Biodiversity at Mingulay, ISDSC 2012


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Poster presented by Lea-Anne Henry at the International Symposium on Deep Sea Corals, Amsterdam 2012.

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Biodiversity at Mingulay, ISDSC 2012

  1. 1. Maps and models of biodiversity and ecosystem function at the Mingulay Reef Complex, Scotland Lea-Anne Henry, Juan Moreno Navas & J. Murray Roberts The integration of acoustic remote sensing technology with biological research has lead to many advancements in our knowledge of the biodiversity and ecosystem function of cold-water coral reefs off western Scotland. Not only has it been used to model spatial patterns in biodiversity, but we have launched new research into how seabed bathymetry can be used to map and model ecosystem functions such as benthic trophic structure and the occurrence of deepwater shark spawning and potential nursery grounds. Reef biodiversity Fig. 1: Models of beta diversity using multibeam and sidescan sonar survey data show the greatest species turnover on the sedimentary trails of the complex, in contrast to the coral mounds that are distinguished by a much more characteristic reef fauna. ship image ©University of Washington Reef ecosystem function Fig. 2: Local hotspots of biodiversity on the best studied reef in the complex, Mingulay Area 1, are located in areas with strong currents and high cover of mixed dead and living Lophelia pertusa framework, which greatly enhances species richness. Fig. 3: Spatially explicit models of beta diversity on the reef complex show significant associations between reef trophic structure and seabed bathymetry. Predators and scavengers are not as constrained by seabed terrain as are filter and suspension feeders such as sponges, cnidarians, bivalves and tubeworms. Thus, remotely-sensed bathymetry can be used to predict how ecosystem functions such as filter- and suspension-feeding are distributed across the reef complex.Contact Fig. 4: We discovered egg cases deposited by the oviparous deepwater catshark Galeus melastomus on Banana Reef Mingulay Area 1. Habitat mapping using ground-truthed multibeam data revealed a high niche conservatism in spawning grounds on the complex: capsules were only foundT: +44 (0)131 451 3463 nested in living Lophelia pertusa colonies located on gentlyF: +44 (0)131 451 3009 sloping sites on the leeward side of prevailing currents in local seabed depressions. One of our current initiatives is to use this multibeam dataset to predict the occurrence of other spawningCentre for Marine Biodiversity & sites in order to see if we can map this aspect of ecosystem function at the scale of the complex.Biotechnology, School of Life Sci-ences, Heriot-Watt University,Edinburgh, Scotland, Further reading Henry et al. 2010. Coral ReefsEH14 4AS, UK Roberts et al. 2005. Coral Reefs. Roberts et al. 2009. Mar Ecol Prog Ser Acknowledgements Funding for this research is provided by the EU FP7 Project HERMIONE (grant agreement 226354). For more information