Macrofaunal diversity and taxonomic distinctness in soft bottoms of the northern and southwestern Cuban shelf

Gema Hidalgo, Wilmer Toledo, Alejandro Granados-Barba


DOI: https://doi.org/10.3856/vol43-issue5-fulltext-5

Diversity of macrofaunal groups in soft bottoms of the northern and southwestern Cuban shelf was assessed using taxonomic indices that depend on community structure, are independent of habitat type and sampling effort, and have a monotonic response to environmental disturbances. Taxa heterogeneity was significantly higher in sandy-muddy with vegetation, sandy with vegetation, and sandy with vegetation on hard bottom substrates. Biotopes diversity showed a gradient from smaller to greater particle size and from absence to presence of vegetation. Average taxonomic distinctness expected in these zones of the Cuban marine shelf is 92.5 with 95% confidence limits between 76.7 and 100. Sites with average taxonomic distinctness lower than 92.5 and outside the estimated confident limits can be considered environmentally deteriorated or favoring diversity of some particular groups. Dominant groups in this benthos fraction are crustaceans and polychaetes, which is consistent with studies in other tropical and temperate regions. These results constitute a baseline for environmental assessment and monitoring of macrofauna in Cuban soft bottoms, as a key component for marine ecosystems functioning.

Hidalgo G, Toledo W, Granados-Barba A. Macrofaunal diversity and taxonomic distinctness in soft bottoms of the northern and southwestern Cuban shelf. Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res.. 2017;43(5): 845-855. Available from: doi:10.3856/vol43-issue5-fulltext-5 [Accessed 15 Nov. 2019].
Hidalgo, G., Toledo, W., & Granados-Barba, A. (2017). Macrofaunal diversity and taxonomic distinctness in soft bottoms of the northern and southwestern Cuban shelf. Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research, 43(5), 845-855. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3856/vol43-issue5-fulltext-5