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Depth-related trends in morphological and functional diversity of demersal fish assemblages in the western Mediterranean Sea

AuthorsFarré, Marc ; Tuset, Víctor M. ; Cartes, Joan Enric ; Massutí, Enric; Lombarte, Antoni
Issue DateSep-2016
CitationProgress in Oceanography 147: 22-37 (2016)
AbstractThe morphological and functional traits of fishes are key factors defining the ecological and biological habits of species within ecosystems. However, little is known about how the depth gradient affects these factors. In the present study, several demersal fish assemblages from the Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean Sea) along a wide depth range (40–2200 m) were morphologically, functionally and ecologically described. The morphological characterization of communities was performed using geometric morphometric methods, while the functional structures were obtained by the functional categorization of species and the application of principal coordinates analysis (PCoA). The results revealed that morphospaces presented less richness of body forms as depth increases, although they showed a progressive spreading of species toward the periphery, with a proliferation of more extreme body traits, demonstrating lower morphological redundancy. In addition, a trend toward the elongation of body shape was also observed with depth. Moreover, functional diversity increased with bathymetry up to 1400 m, where it sharply decreased downwards. This decrease was parallel to a progressive fall of H′ (ecological diversity) up to 2200 m. Functional redundancy progressively decreased until the deepest assemblage (more constantly in the deeper levels), which was almost exclusively dominated by benthopelagic wandering species feeding on suprabenthos. Redundancy analysis (RDA) demonstrated that both morphological and functional spaces showed high variation along the bathymetric range. Mantel test indicated that the majority of species presented similar spatial distribution within the morphospace and functional space, although in the functional space the more abundant species were always located at the periphery. These results demonstrate that the assessment of the morpho-functional variation between marine communities helps to understand the processes that affect the structure and functioning of communities, such as resource partitioning, trophic interactions, or interspecific relationships within ecosystem such as coexistence and dominance
Description16 pages, 7 figures, 3 tables, 1 appendix supplementary material http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2016.07.006
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2016.07.006
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2016.07.006
issn: 0079-6611
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