A comparison of functional groups in coral reefs around Zanzibar Island (Tanzania)
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Species’ traits determine how biodiversity interacts with ecosystem processes and influence the capacity of ecosystems to respond to and recover from disturbances. Classifying species with regards to their traits, i.e. functional groups, and analyzing their distribution provides a mechanistic approach to investigate the resilience in ecosystems. This study investigates the status of functional groups of coral, fish and sea urchins on reefs on the west coast of Zanzibar Island, Tanzania. The classification of functional groups is based on traits reflecting important community processes or properties which underpin ecosystem resilience. The results show that reefs with high accessibility, i.e. close to shore and open to fisheries, have lower abundance and diversity of functional groups of both coral and fish compared to more remote or protected reefs. More specifically, highly accessible reefs display lower abundances of herbivorous fish (macroalgae browsers in particular), large-bodied fish, structurally complex corals and corals with certain reproduction strategies. Based on these findings we speculate what this means in terms of ecosystem functioning and vulnerability. This study also provides a first “baseline” of functional group distribution and although it represents an already degraded state it may serve as an important comparison when evaluating further degradation and effects of impending management interventions.
Biodiversity, Coral reefs, Ecosystem resilience, Functional analysis, Functional groups, Vulnerability
Research subject Marine Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26656OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-26656DiVA: diva2:210829