University of Tasmania
2006_Magierowski_&_Johnson_Ecological_Applications.pdf (155.77 kB)

Robustness of surrogates of biodiversity in marine benthic communities

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posted on 2023-05-25, 22:01 authored by Magierowski, RH, Craig JohnsonCraig Johnson
The usefulness of surrogates to estimate complex variables describing community structure, such as the various components of biodiversity, is long established. Most attention has been given to surrogates of species richness and species diversity and has focused on identifying a subset of taxa as a surrogate of total community richness or diversity. In adopting a surrogate measure, it is assumed that the relationship between the surrogate(s) and total richness or diversity is consistent in both space and time. These assumptions are rarely examined explicitly. We examined the robustness of potential surrogates of familial richness and multivariate community structure for macrofauna communities inhabiting artificial kelp holdfasts by comparing among communities of dissimilar ages and among communities established at different times of the year. This is important because most benthic landscapes " will be a mosaic of patches reflecting different intensities frequencies and timing of disturbances. The total abundance of organisms and familial richness of crustaceans or polychaetes were all good predictors of total familial richness (R2 . 0.68). In contrast while the familial richness of other groups such as mollusks and echinoderms were well correlated with total familial richness for communities at an early stage of development the strength of these relationships declined with community age. For multivariate community structure carefully selected subsets of ~10% of the total taxa yielded similar patterns to the total suite of taxa irrespective of the age of the community. Thus useful surrogates of both familial richness and multivariate community structure can be identified for this type of community. However the choice of technique for selecting surrogate taxa largely depends on the nature of the pilot data available and careful selection is required to ensure that surrogates perform consistently across different-aged communities. While the specific taxa selected as surrogates will vary among different communities and possibly even among similar communities at different sites the techniques and the concepts we address are applicable to any community type."


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Ecological Applications



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  • Published

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Copyright by the Ecological Society of America

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