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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 441:105-116 (2011)  -  DOI:

Predicting habitat preferences for Anthometrina adriani (Echinodermata) on the East Antarctic continental shelf

L. G. Hemery1,*, B. Galton-Fenzi2, N. Améziane1, M. J. Riddle3, S. R. Rintoul2,4, R. J. Beaman5, A. L. Post6, M. Eléaume1

1Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, UMR7208 BOREA, 75005 Paris, France
2Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
3Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania 7050, Australia
4CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
5School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia
6Geoscience Australia, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

ABSTRACT: The comatulid crinoid Anthometrina adriani is well represented among the suspension-feeding megaepibenthos from the continental shelf of the Dumont D’Urville Sea, Antarctica. Nearly 500 specimens were sampled during the Collaborative East Antarctic Marine Census expedition onboard the RV ‘Aurora Australis’ (December 2007 to January 2008), from 50 of the 87 stations over a 400 km² area. Abiotic environmental factors were measured and an ocean circulation model was used to generate near-bottom parameters. The ecological niche of A. adriani was described by using ecological-niche factor analysis and Mahalanobis distances factor analysis. An environmental suitability map (ESM) was developed to map the optimal habitat. A. adriani prefers moderately deep and relatively cold waters with moderate current velocity, and a substrate with low gravel content and biogenic carbonate. The ESM shows 4 optimal regions: the eastern side of the George V Basin, the eastern side of the Adélie Basin, the southern part of the Adélie Bank, and the coastal area between the Astrolabe and Mertz glaciers. The ecological niche for A. adriani appears very narrow, but the species is widely distributed across the Antarctic shelf. It suggests that local changes in limiting factors have a strong local effect on the distribution of this species and that a total eradication of this species from the shelf would need an Antarctic-wide and synchronic change in these essential parameters. Modeling modifications in environmental conditions under different climate change scenarios could help predict the effect of such changes on the distribution of this selective species.

KEY WORDS: Ecological niche · Optimal habitat · Antarctica · Crinoid · Anthometrina adriani · Ocean circulation model

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Cite this article as: Hemery LG, Galton-Fenzi B, Améziane N, Riddle MJ and others (2011) Predicting habitat preferences for Anthometrina adriani (Echinodermata) on the East Antarctic continental shelf. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 441:105-116.

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