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Title: Effect of Depth across a Latitudinal Gradient in the Structure of Rhodolith Seabeds and Associated Biota across the Eastern Atlantic Ocean
Authors: Pérez-Peris, Inés
Navarro Mayoral, Sandra 
de Esteban, Marcial Cosme
Tuya Cortés, Fernando José 
Peña, Viviana
Barbara, Ignacio
Neves, Pedro
Ribeiro, Claudia
Abreu, Antonio
Grall, Jacques
Espino Rodríguez,Fernando 
Bosch Guerra, Néstor Echedey 
Haroun Tabraue, Ricardo Jesús 
Otero-Ferrer, Francisco 
Keywords: Environmental drivers
Vertical scale
Latitudinal gradient
Maerl beds
Non-geniculate corallines, et al
Issue Date: 2023
Journal: Diversity 
Abstract: Rhodolith seabeds are ‘ecosystem engineers’ composed of free-living calcareous red macroalgae, which create extensive marine habitats. This study addressed how depth influenced the structure (size and morphology) of rhodoliths and the abundance of associated floral and faunal epibionts across the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. Sampling was carried out at two sites within five regions (Brittany, Galicia, Madeira, Gran Canaria, and Principe Island), from temperate to tropical, covering a latitudinal gradient of 47°, in three depth strata (shallow, intermediate and deep), according to the rhodolith bathymetrical range in each region. Depth typically affected the rhodolith size at all regions; the largest nodules were found in the intermediate and deep strata, while rhodolith sphericity was larger at the shallow depth strata. Higher biomasses of attached macroalgae (epiphytes) were observed at depths where rhodoliths were larger. The abundance of epifauna was variable across regions and depth strata. In general, the occurrence, structure, and abundance of the associated biota across rhodolith habitats were affected by depth, with local variability (i.e., sites within regions) often displaying a more significant influence than the regional (large-scale) variation. Overall, this study showed that the rhodolith morphology and associated epibionts (flora and fauna) were mostly affected by depth, irrespective of latitude.
ISSN: 1424-2818
DOI: 10.3390/d15010103
Source: Diversity [ISSN 1424-2818], v. 15 (1), 103, (Enero 2023)
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