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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 432:83-90 (2011)  -  DOI:

Modelling habitat associations of the common spider conch in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands

L. M. Bellchambers1,*, J. J Meeuwig2, S. N. Evans1, P. Legendre3

1Department of Fisheries, Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories, North Beach, Western Australia 6920, Australia
2School of Animal Biology and Centre for Marine Futures, Oceans Institute, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
3Département de Sciences Biologiques, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3J7

ABSTRACT: The type and configuration of benthic habitats can influence community structure of marine fauna and the effectiveness of management actions, such as spatial closures. We quantified the relationship between the distribution and density of Lambis lambis, an exploited marine gastropod, and available benthic habitats at the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. We used 3 modelling approaches to develop a model of the density of L. lambis as a function of habitat: conventional polynomial regression, Moran’s eigenvector maps (MEM) and variance partitioning. Distribution and abundance of L. lambis was not uniform throughout the lagoon. Both the amount and configuration of habitat influenced L. lambis density; the highest densities were associated with moderate levels of hard macroalgae and submassive corals, and the lowest densities with seagrass and relict coral. These results illustrate that incorporating information on the distribution and patchiness of preferred habitats is essential to ensure that appropriate habitats are included in the design and implementation of long-term monitoring programs and management tools such as spatial closures.

KEY WORDS: Lambis lambis · Habitat associations · Spatial ecology

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Cite this article as: Bellchambers LM, Meeuwig JJ, Evans SN, Legendre P (2011) Modelling habitat associations of the common spider conch in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 432:83-90.

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