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Quantifying wave exposure in shallow temperate reef systems: applicability of fetch models for predicting algal biodiversity


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Hill, N, Barrett, NS, Edgar, GJ, Stuart-Smith, RD and Leaper, R 2010 , 'Quantifying wave exposure in shallow temperate reef systems: applicability of fetch models for predicting algal biodiversity' , Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 417 , pp. 83-95 , doi: 10.3354/meps08815.

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Management and conservation of ecosystems relies on biodiversity data; however,
broad-scale biological data are often limited. Predictive modelling using environmental variables has
recently proven a valuable tool in addressing this gap. Wave exposure is a particularly important
environmental variable that structures shallow reef systems, but it is rarely quantified across the
large areas often used for predictive studies. Therefore, we investigated approaches that quantify
exposure and can be readily applied across a large area. We generated 6 quantitative indices that
emphasise different aspects of exposure using a numerical wave model and cartographic fetch models.
The utility of these indices for predictive modelling in shallow temperate reef systems was
assessed by how well they explained community and genera-level algal patterns in Tasmania, Australia,
which is a region that experiences a wide range of wave exposure conditions. Exposure indices
were significant predictors of algal patterns, explaining up to 18% of community level patterns and
up to 37% of the variance associated with the occurrence and cover of algal genera. Fetch-based
indices in particular appear to be a viable option for quantifying exposure on shallow reefs. These
indices can be generated within a Geographic Information System (GIS) program for specific sites of
interest, along coastlines or on a grid, and are potentially accessible to ecologists. Quantification of
exposure across broad regions using fetch indices will allow ecologists to makes advances in predictive
modelling studies, but also facilitate studies that test the generality of hypotheses and mechanisms
driving patterns previously observed using qualitative measures.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hill, N and Barrett, NS and Edgar, GJ and Stuart-Smith, RD and Leaper, R
Keywords: Wave exposure index · Cartographic fetch modelling · Macro-algae · Biodiversity ·Predictive models
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Ecology Progress Series
ISSN: 0171-8630
DOI / ID Number: 10.3354/meps08815
Additional Information:

Copyright © 2010 Inter-Research

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