersed amongst rocky headlands. Wrack material in this habitat contributes to the detrital cycle and is a significant source of food for many invertebrates and shore birds. All the MPAs have some subtidal soft sediment habitat, which can have very high numbers of invertebrate species living on and in it. Subtidal soft sediment and open water are the dominant habitat types in Point Addis and Bunurong MNPs, but intertidal and shallow subtidal rocky reef are the dominant habitat in the five MSs. On the intertidal reefs the dominant habitat is the brown alga Neptune’s necklace Hormosira banksii. Algal turf, coralline algae, sea lettuce Ulva sp. and the mussel Limnoperna pulex can also form intertidal habitats. In Bunurong MNP, and Eagle Rock and Point Danger MSs sand can cover the intertidal reef. Bull kelp Durvillaea potatorum grows on the intertidal reef edge in Point Addis MNP, and Marengo Reefs, Eagle Rock, Barwon Bluff and Mushroom Reef MSs. The mobile intertidal reef fauna in the MPAs is dominated by molluscs. The striped conniwink Bembicium nanum and pulmonate limpet Siphonaria spp. are abundant along with various other limpet species. The top shell Austrocochlea constricta is particularly abundant in all the MSs. In the two MNPs and Barwon Bluff MS the periwinkles Nodolittorina acutispira and N. unifasciata are abundant. The black nerite Nerita atramentos is abundant amongst the basalt boulders in Eagle Rock and Mushroom Reef MSs. Mushroom Reef MS has one of the most diverse rocky reef assemblages in Victoria, the Bunurong coast has a very high diversity of chitons, but little is known about the intertidal biota of Marengo Reefs MS. On the shallow subtidal reef of the MPAs the algae canopy can be mixed brown algae, crayweed Phyllospora comosa, kelp Ecklonia radiata or giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. The algal assemblage of Ingoldsby Reef in Point Addis MNP is particularly diverse. Bunurong MNP algal assemblage is unusual with a high diversity of red and brown algae species and a low abundance or absence of the large browns such as P. comosa and E. radiata. The understorey at both Marengo Reefs and Eagle Rock MSs has very few species and a low cover of red and green algae. P. comosa does not grow in Point Danger MS. Abundant blacklip abalone Haliotis rubra characterise the invertebrate assemblage of the MPAs subtidal reefs. The warrener Turbo undulatus and a diverse variety of sea stars are abundant in Point Addis and Bunurong MNPs. The elephant snail Scutus antipodes, T. undulatus and cartrut whelk Dicathais orbita are common in Barwon Bluff MS. Marengo Reefs MS is characterised by a low abundance of the purple urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma, and Eagle Rock MS by low numbers of all invertebrates other than H. rubra. Point Danger MS has a high diversity of invertebrates, and particularly opisthobranchs (sea slugs). The black- and white- gastric-brooding seastar Smilasterias multipara is an important natural value of Mushroom Reef MS. The subtidal reef fish assemblage has not been described for Point Danger or Mushroom Reef MSs. In the other MPAs the blue-throated wrasse Notolabrus tetricus is common, as are the Victorian scalyfin Parma victoriae, yellow striped leather jacket Meuschenia flavolineata and sea sweep Scorpis aequipinnis, except in Marengo Reefs MS. Herring cale Odax cyanomelas is abundant in all these MPAs but not in Point Addis MNP. The purple wrasse N. fucicola is abundant in Point Addis and Bunurong MNPs, and particularly abundant in Marengo Reefs MS. Other fish species such as the senator wrasse Pictilabrus laticlavius, horseshoe leatherjacket M. hippocrepis magpie morwong Cheliodactylus nigripes and zebra fish Girella zebra occur in all the MPAs but in varying abundances. The seagrass Amphibolis antarctica grows subtidally in all MPAs except Marengo Reefs and Eagle Rock MSs. It also grows in intertidal rock pools in Bunurong MNP, Barwon Bluff and Mushroom Reef MSs. Its stems and fronds support sessile invertebrates, including large colonies of bryozoans and hydroids. The seagrass Heterozostera nigricaulis grows in sparse beds on shallow sandy sediment beyond the surf zone in the west of Point Addis MNP. In Mushroom Reef MS Zostera sp. grows on the subtidal soft sediment. Deep water soft sediments in Point Addis MNP have unique assemblages of sponges, bryozoans, ascidians and hydroids. Its rhodolith beds have a high diversity of algal, invertebrate and fish species. In Bunurong MNP the deep reefs are dominated by sponges, stalked ascidians and bryozoans. All the MPAs support species of high conservation significance. The MPAs and their surrounds provide important feeding and roosting habitat for many threatened shore and sea birds, from 13 species in Marengo Reefs MS and up to 31 in Bunurong MNP. The endangered hooded plover Thinornis rubricollis has been recorded from both Point Danger and Barwon Bluff MSs but is not known to breed in either MS. The MPAs are also important for many migratory birds, with 6 species in Marengo Reefs MS to 18 in Barwon Bluff MS. Numerous marine species are found at the extent of their distribution range within individual MPAs, from over 37 species in Mushroom Reef MS to none in Barwon Bluff MS. Three crustaceans are believed to be endemic to Mushroom Reef MS. The two MNPs have large amounts of open water which is habitat for conservation listed marine mammals such as southern right whales Eubalaena australis. Blue whales Balaenoptera musculus have been sighted in Point Addis MNP and humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae in Bunurong MNP. Other marine mammals sighted in both Point Addis and Bunurong MNP are the bottlenose dolphin Tursiops spp., Australian fur seal Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus and leopard seal Hydrurga leptonyx. In addition the long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melas and killer whale Orcinus orca have been sighted in Point Addis MNP, and the common dolphin Delphinus delphis in Bunurong MNP. The smaller shallower MSs provide important habitat for small marine mammals. Marengo Reefs MS is a protected haul out for the Australian fur seals A. pusillus doriferus and Eagle Rock MS intertidal platforms are used as occasional haul-out areas. The endangered warm water vagrant sea turtle the pacific or olive ridley Lepidochelys olivacea has been sighted in or near Point Addis MNP and probably occurs offshore in Bunurong MNP too. The introduction of foreign species or marine pests, by recreational or commercial vessels, threatens the integrity of marine biodiversity. It is presumed that the introduced green shore crab Carcinus maenas occurs on the intertidal reefs of all the MPAs. Abalone viral ganglioneuritus has been slowly spreading, killing a large percentage of abalone in infected areas from Discovery Bay MNP to Cape Otway. It could have serious ecological consequences for subtidal reef communities if it spreads into the bioregion. Recreational boating has also been identified as posing a threat to seagrass beds, soft sediments and shallow subtidal reefs through propeller and anchor scour. Disturbance of wildlife, shore birds by vehicles, people or dogs; or hauled out seals by boats are also a threat in the MPAs. Poaching of abalone or fish is also a threat to subtidal reefs. Commercial vessels pose a threat due to the risk of oil spills. Damage through trampling and illegal collection also poses threats to the highly accessible intertidal reefs in the MPAs. Water quality in the MPAs may be threatened by increased nutrients and sediments from land use or waste discharge. Climate change represents a serious threat to marine ecosystems but the specific ecological consequences are not well understood in temperate marine systems. Increased sea levels, water and air temperature, cloud cover, ultraviolet light exposure and frequency of extreme weather events are predicted. Changes in the chemical composition, circulation and productivity of the seas are also predicted. These predicted changes have the potential to impact all marine habitats, causing loss of habitats, decreases in productivity and reproduction and distribution of species. A number of species are at the limit of their distributional range in the bioregion and such species would be particularly vulnerable to climate change. Parks Victoria has established extensive marine monitoring and research programs for the MPAs that address important management challenges, focussing both on improving baseline knowledge of the MPAs as well as applied management questions not being addressed by others. This knowledge will continue to enhance Parks Victoria’s capacity to implement evidence-based management through addressing critical knowledge gaps. The research and monitoring programs have been guided by the research themes outlined as part of Parks Victoria’s Research Partners Panel (RPP) program, a Marine Research and Monitoring Strategy 2007-2012 and Marine National Park and Marine Sanctuary Monitoring Plan 2007-2012 (Power and Boxshall 2007). Much of the research and monitoring has been undertaken as part of the RPP program involving collaboration with various research institutions. Subtidal reef monitoring occurs in Point Addis and Bunurong MNPs, and Marengo Reefs and Eagle Rock MSs. Intertidal monitoring is conducted in all the MPAs in the bioregion, except Marengo Reefs and Eagle Rock MSs. Other statewide projects are currently underway to photograph and document their marine natural values, and also to determine which MPAs are most at risk from introduced species and to detect poaching. Since declaration considerable advancement has been made in identifying and understanding the marine natural values of the Central Victoria bioregion. There are still major gaps in our knowledge. Comprehensive knowledge of basic habitats, their distribution and extent, is limited to shallow waters except in Point Addis. Monitoring changes in flora and fauna over time is limited to intertidal and shallow subtidal reef habitats. There is limited knowledge of the intertidal and subtidal soft sediment and open waters. Whilst general and individual threats to the MPAs have been identified we have limited knowledge of how those threats will affect marine natural values.
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Description This document describes the compilation of Victorian reef monitoring data in the database q-Core, based on the database established by Parks Victoria. Potential indicators were examined, including the establishment of community or biotope states for monitoring states and succession. Existing and state-of-the-art techniques were reviewed and recommendations provided for continued monitoring that are more efficient and increase the information value.
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This chapter describes the state of the marine environment in Victoria and adjacent waters. The open coast is dominated by rocky reef, sandy beaches and a range of offshore soft sediment habitats. There is a diverse benthic biota on the continental shelf and slope, with extensive sponge beds occurring in Bass Strait. The marine embayments and estuaries support extensive seagrass beds, mudflats, mangroves and saltmarsh. The bays and many estuaries have been profoundly changed by human activities, including the opening of new entrances to the sea, draining of wetlands, clearing of vegetation in the catchment, by urbanisation, and the increased use of agricultural fertilisers. Increased nutrient levels and turbidity have led to seagrass dieback and algal blooms in some inlets. Seagrass loss was extensive during 1975-1984, when Western Port Bay lost 70% of its cover and Corner Inlet 25%. The Gippsland Lakes have been adversely affected by reduced freshwater input, increased levels of nutrients, algal blooms and damage to aquatic vegetation from the introduced European Carp. In Port Phillip Bay nutrient levels have declined since the 1960s following additional sewerage treatment and diversions. Toxicant levels are also declining but remain a localised problem around some outlets. Some fisheries are over-exploited, most notably for scallops, Southern Rock Lobster and Snapper. Trends in other commercial fisheries are masked by the natural variability of fish abundance and changes over time in fishing effort and technologies. Several fish species, favoured by recreation fishers, have declined in numbers in Port Phillip Bay since 1972, probably due to over fishing. Offshore there are concerns about damage to seafloor habitats from trawling and dredging. Over 175 introduced and cryptogenic species have been reported from Port Phillip Bay, more than any other port in the Southern Hemisphere. Several of these species now occur in large numbers and are considered significant pests or weeds.
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The concentration of contaminants usually decreases with increasing distance from a point-source disturbance, so sampling to detect ecological impacts is usually done at 1 spatial scale, often at regular intervals from the point of discharge. There is, however, concern that the choice of an inappropriate scale will cause failure to detect impacts or failure to identify and estimate the size of impacts. In this study, the putative impact of a shoreline sewage outfall on the abundance of green ephemeral algae and gastropods was sampled at 2 spatial scales (tens of metres and several kilometres from the point of discharge) in order to determine whether the ecological impact of effluent was comparable across these, as would be expected if the abundance of species follows the gradient of contaminants. Such sampling also enabled the putative impact of this outfall on the spatial variability of taxa to be examined at 3 spatial scales: (1) among quadrats in the site with the outfall compared to variance among quadrats in other sites on the shore with the outfall; (2) among quadrats in non-outfall sites on the shore with the outfall compared with variance among quadrats in sites on control shores; (3) between non-outfall sites on the shore with the outfall in comparison to among sites on the control shores. A greater abundance of Enteromorpha spp. was found close to the outfall than further away at both spatial scales. Patterns in the abundance of many other taxa differed between the 2 spatial scales of sampling. The density of the limpet Patelloida latistrigata was much greater close to than far from the outfall, when considered on a large spatial scale. At the smaller scale among sites on a single shore, the impact was completely reversed-densities were much smaller close to than away from the outfall. Variances, like abundances, did not always follow the gradient of contaminants and different patterns were often seen at different spatial scales. Thus, putative impacts should be sampled on multiple spatial scales using nested sampling designs. Where this is not possible, the spatial scale at which an impact might be detected or interpreted needs to be clearly stated because the generalisation that a disturbance has a similar impact at all spatial scales relevant to the population being studied cannot be made without explicit tests.
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Hydrodynamic forces from breaking waves are among the most important sources of mortality in the rocky intertidal zone. Information about the forces imposed by breaking waves is therefore critical if we are to interpret the mechanical design and physiological performance of wave-swept organisms in an ecologically and evolutionarily relevant context. Wave theory and engineering experiments predict that the process of wave breaking sets a limit on the maximum force to which organisms can be subjected. Unfortunately, the magnitude of this limit has not been determined on rocky shores. To this end, at a moderately exposed shore in central California, we measured the maximum hydrodynamic forces imposed on organism-sized benthic objects and related these forces to nearshore significant wave heights. At 146 of 221 microsites, there was a significant and substantial positive correlation between force and wave height, and at 130 of these microsites, force increased nonlinearly toward a statistically defined limit. The magnitude of this limit varied among sites, from 19 to 730 newtons (N). At 37 other sites, there was no significant correlation between surf zone force and wave height, indicating that increased wave height did not translate into increased force at these sites either. At only 16 sites did force increase in proportion to wave height without an apparent upper bound. These results suggest that for most microsites there is indeed a limiting wave height beyond which force is independent of wave height. The magnitude of the limit varies substantially among microsites, and an index of local topography was found to predict little of this variation. Thus, caution must be exercised in any attempt to relate observed variations in ocean "waviness" to the corresponding rates of microsite disturbance in intertidal communities.
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A new four-dimensional ocean interpolation system based on locally weighted least squares fitting is presented. A loess filter is used to interpolate irregularly spaced data onto a uniform grid. This involves projecting the data onto quadratic functions of latitude and longitude while simultaneously fitting annual and semiannual harmonics by weighted least squares. The smoothness scale of the mapping method adapts to match the data density, thus producing gridded estimates with maximum resolution. The filter has a vertical dimension, such that the data on adjacent levels are included in the computation. This greatly reduces the effects of discontinuities in data distributions between adjacent levels, since the estimates at each level are no longer independent. The loess scheme has been further modified so that the weighting of data points is adjusted to allow for the influence of both bathymetry and land barriers. This allows the bathymetry to influence the mapped fields in a natural way, reduces leakage of structure between deep and shallow regions and produces far more realistic coastal gradients. The flexibility of the loess approach has allowed further adjustments to compensate for irregularities in spatial and temporal sampling. The mapping is shown to be statistically consistent with an objective measure of the a priori noise of the dataset. Departures of the mapped fields from independent surface temperature climatologies and mean vertical sections derived from withheld expendable bathythermograph (XBT) data are within error limits. The method is applied to the major seas around Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia (50°S-10°N, 100°E:-180°) to form a high-resolution seasonal climatology of temperature, salinity, oxygen, nitrate, phosphate, and silicate, referred to as the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Atlas of Regional Seas (CARS). Stringent quality control procedures have been applied to a comprehensive dataset assembled from all known sources. The resulting maps successfully resolve both the large-scale structure and narrow coastal features and illustrate how the bathymetry influences the property distributions.
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Effluent is discharged below the low-water mark at Boags Rocks, Victoria, Australia, at an average rate of 437 × 106 L day–1. Three study sites following a gradient of pollution from high (at Boags Rocks) to intermediate (Cape Schanck) to unpolluted (Cheviot Beach) were chosen for the main experiments. Surveys of the algal assemblages were conducted in spring and summer and showed the absence of the pre-discharge dominant Hormosira banksii at Boags Rocks and an abundance of turf-forming and ephemeral species at the two polluted sites. There was no evidence that the treated sewage detrimentally affected either the availability of propagules (asexual spores, gametes, zygotes or fragments) or macroalgal recruitment to artificial or natural substrata. Opportunistic genera such as UIva and Enteromorpha showed very high recruitment and propagule densities in the water column at polluted sites, apparently benefiting from the increased nutrient loads. Investigation of the number of H. banksii zygotes in water samples from various habitats showed very limited dispersibility for this species. The small dispersal shadow of H. banksii, combined with the environmental pressures placed on establishing zygotes, would severely limit the re-establishment of this species at polluted sites, even if given suitable conditions.
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Rocky intertidal reefs are an increasingly popular setting for recreational activities in Australia. As a result, managers need to better understand and quantify the visitation levels and recreational use of these areas to ensure the protection of intertidal marine communities. We surveyed the recreational use of a rocky intertidal reef at Sorrento, a popular summer holiday destination in Victoria. The section of the reef with greatest visitor access received the most visitors; regardless of whether it was school holidays or weekends during the school term. The most popular and potentially threatening activities included walking over beds of the fucoid alga, Hormosira banksii, followed by collecting biota and fossicking. Most activities were passive in nature and we theorise that many visitors are unaware of their contribution to local environmental impacts. We suggest that public education is an ideal management strategy to increase visitors' environmental awareness and teach visitors about low-impact behaviours. By performing recreational use surveys in conjunction with site specific ecological surveys of the impacts of recreational use, management agencies will be able to devise more effective strategies which will better protect rocky intertidal reef habitats in the future.
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Aim To relate patterns of distribution of marine echinoderms and decapods around southern Australia to major ecological and historical factors. Location Shallow-water (0–100 m) marine waters off southern Australia, south of 30° S. Methods (1) Record the presence/absence of known echinoderm and decapod species in cells of c. 1° latitude and longitude, along the coast of southern mainland Australia and Tasmania. (2) Describe patterns in species composition, species richness and endemism through gradient analysis, ordination and cluster analysis. (3) Relate these patterns to distance and temperature gradients, the area of continental shelf, the average size of species range, and known historical factors. Results Species composition varied with both latitude and longitude. Species richness was relatively constant from east to west but graded with latitude from high in the warm-temperate regions around Perth and Sydney to low in cool-temperate southern Tasmania. Species richness was not related to the area of continental shelf or average species range size. Species turnover was not correlated with rates of temperature change. It was problematic to separate distance from temperature gradients, but there was evidence that the southern distribution limits of some species are related to minimum sea surface temperature. Within the taxonomic groups surveyed, evolutionary radiation has been largely limited to a few cosmopolitan species-rich genera. Main conclusions There are historical as well as ecological hypotheses explaining the latitudinal gradient of marine species richness in southern Australia: (1) the continual invasion and speciation of species of tropical origin as Australia has split from Gondwana and drifted northward; (2) progressive extinction of some Gondwanan cool-temperate species at the limits of their range; (3) low level of immigration of additional cool-temperate species; and (4) some in situ endemic speciation.
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Species richness, diversity, total biomass of the benthic macrofauna and macroflora, and the biomass of the 2 dominant taxa (Fucus spp. and Mytilus edulis) were examined in relation to coastal heterogeneity at different scales in the intertidal zone. The sampling design included randomness at all scales and replication of treatments. A 103 km portion of the south shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary, Canada, was divided into 1 km stretches of shore (stations)-the large scale-which were classified using a shore heterogeneity index (SHI) into 3 categories (low, medium and high). Species richness was qualitatively evaluated for each station and substratum heterogeneity on a 100 m (medium scale) was measured as covariate. At the smallest scale 4 types of surface (smooth, crevices of 1, 10 and 20 cm) were quantitatively sampled. Species richness tended to increase with Sill category but this tendency was not statistically significant. A multiple regression analysis was carried out to find which scale of heterogeneity was the most significant for defining species richness. Diversity in types of surface did not vary significantly among SHI categories. Our results show that large-scale heterogeneity explained a higher proportion of the variance in species richness than substratum heterogeneity on a 100 m scale. No statistically significant difference was found in total biomass, M. edulis and Fucus spp, biomass or percent cover among the SHI categories. At the small scale (types of surface), the abundance increased significantly from smooth surfaces to 20 cm crevices except for mussels, where abundance was higher in 10 cm crevices. The types of surface explained 42% of the variation in total biomass and 21% of that in Fucus spp. biomass. Variation in percent cover was explained by the types of surface (40%) and to a lesser extent by the SHI (7%). The present study showed that the scales which influenced abundance were smaller than 20 cm in the intertidal zone. Thus, our results indicated that 2 distinct spatial scales explained the variability within the same marine intertidal community, i.e. variability in species richness (scale of 1 km) and in abundance (types of surface; scale of less than or equal to 20 cm).
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Increasing evidence indicates that spatial and temporal patterns in ecological systems are not independent of the scale of measurement. In this study we used a hierarchical sampling design to examine spatial patterns in assemblages of algae and invertebrates in midshore and lowshore habitats of rocky coasts in the Mediterranean Sea, increasing the range of scales usually covered by this type of study in marine habitats. To put our results in a broader context, we also conducted a review of the literature, targeting studies that explicitly investigated spatial patterns with hierarchical designs. We addressed 2 main questions: (1) To what extent does small-scale variability contribute to large-scale patterns of variation? (2) Is there a pattern of variability that can be generalised across species and habitats? The review of the literature indicated that hierarchical analyses of spatial pattern have been limited to a narrow range of habitats and taxa and that very few studies have addressed regional scales of variation (1000s of kilometers). The available data, however, did identify a general pattern: variability was larger at small spatial scales (meters) in almost all habitats, whereas variation over larger spatial scales (10s to 100s of kilometers) depended on the specific habitat and taxa examined. In our case study, we obtained measures of spatial variability through the use of 2 alternative methods: hierarchical nested design and independent estimate of spatial variance between pairs of quadrats. Both approaches provided further support to the patterns displayed by the analysis of the literature. Most response variables exhibited large variation over small spatial scales, while the significance of mid- to large-scale variability differed between midshore and lowshore habitats and among taxa. Although a proper understanding of large-scale patterns will require additional comparisons across wide geographical areas, small-scale variability emerges as a general property of benthic assemblages in marine coastal habitats. We suggest that this pattern is common to a wide range of natural systems where assemblages are influenced by complex sets of physical and biological processes like those operating in the marine environment.
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In the early 1980s, a strategy for graphical representation of multivariate (multi-species) abundance data was introduced into marine ecology by, among others, Field, et al. (1982). A decade on, it is instructive to: (i) identify which elements of this often-quoted strategy have proved most useful in practical assessment of community change resulting from pollution impact; and (ii) ask to what extent evolution of techniques in the intervening years has added self-consistency and comprehensiveness to the approach. The pivotal concept has proved to be that of a biologically-relevant definition of similarity of two samples, and its utilization mainly in simple rank form, for example ‘sample A is more similar to sample B than it is to sample C’. Statistical assumptions about the data are thus minimized and the resulting non-parametric techniques will be of very general applicability. From such a starting point, a unified framework needs to encompass: (i) the display of community patterns through clustering and ordination of samples; (ii) identification of species principally responsible for determining sample groupings; (iii) statistical tests for differences in space and time (multivariate analogues of analysis of variance, based on rank similarities); and (iv) the linking of community differences to patterns in the physical and chemical environment (the latter also dictated by rank similarities between samples). Techniques are described that bring such a framework into place, and areas in which problems remain are identified. Accumulated practical experience with these methods is discussed, in particular applications to marine benthos, and it is concluded that they have much to offer practitioners of environmental impact studies on communities.
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The method of choice for multivariate representation of community structure is often non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (MDS). This has great flexibility in accommodating biologically relevant (i.e. non correlation-based) definitions of similarity in species composition of 2 samples, and in preserving the rank-order relations amongst those similarities in the placing of samples in an ordination. Correlation-based techniques (such as Canonical Correlation) are then inappropriate in linking the observed biotic structure to measured environmental variables; a more natural approach is simply to compare separate sample ordinations from biotic and abiotic variables and choose that subset of environmental variables which provides d good match between the 2 configurations. In fact, the fundamental constructs here are not the ordination plots but the (rank) similarity matrices which underlie them: a suitable measure of agreement between 2 such matrices is therefore proposed and used to define an optimal subset of environmental variables which 'best explains' the biotic structure. This simple technique is illustrated with 3 ddta sets, from studies of macrobenthic, meiobenthic and diatom communities in estuarine and coastal waters.
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In the northeastern Pacific, intertidal zones of the most wave-beaten shores receive more energy from breaking waves than from the sun. Despite severe mortality from winter storms, communities at some wave-beaten sites produce an extraordinary quantity of dry matter per unit area of shore per year. At wave-beaten sites of Tatoosh Island, WA, sea palms, Postelsia palmaeformis, can produce > 10 kg of dry matter, or 1.5 × 108 J, per m2 in a good year. Extraordinarily productive organisms such as Postelsia are restricted to wave-beaten sites. Intertidal organisms cannot transform wave energy into chemical energy, as photosynthetic plants transform solar energy, nor can intertidal organisms “harness” wave energy. Nonetheless, wave energy enhances the productivity of intertidal organisms. On exposed shores, waves increase the capacity of resident algae to acquire nutrients and use sunlight, augment the competitive ability of productive organisms, and protect intertidal residents by knocking away their enemies or preventing them from feeding.
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After a brief account of geological evolution, sea level changes and wave regimes, successive chapters deal with landform evolution in the Western District, the Port Campbell coast, the Otways coast, Central Victoria and Port Phillip Bay, Westernport Bay with French Island and Phillip Island, The South Gippsland coast with Wilsons Promontory and Corner Inlet, and the East Gippsland coast. Thjere are 203 Figiures and 8 Tables, and a Bibliography.
Article
We investigated the ability of an assemblage of animals and plants on rocky shores in southeastern Australia to resist and/or recover from repeated pulse disturbances in the form of trampling. Disturbances of four different intensities were applied experimentally over six summers, with no human access at other times of the year. The dominant intertidal plant, the brown alga Hormosira banksii, was affected by trampling, but the effects were heterogeneous between sites. At two sites, a series of pulse disturbances produced a series of pulse responses, although the effect of a given pulse varied among years, possibly related to the severity of summer desiccating conditions each year. At the third site, pulse disturbances produced a press response; at high levels of trampling, Hormosira was almost eliminated within 2 yr, and at two intermediate levels of trampling, cover was reduced from >90 to 60-70%, where it remained for 4 yr. Effects of trampling showed little small-scale spatial variation. Untrampled areas did fluctuate through time, often as a result of summer burnoff of algae. Natural disturbances occurred irregularly through the study, and their effects varied on very small spatial scales (among plots <30 m apart). Trampling enhanced the densities of a range of herbivorous mollusks, especially limpets, and reduced the abundance of articulated coralline algae, which were abundant in the understory of Hormosira mats. These effects varied among sites but showed much less variation on smaller spatial scales. The reductions in coralline algae may be a direct effect of trampling, but increases in mollusk abundance occurred some time after changes to Hormosira cover, and those changes may be an indirect effect of trampling. We compared the effects of trampling on areas of the shore that had been trampled for two and four summers, to test whether a past history of disturbance influenced the effect of a new disturbance. No significant effects were found on algae or mobile animals, although a mild summer may have made our test of history relatively weak. Hormosira banksii fits the definition of a keystone species or engineer and, as such, is an appropriate focus for management and as an indicator. Spatially heterogeneous effects of a constant physical perturbation, however, mean that management of these rocky shores requires more complex models and indicate that caution should be used in adopting this species as a uniform indicator of environmental change.
Article
Harvesting of intertidal biota is a concern in many areas of the world. While the published literature is focused on reports of strong impacts of subsistence harvesting, recreational collection of biota can also have a strong effect. In either case, the management of these impacts is a major concern and is most often done by complete or partial closures of sections of coastline. This management method may require ongoing intervention, in the form of policing, education, or construction of barriers, and it is important to identify the effectiveness of these actions. We have previously shown that physical closure of a section of rocky coastline in southeastern Australia resulted in increased mean sizes of a range of intertidal molluscs collected for food and bait. The shoreline in question had legislative protection and mechanical barriers, and we present data that demonstrate that the mechanical barrier was a critical component. Removal of barriers resulted in changes in mean sizes and abundance of some gastropods over a period of 5 yr. The two most heavily harvested species, Turbo undulatus and Cellana tramoserica, showed reductions in mean size of similar to 15%, relative to nearby areas that had been exploited for many years, while two less harvested species, Austrocochlea constricta and Nerita atramentosa, showed no changes following opening of the former protected areas. Three control (i.e., nonharvested) species, Bembicium nanum, Lepsiella vinosa, and Cominella eburnea, continued to show no differences between harvesting categories. Abundance of these gastropods, measured by catch per unit effort (CPUE), declined for the two harvested species over the 5 yr following opening of the protected shores. For Cellana, CPUE fell at sites in the reserve from 36% above exploited areas to similar values; for Turbo, CPUE values at the time of opening were 200-300% higher in the protected areas, but then fell to match values for exploited shores. These results show that legislative protection, which applied to the entire coastline, is ineffective in this section of the Australian coast, and effective protection requires physical barriers to exclude humans, or greatly increased enforcement.
Article
The effects of the discharge of secondary-treated sewage effluent on intertidal macroalgae were assassed over an eight year period from 1980 to 1988. During this period effluent flow increased by 30% to 290 MI per day. A number of sites at varying distances from the outfall were monitored and the results compared with a previous study carried out in 1975-6 before and after discharge commenced. In the present study, fewer species were recorded at sites close to the outfall than at more distant sites, and loss or reduction of the canopy-forming brown alga Hormosira banksii resulted in a community with less vertical stratification near the outfall. Algal turfs, consisting of Gelidium pusillum, Ulva rigida and Ceramium flaccidum, occurred on the higher intertidal reefs adjacent to the outfall, and dense turfs of Corallina officinalis occurred on the wetter, lower intertidal reefs near the outfall. The observed changes in macroalgal communities were consistent with the effluent being transported in a southeasterly direction along the coast, with sites near and southeast of the outfall affected and northwestern sites apparently unaffected. Cluster analyses of site area/times using Sorensen's and Czekanowski's coefficients of similarity showed differences in the pattern of association but reinforced the finding that communities at sites southeast of the discharge point are affected by the effluent. Cluster analyses were useful in assessing the changing relationships between site areas over time. Factors believed to be important in structuring the algal communities include distance and direction from the outfall, direct effects of effluent on both plants and animals, height of the site area relative to the low water mark, exposure to wave action, abundance of certain animals which can displace the algae, grazing effects of intertidal invertebrates and fish, and climatic variations. Continued effluent discharge during the present study probably resulted in a further reduction in large brown algae at the Cape Schanck site, and a gradual reduction in the abundance of epilithic algal turfs at the effluent-affected sites. However, the relative abundance of species in epilithic turf communities at effluent-affected sites remained fairly stable over the study period.
Article
SYNOPSIS. Temperate marine ecosystems are some of the most productive and diverse of all ecosystems. Over the past century the resources contained within these communities have been subjected to gross mismanagement. They are continually subjected to threats from multiple stresses imposed mostly by human activities, predominantly as a result of increased population growth. The most significant categories of threats derive from: (1) habitat loss and degradation, (2) pollution from numerous sources including sewage, pesticides, pulp mills, thermal effluents, polychlorinated biphenyls, heavy metals, oil and radionuclides, (3) overexploitation, (4) species introductions, (5) global climate change, (6) misguided human perceptions and (7) legal complexities. Furthermore, because subtidal and offshore coastal marine communities are not easily observed, their deterioration often goes mostly unnoticed. Impacts from stresses on coastal marine communities are manifested at the individual species level, but magnify in effect throughout the entire ecosystem because of complex inter-connected relationships between species at different trophic levels, including interactions such as predation, competition and mutualism. Therefore, one missing species or group of species that may be affected by some particular local pollutant, for example, may have unpredictable direct or indirect consequences through secondary effects on the ecosystem, possibly leading to the loss of a few to many species. Rather than striving to maintain some specific level of diversity, we should endeavor to understand the basic ecological processes that control populations, communities and ecosystems so we can best predict what kinds of stresses will cause the most serious alterations to the system and avoid them. In addition, we should be conservative about protecting systems even before we understand the processes fully.
Article
Variations in habitat parameters greatly affect the physiological state and the growth of bivalves. To achieve success in shellfish mariculture, environmental parameters favorable to the cultured species must be determined and then characteristics of potential grow-out sites evaluated. An intertidal bay in Eastern Maine was described in a GIS (geographical information system), which incorporated infrared aerial photographs and maps of bottom types, topography and bathymetry. Data layers included elevations from both nautical charts and GPS measurements made in the bay. From the elevation data, a series of programs was developed to generate a triangulated irregular network and a grid of elevations. A numerical flow model used the elevation grid to simulate a time series of tidal current vectors and free surface elevations. Gridded data from the numerical model were imported into the GIS and displayed as false color images of elevations, maximum current velocities and tidally averaged current velocities. Current vectors were layered over aerial photos showing sediment transport in the water. The GIS can be queried to identify sites for mariculture. A sample query identified sites for shellfish grow-out.
Article
Nonparametric multivariate analysis of ecological data using permutation tests has two main challenges: (1) to partition the variability in the data according to a complex design or model, as is often required in ecological experiments, and (2) to base the analysis on a multivariate distance measure (such as the semimetric Bray-Curtis measure) that is reasonable for ecological data sets. Previous nonparametric methods have succeeded in one or other of these areas, but not in both. A recent contribution to Ecological Monographs by Legendre and Anderson, called distance-based redundancy analysis (db-RDA), does achieve both. It does this by calculating principal coordinates and subsequently correcting for negative eigenvalues, if they are present, by adding a constant to squared distances. We show here that such a correction is not necessary. Partitioning can be achieved directly from the distance matrix itself, with no corrections and no eigenanalysis, even if the distance measure used is semimetric. An ecological example is given to show the differences in these statistical methods. Empirical simulations, based on parameters estimated from real ecological species abundance data, showed that db-RDA done on multifactorial designs (using the correction) does not have type 1 error consistent with the significance level chosen for the analysis (i.e., does not provide an exact test), whereas the direct method described and advocated here does.
Article
This paper continues previous ecological studies (Dakin, Bennett, and Pope 1948) of the intertidal zone of south-eastern Australia. The environmental factors and the zonation of the animals and plants on the exposed rocky coasts of Victoria are described. As a result of this survey a rearrangement of the biogeographical provinces of the Australian littoral is made, and a new Cool-temperate fauna and flora are recognized on the coast of Victoria.
Article
Abstract Understanding processes in complex assemblages depends on good understanding of spatial and temporal patterns of structure at various spatial scales. There has been little quantitative information about spatial patterns and natural temporal changes in intertidal assemblages on sheltered rocky shores in temperate Australia. Natural changes and responses to anthropogenic disturbances in these habitats cannot be accurately measured and assessed without quantitative data on patterns of natural variability in space and through time. This paper describes some suitable quantitative methods for examining spatial and temporal patterns of diversity and abundances of highshore, midshore and lowshore intertidal assemblages and the important component species for a number of shores in a bay that has not been severely altered by human disturbance. Despite a diverse flora and fauna on these shores, the midshore and lowshore assemblages on sheltered shores were characterized by a few species which were also the most important in discriminating among assemblages on a shore and, for each assemblage, among different shores. The same set of species was also important for measuring small-scale patchiness within each assemblage (i.e. between replicate sites on a shore). Therefore, these data provide a rationale for selecting species that are useful for measuring differences and changes in abundance among places and times at different scales and, hence, can be used in the more complex sampling designs necessary to detect environmental impacts. There was considerable spatial variability in all assemblages and all species (or taxa) examined at scales of metres, tens of metres and kilometres. There were no clear seasonal trends for most measures, with as much or more variability at intervals of 3 months as from year to year. Most interactions between spatial and temporal measures were at the smallest scale, with different sites on the same shore generally showing different changes from time to time. The cause(s) of this apparently idiosyncratic variability1 were not examined, but some potential causes are discussed. These data are appropriate for testing hypotheses about the applicability of these findings to other relatively undisturbed sheltered shores, about effects of different anthropogenic disturbances on sheltered intertidal assemblages and to test hypotheses about differences in intertidal assemblages on sheltered versus wave-exposed shores.
Article
Abstract River InVertebrate Prediction And Classification System (rivpacs) is a software package developed by the Institute of Freshwater Ecology (IFE) for assessing the biological quality of rivers in the United Kingdom. The system can be used to generate site-specific predictions of the macroinvertebrate fauna to be expected in the absence of major environmental stress. Each prediction is based on a small number of environmental features that are used to characterize the site. The fauna predicted can then be compared with the fauna observed at the same site. This offers a procedure for evaluating biological quality with application in river management both at the local level and for national surveys. Close collaboration between the IFE team and biologists in the water industry during the project had a beneficial influence on the operational development of the system.A second feature of RIVPACS is the national classification of sites, based on the macro-invertebrate fauna. Although the classification is currently a pre-requisite for the prediction system, it also has intrinsic value because newly sampled sites of high biological quality can be placed within the national framework, based on their macroinvertebrate fauna. This facility is of interest to the statutory nature conservation bodies as an element in their site appraisal procedures.The predictive component of the current version of the system (RIVPACS n) was used in the 1990 River Quality Survey to assess the biological quality of almost 9000 sites throughout the United Kingdom. Further developmental work is now under way to provide a more comprehensive version of the system for the 1995 survey.
Article
This paper describes the first results for an alternative approach to the development of sediment quality criteria in the nearshore areas of the Laurentian Great Lakes. The approach is derived from methods developed in the United Kingdom for establishing predictive relationships between macroinvertebrate fauna and the physico-chemistry of riverine environments. The technique involves a multivariate statistical approach using (i) data on the structure of benthic invertebrate communities, (ii) functional responses (survival, growth and reproduction) in four sediment toxicity tests (bioassays) with benthic invertebrates; and (iii) selected environmental variables at 96 reference (‘clean’) sites in the nearshore areas of all five Great Lakes (Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, Ontario and Michigan). Two pattern recognition techniques (using the computer software package PATN) are employed in the analysis: cluster analysis and ordination. The ordination vector scores from the original axes of the pattern analysis are correlated (using CORR in SAS) with environmental variables which are anticipated to be least affected by anthropogenic activities (e. g. alkalinity, depth, silt, sodium etc.). Multiple discriminant analysis (MDA) is used to relate the site groupings from the pattern analysis to the environmental variables and to generate a model that can be used to predict community assemblages and functional responses at new sites with unknown but potential contamination. The predicted community assemblages and functional responses are then compared with the actual benthic communities and responses at a site, and the need for remedial action is determined.
Article
A multivariate index assessing community stress in marine benthic count data is compared to other multivariate methods. Both ordinations and clustering methods are included in the comparison and so is AMBI (AZTI marine biotic index). The community disturbance index (CDI) requires the data to contain undisturbed reference samples. If this requirement is met, the calculations are carried out in two steps. Firstly, the reference samples are separated and used to build a model representing the natural variation. Subsequently, the remaining samples are compared to the model and the respective disturbance indices are calculated. The CDI has the same sensitivity as the traditional multivariate methods. Additionally, one obtains a quantification of the relative level of disturbance. The comparison is performed using data from monitoring surveys at three different oilfields in the North Sea: Troll, Ekofisk and Oseberg-Brage. The samples are collected in 1996, 1990 and 1996, respectively.
Article
The European Union Water Framework Directive recognises the need for and value of biological monitoring. This paper reviews the modelling approach known as River Invertebrate Prediction and Classification System (RIVPACS) for assessing the ecological quality of river sites using macroinvertebrate sampling. The RIVPACS philosophy is to develop statistical relationships between the fauna and the environmental characteristics of a large set of high quality reference sites which can be used to predict the macroinvertebrate fauna to be expected at any site in the absence of pollution or other environmental stress. The observed fauna at new test sites can then be compared with their site-specific expected fauna to derive indices of ecological quality. All methodological decisions in any such model development have implications for the reliability, precision and robustness of any resulting indices for assessing the ecological quality and ecological grade (‘status’) of individual river stretches. The choice of reference sites and environmental predictor variables, the site classification and discrimination methods, the estimation of the expected fauna, and indices for comparing the agreement, or lack of it, between the observed and expected fauna, are all discussed. The indices are assessed on the reference sites and on a separate test set of 340 sites, which are subject to a wide range of types and degrees of impairment.
Article
Coarse-resolution thematic maps derived from remotely sensed data and implemented in GIS play an important role in coastal and marine conservation, research and management. Here, we describe an approach for fine-resolution mapping of land-cover types using aerial photography and ancillary GIS and ground data in a large (100 × 35 km) subtropical estuarine system (Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia). We have developed and implemented a classification scheme representing 24 coastal (subtidal, intertidal, mangrove, supratidal and terrestrial) cover types relevant to the ecology of estuarine animals, nekton and shorebirds. The accuracy of classifications of the intertidal and subtidal cover types, as indicated by the agreement between the mapped (predicted) and reference (ground) data, was 77–88%, depending on the zone and level of generalization required. The variability and spatial distribution of habitat mosaics (landscape types) across the mapped environment were assessed using K-means clustering and validated with Classification and Regression Tree models. Seven broad landscape types could be distinguished and ways of incorporating the information on landscape composition into site-specific conservation and field research are discussed. This research illustrates the importance and potential applications of fine-resolution mapping for conservation and management of estuarine habitats and their terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.
Article
Tests for null hypotheses of 'absence of structure' should play an important role in any exploratory study, to guard against interpretation of sample patterns that could have been obtained by chance, and two new tests of this type are described. In the multivariate analyses that arise in community ecology and many other environmental contexts, e.g. in linking assemblage patterns to forcing environmental variables (gradient analysis), the problem of chance associations is exacerbated by the large number of combinations of abiotic variables that can usually be examined. A test which allows for this selection bias is described (the global BEST test), which applies to any dissimilarity measure, utilises only rank dissimilarities, and operates by permutation, assuming no specific distributional form or parametric expression for the biotic to abiotic links. A second permutation procedure, the similarity profile routine (SIMPROF), tests for the presence of sample groups (or more continuous sample patterns) in a priori unstructured sets of samples, for which an a prior! structured test (e.g. the widely-used ANOSIM) is invalid. One context is in interpreting dendrograms from hierarchical cluster analyses: a series of SIMPROF tests provides objective stopping rules for ever-finer dissection into subgroups. Connecting these two tests is a third methodological strand, adapting De'ath's multivariate equivalent of univariate CART analysis (Classification And Regression Trees) to a non-parametric context. This produces a divisive, constrained, hierarchical cluster analysis of samples, based on their assemblage data, termed a linkage tree. The constraint is that each binary division of the tree corresponds to a threshold on one of the environmental variables and, consistently with related non-parametric routines, maximises the high-dimensional separation of the two groups, as measured by the ANOSIM R statistic. Such linkage trees therefore provide abiotic 'explanations' for each biotic subdivision of the samples but, as with unconstrained clustering, the LINKTREE routine requires objective stopping rules to avoid over-interpretation, these again being provided by a sequence of SIMPROF tests. The inter-connectedness of these three new developments is illustrated by data from the literature of marine ecology. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Article
The increased potential for long-term degradative change associated with large-scale diffuse impacts in urban marine environments highlights the need to develop methods for assessing the ecological significance of any observed changes. This study defines "health" on the basis of the range of communities observed along gradients of anthropogenic impacts. This definition identifies both acute effects and broader scale degradation in community structure. Three multivariate constrained ordination techniques were used to assess changes in communities occurring along an anthropogenic disturbance gradient of stormwater pollution in two different habitats (estuaries and harbors). All three techniques detected changes, even when historical data sets, not specifically designed for the purpose, were utilized. Comparison with five diversity indices suggested that the multivariate approach was more successful in defining change and, thus, ecological health. Moreover, the information can easily be examined for changes in individual species, or for changes in function, trophic status, or biomass/size structure, improving interpretation of the ecological consequences of change. As this multivariate approach allows for monitoring community composition to determine whether sites are improving or degrading over time, it would be useful for aiding management decisions and assessing the efficiency of management actions. While this study occurred in one region only, the approach should be able to be utilized in other marine (or freshwater or terrestrial) systems where commensurable regional-scale multivariate databases exist.
Article
1. Cluster analysis of reference sites with similar biota is the initial step in creating River Invertebrate Prediction and Classification System (RIVPACS) and similar river bioassessment models such as Australian River Assessment System (AUSRIVAS). This paper describes and tests an alternative prediction method, Assessment by Nearest Neighbour Analysis (ANNA), based on the same philosophy as RIVPACS and AUSRIVAS but without the grouping step that some people view as artificial. 2. The steps in creating ANNA models are: (i) weighting the predictor variables using a multivariate approach analogous to principal axis correlations, (ii) calculating the weighted Euclidian distance from a test site to the reference sites based on the environmental predictors, (iii) predicting the faunal composition based on the nearest reference sites and (iv) calculating an observed/expected (O/E) analogous to RIVPACS/AUSRIVAS. 3. The paper compares AUSRIVAS and ANNA models on 17 datasets representing a variety of habitats and seasons. First, it examines each model's regressions for Observed versus Expected number of taxa, including the r2, intercept and slope. Second, the two models’ assessments of 79 test sites in New Zealand are compared. Third, the models are compared on test and presumed reference sites along a known trace metal gradient. Fourth, ANNA models are evaluated for western Australia, a geographically distinct region of Australia. The comparisons demonstrate that ANNA and AUSRIVAS are generally equivalent in performance, although ANNA turns out to be potentially more robust for the O versus E regressions and is potentially more accurate on the trace metal gradient sites. 4. The ANNA method is recommended for use in bioassessment of rivers, at least for corroborating the results of the well established AUSRIVAS- and RIVPACS-type models, if not to replace them.
Article
The European Water Framework Directive will have instituted the concept of Ecological Quality Status (EQS) as a way to assess the biological quality of water masses. The EQS will be based mainly upon the composition of the different biological compartments in the ecosystem specially the benthos as compared to certain reference sites. Such management tools are already well established for freshwater (i.e. biotic indices), but not for coastal and estuarine (i.e. transitional) waters. In the framework of the Seine-Aval programme a workshop on benthic indicators was organized at Wimereux (France) in June 2005. The aim of this workshop and this paper is (1) to present the experiences of the Seine Aval researchers, and the French scientific approaches to benthic indicators, with those international experiences and approaches that have been published or are under development; and (2) to examine the existing benthic tools and their possible use in the characterization of the state of estuarine ecosystems. The debate during the workshop and the numerous recently published on the WFD are discussed in term of the implementation of the WFD in transitional water bodies using benthic indicators and indices. Some proposals for the future underline the needs to re-examine and adapt the different index thresholds, to take into account physical disturbances, to inventory the existing conditions vs reference conditions and to be as pragmatic as possible in using the WFD in transitional waters.
Article
The collection of 152 samples from the upper sublittoral zone along the rocky coasts of Catalonia (Northwestern Mediterranean) was carried out in 1999 in order to test the suitability of littoral communities to be used as indicators of water quality in the frame of the European Water Framework Directive. Detrended correspondence analysis were performed to distinguish between different communities and to relate communities composition to water quality. Samples collected in reference sites were included in the analysis. Mediterranean rocky shore communities situated in the upper sublittoral zone can be used as indicators of the water quality: there is a gradient from high to bad status that comprises from dense Cystoseira mediterranea forests to green algae dominated communities. The geographical patterns in the distribution of these communities show that the best areas are situated in the Northern coast, where tourism is the main economic resource of the area, and the worst area is situated close to the metropolitan zone of Barcelona with high population and industrial development. Thus, Mediterranean sublittoral rocky shore communities are useful indicators of water quality and multivariate analysis are a suitable statistical tool for the assessment of the ecological status.
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