Hyperdiverse Macrofauna Communities Associated with a Common Sponge, Stylissa carteri, Shift across Ecological Gradients in the Central Red Sea

Nora Kandler, Michael Wooster, Matthieu Leray, Nancy Knowlton, Nicole de Voogd, Gustav Paulay, Michael L. Berumen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sponges act as important microhabitats in the marine environment and promote biodiversity by harboring a wide variety of macrofauna, but little is known about the magnitude and patterns of diversity of sponge-associated communities. This study uses DNA barcoding to examine the macrofaunal communities associated with Stylissa carteri in the central Saudi Arabian Red Sea, an understudied ecosystem with high biodiversity and endemism. In total, 146 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were distinguished from 938 successfully-sequenced macrofauna individuals from 99 sponges. A significant difference was found in the macrofaunal community composition of S. carteri along a cross-shelf gradient using OTU abundance (Bray–Curtis dissimilarity index), with more amphipods associated with offshore sponges and more brittle stars and fishes associated with inshore sponges. The abundance of S. carteri also showed a gradient, increasing with proximity to shore. However, no significant differences in macrofaunal community composition or total macrofauna abundance were observed between exposed and sheltered sides of the reefs and there was no significant change in total macrofauna abundance along the inshore–offshore gradient. As climate change and ocean acidification continue to impact coral reef ecosystems, understanding the ecology of sponges and their role as microhabitats may become more important for understanding their full ramifications for biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18
JournalDiversity
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 29 2019

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Hyperdiverse Macrofauna Communities Associated with a Common Sponge, Stylissa carteri, Shift across Ecological Gradients in the Central Red Sea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this