The intensification of dredging and infilling activities in lagoons and on coral reefs are common practices in the Maldivian archipelago, and these activities alter the biodiversity of the bioconstructors and the functioning of the ecosystem. The alteration of environmental factors can also affect inconspicuous fauna, such as free-living nematodes. The implications of a reduction in biodiversity may transcend decreased taxonomic diversity, resulting in changes in functional diversity and redundancy; however, how the environmental conditions and human pressure affects the functionality of nematodes in Maldivian coral degradation zones (CDZs) remain poorly understood. In this paper, we examined changes in the taxonomic and functional diversity and the functional redundancy in nematode communities regarding the geographic location (atolls with various levels of human pressure), the exposure and topography of the reef (lagoon and ocean), the slope of the reef, and the depth. The functional diversity and redundancy were evaluated by considering two main biological traits of nematodes: i) the trophic strategy, and ii) the life strategy. The extremely high number of nematode genera observed in the Maldives is supported by the high complexity of the carbonate sediments. The reef exposure and depth were the most relevant environmental factors that influenced the taxonomic and functional diversity. The functional diversity, according to the trophic strategies, mirrored the taxonomic diversity because the adaptive plasticity of nematode buccal cavity structures is closely associated with the high biodiversity of the phylum. The high abundance of k-strategists in ocean reefs may indicate a higher ecological quality when compared to lagoon reefs; however, the absence of significant differences in life strategy functional diversity and functional redundancy indicates that a recovery process is underway. Analyses of nematode communities should be combined with standard investigations of reef bioconstructors during monitoring activities to assess the vulnerability of CDZ systems to future disturbances and facilitate the adoption of the most appropriate preventative actions.

Taxonomic and functional nematode diversity in Maldivian coral degradation zones: patterns across reef typologies and depths

Grassi E
Methodology
;
Cesaroni L
Methodology
;
Guidi L
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Balsamo M
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Semprucci F.
Supervision
2022

Abstract

The intensification of dredging and infilling activities in lagoons and on coral reefs are common practices in the Maldivian archipelago, and these activities alter the biodiversity of the bioconstructors and the functioning of the ecosystem. The alteration of environmental factors can also affect inconspicuous fauna, such as free-living nematodes. The implications of a reduction in biodiversity may transcend decreased taxonomic diversity, resulting in changes in functional diversity and redundancy; however, how the environmental conditions and human pressure affects the functionality of nematodes in Maldivian coral degradation zones (CDZs) remain poorly understood. In this paper, we examined changes in the taxonomic and functional diversity and the functional redundancy in nematode communities regarding the geographic location (atolls with various levels of human pressure), the exposure and topography of the reef (lagoon and ocean), the slope of the reef, and the depth. The functional diversity and redundancy were evaluated by considering two main biological traits of nematodes: i) the trophic strategy, and ii) the life strategy. The extremely high number of nematode genera observed in the Maldives is supported by the high complexity of the carbonate sediments. The reef exposure and depth were the most relevant environmental factors that influenced the taxonomic and functional diversity. The functional diversity, according to the trophic strategies, mirrored the taxonomic diversity because the adaptive plasticity of nematode buccal cavity structures is closely associated with the high biodiversity of the phylum. The high abundance of k-strategists in ocean reefs may indicate a higher ecological quality when compared to lagoon reefs; however, the absence of significant differences in life strategy functional diversity and functional redundancy indicates that a recovery process is underway. Analyses of nematode communities should be combined with standard investigations of reef bioconstructors during monitoring activities to assess the vulnerability of CDZ systems to future disturbances and facilitate the adoption of the most appropriate preventative actions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11576/2702192
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