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Sea temperature shapes seasonal fluctuations in seaweed biomass within the Ningaloo coral reef ecosystem

Fulton, Christopher; Depczynski, Martial; Holmes, Thomas H.; Noble, Mae; Radford, Ben; Wernberg, Thomas; Wilson, Shaun

Description

Environmental drivers of seaweed biomass were investigated at Ningaloo, Western Australia, a coral reef ecosystem with negligible anthropogenic influences on seaweeds from fishing, farming, or eutrophication. Periodic surveys of benthic macroalgae occupying seaweed-dominated beds within the lagoon at two locations (Coral Bay, Tantabiddi) were made during winter, spring, and late summer over a 26 month period. Canopyforming Sargassum spp. biomass fluctuated over a seasonal growth-decay cycle,...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorFulton, Christopher
dc.contributor.authorDepczynski, Martial
dc.contributor.authorHolmes, Thomas H.
dc.contributor.authorNoble, Mae
dc.contributor.authorRadford, Ben
dc.contributor.authorWernberg, Thomas
dc.contributor.authorWilson, Shaun
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:32:27Z
dc.identifier.issn0024-3590
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/68845
dc.description.abstractEnvironmental drivers of seaweed biomass were investigated at Ningaloo, Western Australia, a coral reef ecosystem with negligible anthropogenic influences on seaweeds from fishing, farming, or eutrophication. Periodic surveys of benthic macroalgae occupying seaweed-dominated beds within the lagoon at two locations (Coral Bay, Tantabiddi) were made during winter, spring, and late summer over a 26 month period. Canopyforming Sargassum spp. biomass fluctuated over a seasonal growth-decay cycle, with highest values in the warm summer months (up to 1013 g fresh weight 0.25 m-2 at Coral Bay) and lowest values in winter (down to 155 g fresh weight 0.25 m-2 at Tantabiddi). Conversely, prominent understory seaweed genera Dictyopteris and Lobophora reached peak biomass in winter, when the Sargassum spp. canopy was lowest. Sargassum spp. biomass variation could be attributed largely to time (52%), location (21%), and site (26%), with low variation within individual seaweed beds (1%). Statistical analysis of the influence of five environmental variables (temperature, light, wind-driven upwelling, rainfall, significant wave height) indicated that location and sea temperature (1 month antecedent to biomass) provided the best explanation for Sargassum spp. biomass fluctuations. While sea temperature is a key driver of seaweed temporal dynamics, heterogeneity at the kilometer scale suggests that spatial context is also important. Given the important role of seaweeds in many ecosystem processes, this strong biophysical coupling between Sargassum spp. biomass and sea temperature suggests that thermal climate change will significantly affect coral reef productivity and biodiversity.
dc.publisherAmerican Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.
dc.sourceLimnology and Oceanography
dc.titleSea temperature shapes seasonal fluctuations in seaweed biomass within the Ningaloo coral reef ecosystem
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume59
dc.date.issued2014
local.identifier.absfor060205 - Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
local.identifier.absfor050101 - Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
local.identifier.absfor060701 - Phycology (incl. Marine Grasses)
local.identifier.ariespublicationU3488905xPUB1845
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationFulton, Christopher, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationDepczynski, Martial, The Australian Institute of Marine Science
local.contributor.affiliationHolmes, Thomas H., University of Western Australia
local.contributor.affiliationNoble, Mae, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationRadford, Ben, Australian Institute of Marine Science
local.contributor.affiliationWernberg, Thomas, University of Western Australia
local.contributor.affiliationWilson, Shaun, WA Department of Parks and Wildlife
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage156
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage166
local.identifier.doi10.4319/lo.2014.59.01.0156
local.identifier.absseo960305 - Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change
local.identifier.absseo960507 - Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments
dc.date.updated2015-12-10T11:20:10Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84892740219
local.identifier.thomsonID000339901800013
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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