Predicting Coral Species Richness: The Effect of Input Variables, Diversity and Scale
MetadataShow full item record
Coral reefs are facing a biodiversity crisis due to increasing human impacts, consequently, one third of reef-building corals have an elevated risk of extinction. Logistic challenges prevent broad-scale species-level monitoring of hard corals; hence it has become critical that effective proxy indicators of species richness are established. This study tests how accurately three potential proxy indicators (generic richness on belt transects, generic richness on point-intercept transects and percent live hard coral cover on point-intercept transects) predict coral species richness at three different locations and two analytical scales. Generic richness (measured on a belt transect) was found to be the most effective predictor variable, with significant positive linear relationships across locations and scales. Percent live hard coral cover consistently performed poorly as anindicator of coral species richness. This study advances the practical framework for optimizing coral reef monitoring programs and empirically demonstrates that generic richness offers an effective way to predict coral species richness with a moderate level of precision. While the accuracy of species richness estimates will decrease in communities dominated byspecies-rich genera (e.g. Acropora), generic richness provides a useful measure of phylogenetic diversity and incorporating this metric into monitoring programs will increase the likelihood that changes in coral species diversity can be detected.
This article is published under the Open Access publishing model and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Please refer to the licence to obtain terms for any further reuse or distribution of this work.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Ryan, N.; Richards, Z.; Hobbs, Jean-Paul (2014)Abstract. Coral reefs are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world and are increasingly at risk due to a range of threats. Detailed species-level data is essential in developing effective management strategies ...
Richards, Zoe (2013)The productivity and health of coral reef habitat is diminishing worldwide; however, the effect that habitat declines have on coral reef biodiversity is not known. Logistical and financial constraints mean that surveys ...
Williams, Matthew R. (2009)This study adapted and developed methods of assessing and modelling biodiversity of butterflies and day-flying moths in habitat fragments, and determined those factors affecting their presence, abundance and species ...