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MEPS 638:149-164 (2020)  -  DOI:

Drivers of diversity gradients of a highly mobile marine assemblage in a mesoscale seascape

Guillermo M. Svendsen1,2,3,*, Matías Ocampo Reinaldo1,2,3, María Alejandra Romero1,2,3, Gabriela Williams2,4, Anne Magurran5, Sandra Luque5,6, Raúl A. González1,2,3

1Centro de Investigación Aplicada y Transferencia Tecnológica en Recursos Marinos Almirante Storni, Güemes 1030, San Antonio Oeste, Río Negro 8520, Argentina
2Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Godoy Cruz 2290, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires C1425FQB, Argentina
3Escuela Superior de Ciencias Marinas, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, San Martín 247, San Antonio Oeste, Río Negro 8520, Argentina
4Centro para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos, Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Centro Nacional Patagonico, Bv. Almirante Brown 2915, Puerto Madryn, Chubut 9120, Argentina
5Centre for Biological Diversity, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TH, UK
6National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture, UMR TETIS, Montpellier 34000, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: With the unprecedented rate of biodiversity change in the world today, understanding how diversity gradients are maintained at mesoscales is a key challenge. Drawing on information provided by 3 comprehensive fishery surveys (conducted in different years but in the same season and with the same sampling design), we used boosted regression tree (BRT) models in order to relate spatial patterns of α-diversity in a demersal fish assemblage to environmental variables in the San Matias Gulf (Patagonia, Argentina). We found that, over a 4 yr period, persistent diversity gradients of species richness and probability of an interspecific encounter (PIE) were shaped by 3 main environmental gradients: bottom depth, connectivity with the open ocean, and proximity to a thermal front. The 2 main patterns we observed were: a monotonic increase in PIE with proximity to fronts, which had a stronger effect at greater depths; and an increase in PIE when closer to the open ocean (a ‘bay effect’ pattern). The originality of this work resides on the identification of high-resolution gradients in local, demersal assemblages driven by static and dynamic environmental gradients in a mesoscale seascape. The maintenance of environmental gradients, specifically those associated with shared resources and connectivity with an open system, may be key to understanding community stability.

KEY WORDS: Demersal fishes · Species-energy relationships · Spatial structure · Marine fronts · α-diversity · Bay effect · Boosted regression trees · Connectivity

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Cite this article as: Svendsen GM, Ocampo Reinaldo M, Romero MA, Williams G, Magurran A, Luque S, González RA (2020) Drivers of diversity gradients of a highly mobile marine assemblage in a mesoscale seascape. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 638:149-164.

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