The Role of Environmental Factors in the Lagoon Coral Community Structure of Banco Chinchorro, Mexico
The Banco Chinchorro reef complex was analyzed using environmental and biological parameters at different depths. Environmental data were collected at 28 stations and biological data at 17 stations. Fauna were recorded using phototransects from 2–35 m depth. Environmental parameters were interpolated across the bank: 100% at surface, 98% at 5 m, 44% at 10 m, and 33% at 15 m. Temperature was as high as 30°C. Salinity values were high and most stations had high oxygen concentrations. Thirty-four hexacoral and twelve octocoral species were identified with no correspondence in diversity between the groups. In a cluster analysis two strong associations were shown in which shallow and deep zones were identified. These were confirmed in the principal components analysis. The Spearman, Kendall, and Pearson correlations applied between hexacoral macrodescriptors and environmental parameters showed positive correlations between 10 and 15 m depth (0.23–0.75), and negative correlations for surface temperature and oxygen at 5 m depth (0.011, 0.276). Two differential aspects occurred with the octocoral correlations: negative relationships increased (0.063, 0.489), and oxygen had the most positive correlations at 10 m depth (0.382–0.795). The importance of these physical, chemical, and biological processes is discussed as a function of organism distribution and their effect on ecosystem structure and natural dynamics.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 July 2003
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