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Aquatic Biology

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AB 21:143-154 (2014)  -  DOI:

Spatio-temporal macrofaunal assemblages associated with the endangered orange coral Astroides calycularis (Scleractinia: Dendrophylliidae)

Alejandro Terrón-Sigler1,2,*, Patricio Peñalver-Duque2, David León-Muez2, Free Espinosa Torre1

1Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Sevilla, Avda Reina Mercedes 6, 41012 Sevilla, Spain
2Asociación Hombre y Territorio, C/ Betania n° 13, CP 41007 Sevilla, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The orange coral Astroides calycularis is internationally protected due to its narrow distribution, its sensitivity to environmental changes and anthropogenic disturbance. Spatio-temporal macrofaunal assemblages associated with A. calycularis were studied along the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. A total of 878 invertebrate specimens were collected, comprising 81 species. At the 3 depths studied (0, 5 and 10 m), crustacean species were dominant in terms of abundance, followed by annelids and molluscs. Macrofaunal densities were higher in October and May, and lower in August and September. Janira maculosa (isopod), Lembos spp. (gammarid) and Stenothoe cavimana (gammarid) were the most abundant species, present in almost all depths and months. ANOVA analyses by month reflected significant differences in species richness and Shannon-Wiener diversity, but no differences among depth ranges and no interaction between time and depth. PERMANOVA analyses showed significant differences in the associated macrofauna for time and depth, but no interaction was observed between these factors. These results indicate the ecological relevance of this Mediterranean scleractinian coral as a habitat for many macrofaunal groups. Furthermore, the conservation of this endangered species contributes to the preservation of high marine biodiversity.

KEY WORDS: Astroides calycularis · Corals · Habitat · Associated macrofauna · Biodiversity · Conservation · Mediterranean Sea

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Cite this article as: Terrón-Sigler A, Peñalver-Duque P, León-Muez D, Torre FE (2014) Spatio-temporal macrofaunal assemblages associated with the endangered orange coral Astroides calycularis (Scleractinia: Dendrophylliidae). Aquat Biol 21:143-154.

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