Shifts in species abundance of large benthic foraminifera Amphistegina: the possible effects of Tropical Cyclone Ita
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On the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), the large benthic foraminifera Amphistegina lobifera, A. lessonii and A. radiata occur in shallow (<30 m) areas and have a clear distribution gradient. In April 2014, Severe Tropical Cyclone (TC) Ita impacted the northern region of the GBR. We surveyed the leeward slope of Yonge Reef at 6 and 18 m, in August 2013 and 2014. Results showed an overall decline in abundance of Amphistegina and a shift in proportion at both depths between 2013 and 2014. The shallow-dweller A. lobifera was severely affected; however, the deep-dweller A. radiata and the generalist A. lessonii only declined at 6 m and increased in abundance at 18 m. Patterns observed are likely linked to the occurrence of TC Ita. We propose that differing population-level source–sink dynamics should be considered when exploring persistence and recovery patterns over depth in foraminiferal communities.
KeywordsGreat Barrier Reef Symbiont-bearing foraminifera Depth distribution Community structure
This study was funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the Ian Potter Doctoral Fellowship at Lizard Island. We also thank the field assistance of Australia Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station staff.
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