Spatial and temporal variations in mangrove and seagrass faunal communities at Bimini, Bahamas
Mangrove and nearshore seagrass macrofaunal communities were concurrently sampled in two areas of contrasting primary productivity (North Sound: low; South Bimini: high) off Bimini, Bahamas. Over 200,000 individuals, comprising 175 species, were identified from catches of block nets, seines, and trawls between March 2000 and March 2003. The Index of Relative Importance (IRI), which is typically used for dietary analysis and combines percentage weight, abundance and occurrence, was applied to catch data to enable easy spatial and temporal variations in community composition. Cluster-analysis revealed distinct mangrove and seagrass communities, with Morisita's index indicating a greater degree of spatial and temporal homogeneity in the North Sound. Catch diversity and biomass were significantly greater in the mangroves than over seagrass in both locations, and highest off South Bimini. Low productivity, faunal diversity, and abundance in the North Sound were probably due to extreme abiotic variables. Juveniles of most species were present in mangroves and seagrass beds around Bimini, and therefore the protection of mangroves in the Bahamas should be an issue of immediate concern.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2007
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