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Large-scale diversity of slope fishes: pattern inconsistency between multiple diversity indices
Gaertner, J.-C.; Maiorano, P.; Mérigot, B.; Colloca, F.; Politou, C.-Y.; Gil de Sola, L.; Bertrand, J.A.; Murenu, M.; Durbec, J.-P.; Kallianiotis, A.; Mannini, A. (2013). Large-scale diversity of slope fishes: pattern inconsistency between multiple diversity indices. PLoS One 8(7): e66753.
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203; e-ISSN 1932-6203
Peer reviewed article  

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    Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee: Open access 304349 [ download pdf ]


Authors  Top | Dataset 
  • Gaertner, J.-C.
  • Maiorano, P.
  • Mérigot, B.
  • Colloca, F.
  • Politou, C.-Y.
  • Gil de Sola, L.
  • Bertrand, J.A.
  • Murenu, M.
  • Durbec, J.-P.
  • Kallianiotis, A.
  • Mannini, A.

    Large-scale studies focused on the diversity of continental slope ecosystems are still rare, usually restricted to a limited number of diversity indices and mainly based on the empirical comparison of heterogeneous local data sets. In contrast, we investigate large-scale fish diversity on the basis of multiple diversity indices and using 1454 standardized trawl hauls collected throughout the upper and middle slope of the whole northern Mediterranean Sea (36°3′- 45°7′ N; 5°3′W - 28°E). We have analyzed (1) the empirical relationships between a set of 11 diversity indices in order to assess their degree of complementarity/redundancy and (2) the consistency of spatial patterns exhibited by each of the complementary groups of indices. Regarding species richness, our results contrasted both the traditional view based on the hump-shaped theory for bathymetric pattern and the commonly-admitted hypothesis of a large-scale decreasing trend correlated with a similar gradient of primary production in the Mediterranean Sea. More generally, we found that the components of slope fish diversity we analyzed did not always show a consistent pattern of distribution according either to depth or to spatial areas, suggesting that they are not driven by the same factors. These results, which stress the need to extend the number of indices traditionally considered in diversity monitoring networks, could provide a basis for rethinking not only the methodological approach used in monitoring systems, but also the definition of priority zones for protection. Finally, our results call into question the feasibility of properly investigating large-scale diversity patterns using a widespread approach in ecology, which is based on the compilation of pre-existing heterogeneous and disparate data sets, in particular when focusing on indices that are very sensitive to sampling design standardization, such as species richness.

  • MEDITS-Spain: Demersal and mega-benthic species from the MEDITS (Mediterranean International Trawl Survey) project on the Spanish continental shelf between 1994 and 2009

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