Coral Reefs

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 719–734 | Cite as

Submerged oceanic shoals of north Western Australia are a major reservoir of marine biodiversity

  • Cordelia Moore
  • Mike Cappo
  • Ben Radford
  • Andrew Heyward
Report

Abstract

This paper provides a first assessment of fish communities associated with the submerged oceanic banks and shoals in north-west Australia. Until recently, little was known about these deeper and more inaccessible reefs. The mesophotic coral-reef habitats (20–80 m) were a major reservoir of marine biodiversity, with unique and exceptionally high fish diversity and abundance. Species richness in the study region was 1.4 times, and abundance almost twice, that recorded for similar mesophotic habitats on the Great Barrier Reef in north-east Australia. A review of the published literature revealed that Australia’s NW oceanic shoals support the highest fish species richness reported for mesophotic reefs to date. We made regional comparisons of fish community structure (species composition, richness and abundance) and assessed the influence of depth, substrate and location. The presence of consolidated calcareous reef, depth and aspect (a surrogate for exposure) had the greatest influence on species richness. In contrast, aspect and the presence of benthic biota had the greatest influence on fish abundance. Sites most exposed to the prevailing currents (facing north-east) had lowest fish abundance, while highest abundances were recorded on moderately exposed sites (along the north-west and south-east edges). The most abundant species were small (Pomacentrus coelestis) and large (Naso hexacanthus) planktivorous fish. Currently, 29.3% of NE Australia mesophotic reefs are within no-take management zones of the Great Barrier Reef. In contrast, just 1.3% of the NW oceanic shoals are designated as no-take areas. The location and extent of mesophotic reefs remain poorly quantified globally. Because these habitats support significant biodiversity and have the potential to act as important refugia, understanding their extent is critical to maintaining coral-reef biodiversity and resilience and supporting sustainable management.

Keywords

Biodiversity Mesophotic coral reefs Oceanic shoals Offshore fish assemblages Western Australia Timor Sea 

References

  1. Almany GR, Connolly SR, Heath DD, Hogan JD, Jones GP, McCook LJ, Mills M, Pressey RL, Williamson DH (2009) Connectivity, biodiversity conservation and the design of marine reserve networks for coral reefs. Coral Reefs 28:339–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson MJ (2001) A new method for non-parametric multivariate analysis of variance. Austral Ecol 26:32–46Google Scholar
  3. Bak RP, Nieuwland G, Meesters EH (2005) Coral reef crisis in deep and shallow reefs: 30 years of constancy and change in reefs of Curaçao and Bonaire. Coral Reefs 24:475–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bejarano I, Appeldoorn RS, Nemeth M (2014) Fishes associated with mesophotic coral ecosystems in La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Coral Reefs 33:313–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bongaerts P, Ridgway T, Sampayo EM, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2010) Assessing the ‘deep reef refugia’ hypothesis: focus on Caribbean reefs. Coral Reefs 29:309–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brokovich E, Einbinder S, Shashar N, Kiflawi M, Kark S (2008) Descending to the twilight-zone: changes in coral reef fish assemblages along a depth gradient down to 65 m. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 371:253–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bryan DR, Kilfoyle K, Gilmore RG, Spieler RE (2013) Characterization of the mesophotic reef fish community in south Florida, USA. J Appl Ichthyol 29:10–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cappo M, Speare P, De’ath G (2004) Comparison of baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) and prawn (shrimp) trawls for assessments of fish biodiversity in inter-reefal areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 302:123–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cappo M, De’ath G, Spear P (2007a) Inter-reef vertebrate communities of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park determined by baited remote underwater video stations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 350:209–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cappo M, Harvey E, Shortis M (2007b) Counting and measuring fish with baited video techniques—an overview. In: Australian society for fish biology 2006 workshop proceedings, vol 1, pp 101–114Google Scholar
  11. Cappo M, Stowar M, Stieglitz T, Lawrey E, Johansson C, MacNeil A (2012) Measuring and communicating effects of MPAs on deep ‘shoal’ fisheries. In: Proceedings on 12th international coral reef symposium. http://www.icrs2012.com/proceedings/manuscripts/ICRS2012_18A_1.pdf
  12. Cappo M, Speare P, Wassenberg T, Harvey E, Rees M, Heyward A, Pitcher R (2001) Use of baited remote underwatervideo stations (BRUVS) to survey demersal fish—how deep and meaningful? In: Harvey E, Cappo M (eds) Direct sensing of the size frequency and abundance of target and non-target fauna in Australian Fisheries—a national workshop, 4–7 September 2000, Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, pp 63–71Google Scholar
  13. Chambers JM, Cleveland WS, Kleiner B, Tukey PA (1983) Graphical methods for data analysis. Wadsworth, BelmontGoogle Scholar
  14. Cheung WWL, Watson R, Pauly D (2013) Signature of ocean warming in global fisheries catch. Nature 497:365–368CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Cheung WWL, Lam VWY, Sarmiento JL, Kearney K, Watson R, Pauly D (2009) Projecting global marine biodiversity impacts under climate change scenarios. Fish Fish 10:235–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Costa B, Taylor JC, Kracker L, Battista T, Pittman S (2014) Mapping reef fish and the seascape: using acoustics and spatial modeling to guide coastal management. PLoS One 9:e85555CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. De’ath G (2002) Multivariate regression trees: a new technique for modeling species-environment relationships. Ecology 83:1105–1117Google Scholar
  18. De’ath G (2007) Boosted trees for ecological modelling and prediction. Ecology 88:243–251CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Dufrêne M, Legendre P (1997) Species assemblages and indicator species: the need for a flexible asymmetrical approach. Ecol Monogr 67:345–366Google Scholar
  20. Farnsworth KD, Thygesen UH, Ditlevsen S, King NJ (2007) How to estimate scavenger fish abundance using baited camera data. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 350:223–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fitzpatrick BM, Harvey ES, Heyward AJ, Twiggs EJ, Colquhoun J (2012) Habitat specialization in tropical continental shelf demersal fish assemblages. PLoS One 7:e39634CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Fukunaga A, Kosaki RK, Wagner D, Kane C (2016) Structure of mesophotic reef fish assemblages in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. PLoS One 11:e0157861CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Garcia-Sais JR (2010) Reef habitats and associated sessile-benthic and fish assemblages across a euphotic-mesophotic depth gradient in Isla Desecheo, Puerto Rico. Coral Reefs 29:277–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Geoscience Australia, BREE (Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (2012) Australian gas resource assessment. Geoscience Australia and Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  25. Gove JM, McManus MA, Neuheimer AB, Polovina JJ, Drazen JC, Smith CR, Merrifield MA, Friedlander AM, Ehses JS, Young CW, Dillon AK, Williams GJ (2016) Near-island biological hotspots in barren ocean basins. Nat Commun 7:10581CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. Harris PT, Bridge TCL, Beaman RJ, Webster JM, Nichol SL, Brooke BP (2013) Submerged banks in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, greatly increase available coral reef habitat. ICES J Mar Sci 70:284–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harvey E, Shortis M (1996) A system for stereo-video measurement of sub-tidal organisms. Mar Technol Soc J 29:10–22Google Scholar
  28. Harvey ES, Cappo M, Butler JJ, Hall N, Kendrick GA (2007) Bait attraction affects the performance of remote underwater video stations in assessment of demersal fish community structure. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 350:245–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Heyward AJ, Halford AR, Smith LD, Williams DM (1997) Coral reefs of north west Australia: baseline monitoring of an oceanic reef ecosystem. In: Proceedings on 8th international coral reef symposium vol 1, pp 289–294Google Scholar
  30. Heyward A, Jones R, Meeuwig J, Burns K, Radford B, Colquhoun J, Cappo M, Case M, O’Leary R, Fisher R, Meekan M, Stowar M (2012) Monitoring study S5 banks and shoals, Montara 2011 offshore banks assessment survey. Report for PTTEP Australasia (Ashmore Cartier) Pty, Ltd. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, p 253Google Scholar
  31. Hillebrand H (2004) On the generality of the latitudinal diversity gradient. Am Nat 163:192–211CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Hinderstein LM, Marr JCA, Martinez FA, Dowgiallo MJ, Puglise KA, Pyle RL, Zawada DG, Appeldoorn R (2010) Theme section on “Mesophotic coral ecosystems: characterization, ecology, and management”. Coral Reefs 29:247–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Holmes KW, Van Niel KP, Radford B, Kendrick GA, Grove SL (2008) Modelling distribution of marine benthos from hydroacoustics and underwater video. Cont Shelf Res 28:1800–1810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Holstein DM, Smith TB, Paris CB (2016a) Depth-independent reproduction in the reef coral Porites asteroides from shallow to mesophotic zones. PLoS One 11:e0146068CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Holstein DM, Paris CB, Vaz AC, Smith TB (2016b) Modeling vertical coral connectivity and mesophotic refugia. Coral Reefs 35:23–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hughes TP, Rodrigues MJ, Bellwood DR, Ceccarelli D, Hoegh-Guldberg O, McCook L, Moltschaniwskyj N, Pratchett MS, Steneck RS, Willis B (2007) Phase shifts, herbivory, and the resilience of coral reefs to climate change. Curr Biol 17:360–365CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. IMCRA (2006) A guide to the integrated marine and coastal regionalisation of Australia version 4.0. Department of the Environment and Heritage, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  38. Jones GP, Almany GR, Russ GR, Sale PF, Steneck RS, van Oppen MJH, Willis BL (2009) Larval retention and connectivity among populations of corals and reef fishes: history, advances and challenges. Coral Reefs 28:307–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kahng SE, Garcia-Sais JR, Spalding HL, Brokovich E, Wagner D, Weil E, Hinderstein L, Toonen RJ (2010) Community ecology of mesophotic coral reef ecosystems. Coral Reefs 29:255–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kane C, Kosaki RK, Wagner D (2014) High levels of mesophotic reef fish endemism in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Bull Mar Sci 90:693–703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kosaki RK, Pyle RL, Leonard JC, Hauk BB, Whitton RK, Wagner D (2016) 100% endemism in mesophotic reef fish assemblages at Kure Atoll, Hawaiian Islands. Mar Biodiv. doi:10.1007/s12526-016-0510-5 Google Scholar
  42. Lesser MP, Slattery M, Leichter JJ (2009) Ecology of mesophotic coral reefs. J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 375:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lindfield SJ, Harvey ES, Halford AR, McIlwain JL (2016) Mesophotic depths as refuge areas for fishery-targeted species on coral reefs. Coral Reefs 35:125–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Locker SD, Armstrong RA, Battista TA, Rooney JJ, Sherman C, Zawada DG (2010) Geomorphology of mesophotic coral ecosystems: current perspectives on morphology, distribution, and mapping strategies. Coral Reefs 29:329–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lough JM (1998) Coastal climate of northwest Australia and comparisons with the Great Barrier Reef: 1960 to 1992. Coral Reefs 17:351–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Loya Y, Eyal G, Treibitz T, Lesser MP, Appleldoorn R (2016) Theme section on mesophotic coral ecosystems: advances in knowledge and future perspectives. Coral Reefs 35:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McCauley DJ, Pinsky ML, Palumbi SR, Estes JA, Joyce FH, Warner RR (2015) Marine defaunation: animal loss in the global ocean. Science 347:247–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McKinnon AD, Meekan MG, Carleton JH, Furnas MJ, Duggan S, Skirving W (2003) Rapid changes in shelf waters and pelagic communities on the southern Northwest Shelf, Australia, following a tropical cyclone. Cont Shelf Res 23:93–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Meirelles PM, Amado-Filho GM, Pereira-Filho GH, Pinheiro HT, de Moura RL, Joyeux J-C, Mazzei EF, Bastos AC, Edwards RA, Dinsdale E, Paranhos R, Santos EO, Iida T, Gotoh K, Nakamura S, Sawabe T, Rezende CE, Gadelha LMR Jr, Francini-Filho RB, Thompson C, Thompson FL (2015) Baseline assessment of mesophotic reefs of the Vitória-Trindade seamount chain based on water quality, microbial diversity, benthic cover and fish biomass data. PLoS One 10:e0130084CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. Moore CH, Harvey ES, Van Niel K (2010) The application of predicted habitat models to investigate the spatial ecology of demersal fish assemblages. Mar Biol 157:2717–2729CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Moore CH, Van Niel K, Harvey ES (2011) The effect of landscape composition and configuration on the spatial distribution of temperate demersal fish. Ecography 34:425–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Moore G, Morrison S, Hutchins JB, Allen GR, Sampe A (2014) Kimberley marine biota. Historical data: fishes. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 84:161–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Moore C, Drazen JC, Radford BT, Kelley C, Newman SJ (2016a) Improving essential fish habitat designation to support sustainable ecosystem-based fisheries management. Mar Policy 69:32–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Moore CH, Radford BT, Possingham HP, Heyward AJ, Stewart RR, Watts ME, Prescott J, Newman SJ, Harvey ES, Fisher R, Bryce CW, Lowe RJ, Berry O, Espinosa-Gayosso A, Sporer E, Saunders T (2016b) Improving spatial prioritisation for remote marine regions: optimising biodiversity conservation and sustainable development trade-offs. Sci Rep 6:32029CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  55. Mora C, Chittaro PM, Sale PF, Kritzer JP, Ludsin SA (2003) Patterns and processes in reef fish diversity. Nature 421:933–936CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Morin PJ (2011) Community ecology, 2nd edn. Wiley, ChichesterCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Moura RL, Secchin NA, Amado-Filho GM, Francini-Filho RB, Freitas MO, Minte-Vera CV, Teixeira JB, Thompson FL, Dutra GF, Sumida PYG, Guth AZ, Lopes RM, Bastos AC (2013) Spatial patterns of benthic megahabitats and conservation planning in the Abrolhos Bank. Cont Shelf Res 70:109–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Oksanen J, Blanchet FG, Kindt R, Legendre P, Minchin PR, O’Hara R, Simpson GL, Solymos P, Stevens M, Wagner H (2015) Vegan: community ecology package. R Package Version 2.0-10Google Scholar
  59. Pereira-Filho GH, Amado-Filho GM, Guimaraes SMPB, Moura RL, Sumida PYG, Abrantes DP, Bahia RG, Guth AZ, Jorge RR, Francini RB (2011) Reef fish and benthic assemblages of the Trindade and Martin Vaz Island Group, Southwestern Atlantic. Braz J Oceanogr 59:201–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Perry AL, Low PJ, Ellis JR, Reynolds JD (2005) Climate change and distribution shifts in marine fishes. Science 308:1912–1915CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Pinheiro HT, Goodbody-Gringley G, Jessup ME, Shepherd B, Chequer AD, Rocha LA (2016) Upper and lower mesophotic coral reef fish communities evaluated by underwater visual censuses in two Caribbean locations. Coral Reefs 35:139–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pinheiro HT, Mazzei E, Moura RL, Amado GM, Carvalho A, Braga AC, Costa PAS, Ferreira BP, Ferreira CEL, Floeter SR, Francini RB, Gasparini JL, Macieira RM, Martins AS, Olavo G, Pimentel CR, Rocha LA, Sazima I, Simon T, Teixeira JB, Xavier LB, Joyeux JC (2015) Fish biodiversity of the Vitoria-Trindade seamount chain, southwestern Atlantic: an updated database. PLoS One 10:e0118180CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  63. Rees MJ, Jordan A, Price OF, Coleman MA, Davis AR (2014) Abiotic surrogates for temperate rocky reef biodiversity: implications for marine protected areas. Divers Distrib 20:284–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ridgeway G (2007) Generalised boosted models: a guide to the gbm package. http://code.google.com/p/gradientboostedmodels/
  65. Rooney J, Donham E, Montgomery A, Spalding H, Parrish F, Boland R, Fenner D, Gove J, Vetter O (2010) Mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Coral Reefs 29:361–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rosa MR, Alves AC, Medeiros DV, Coni EOC, Ferreira CM, Ferreira BP, de Souza RR, Amado-Filho GM, Pereira-Filho GH, de Moura RL, Thompson FL, Sumida PYG, Francini-Filho RB (2016) Mesophotic reef fish assemblages of the remote St. Peter and St. Paul’s Archipelago, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Brazil. Coral Reefs 35:113–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Simpson SD, Jennings S, Johnson MP, Blanchard JL, Schon PJ, Sims DW, Genner MJ (2011) Continental shelf-wide response of a fish assemblage to rapid warming of the sea. Curr Biol 21:1565–1570CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Slattery M, Lesser MP, Brazeau D, Stokes MD, Leichter JJ (2011) Connectivity and stability of mesophotic reefs. J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 408:32–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sumaila UR, Cheung WWL, Lam VWY, Pauly D, Herrick S (2011) Climate change impacts on the biophysics and economics of world fisheries. Nat Clim Chang 1:449–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Tenggardjaja KA, Bowen BW, Bernardi G (2014) Vertical and horizontal genetic connectivity in Chromis verater, an endemic damselfish found on shallow and mesophotic reefs in the Hawaiian Archipelago and adjacent Johnston Atoll. PLoS One 9:e115493CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  71. Tittensor DP, Baco AR, Hall-Spencer JM, Orr JC, Rogers AD (2010) Seamounts as refugia from ocean acidification for cold-water stony corals. Mar Ecol 31:212–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Underwood JN, Smith LD, Van Oppen MJH, Gilmour JP (2007) Multiple scales of genetic connectivity in a brooding coral on isolated reefs following catastrophic bleaching. Mol Ecol 16:771–784CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. van Oppen MJH, Bongaerts P, Underwood JN, Peplow LM, Cooper TF (2011) The role of deep reefs in shallow reef recovery: an assessment of vertical connectivity in a brooding coral from west and east Australia. Mol Ecol 20:1647–1660CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Wagner D, Kosaki RK, Spalding HL, Whitton RK, Pyle RL, Sherwood AR, Tsuda RT, Calcinai B (2014) Mesophotic surveys of the flora and fauna at Johnston Atoll, Central Pacific Ocean. Mar Biodivers Rec 7:e68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Watson DL, Harvey ES, Anderson MJ, Kendrick GA (2005) A comparison of temperate reef fish assemblages recorded by three underwater stereo-video techniques. Mar Biol 148:415–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Watson DL, Harvey ES, Fitzpatrick BM, Langlois TJ, Shedrawi G (2010) Assessing reef fish assemblage structure: How do different stereo-video techniques compare? Mar Biol 157:1237–1250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Williams DM (1991) Patterns and processes in the distribution of coral reef fishes. In: Sale PF (ed) The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 437–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wilson B (2014) Kimberley marine biota. History and environment. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 84:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wolanski E, Spagnol S (2003) Dynamics of the turbidity maximum in King Sound, tropical Western Australia. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 56:877–890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Young M, Carr MH (2015) Application of species distribution models to explain and predict the distribution, abundance and assemblage structure of nearshore temperate reef fishes. Divers Distrib 21:1428–1440CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environment and AgricultureCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceIndian Ocean Marine Research CentreCrawley, PerthAustralia
  3. 3.School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  4. 4.CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere FlagshipFloreatAustralia
  5. 5.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceTownsville MCAustralia
  6. 6.Indian Ocean Marine Research CentreUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

Personalised recommendations