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Marine Biodiversity of Eastern Tropical Pacific Coral Reefs

Part of the Coral Reefs of the World book series (CORW,volume 8)

Abstract

The eastern tropical Pacific (ETP) is an isolated oceanic region exposed to extreme oceanographic conditions, including low salinity, low pH, high temperatures during El Niño, and low temperatures during La Niña and seasonal upwelling. The coral reefs in this region have a relatively limited suite of species compared to other coral reef areas of the world, but much like more diverse reefs the species present interact in complex ways. Here we synthezise the knowledge of taxonomic groups of reef organisms from prokaryotes to vertebrates, including algae, sponges, cnidarians, annelids and other worms, molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms and fishes. We also present summaries on the biodiversity of associated functional groups and habitats, including (a) reef zooplankton and cryptic fauna, and (b) soft benthic environments, rhodolith beds and mesophotic environments. Several factors that structure the biodiversity of ETP coral reefs are explored, including biological, physical and chemical controls. ETP coral reefs are relatively simple systems that can be used as models for studying biodiversity and interactions among species. We conclude this review by highlighting pressing research needs, from very basic inventories to more sophisticated studies of cryptic assemblages, and to investigations on the impacts of natural and anthropogenic effects on ETP coral reef biodiversity.

Keywords

  • Reef invertebrates
  • Fishes
  • Algae
  • Plankton
  • Latin America

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Acknowledgements

We thank Peter W. Glynn and Derek P. Manzello for the invitation to contribute this chapter to the eastern Pacific coral reef book. J. Cortés thanks the Vicerrectoría de Investigación, Universidad de Costa Rica, for the internship received (2014) to work on this and other manuscripts. J.C. also acknowledges the extra help by Luis Hernández in reviewing the complete text, and helping with tables and figures. F.A. Zapata thanks D.R. Robertson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) for providing access to his Online Information System on the Shore Fishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific during a time when the website was closed for maintenance. K.L. Kaiser, P. Medina-Rosas and A. Hermosillo thank D.R. Robertson for allowing us to participate in the Expeditions aboard the RV Urracá to Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Isla del Coco, Costa Rica, and Clipperton Atoll, sponsored by STRI, and, to Clipperton Atoll by the National Geographic Society (Grant NGS 5831–96); also our thanks to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (SBMNH), Malacology Department, for use of their facilities. A special thanks to Patricia Sadeghian (SBMNH) for her assistance in photography. E. Wieters and A. Pérez-Matus thank the Fondo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Chile (Fondecyt # 1130167). We thank Peter W. Glynn, Derek P. Manzello and Michael J. Kramer for their detailed reviews and suggestions, and Benjamin Grassian for help with the final figures. Michael P.C. Fuller and Tyler B. Smith offered helpful editorial suggestions.

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Cortés, J. et al. (2017). Marine Biodiversity of Eastern Tropical Pacific Coral Reefs. In: Glynn, P., Manzello, D., Enochs, I. (eds) Coral Reefs of the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Coral Reefs of the World, vol 8. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-7499-4_7

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