Andradi-Brown et al. 2017

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Identifying zooplankton community changes between shallow and uppermesophotic reefs on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean

Andradi-Brown DA, Head CEI, Exton DA, Hunt CL, Hendrix A, Gress E, Rogers AD

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Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs, reefs 30–150 m) are understudied, yet the limited research conducted has been biased towards large sessile taxa, such as scleractinian corals and sponges, or mobile taxa such as fishes. Here we investigate zooplankton communities on shallow reefs and MCEs around Utila on the southern Mesoamerican Barrier Reef using planktonic light traps. Zooplankton samples were sorted into broad taxonomic groups. Our results indicate similar taxonomic zooplankton richness and overall biomass between shallow reefs and MCEs. However, the abundance of larger bodied (>2 mm) zooplanktonic groups, including decapod crab zoea, mysid shrimps and peracarid crustaceans, was higher on MCEs than shallow reefs. Our findings highlight the importance of considering zooplankton when identifying broader reef community shifts across the shallow reef to MCE depth gradient.

Research sites

10.7717   peerj.2853
Meta-data (pending validation)
Depth range
15- 40 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
50 x (total of 3200 words)

Biodiversity Ecology

Research focus
Crustacea Other invertebrates

Honduras - Bay Islands

Research platforms
Diving (unspecified)
Author profiles
Dominic Andradi-Brown ( 8 pubs)
Erika Gress ( 5 pubs)