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Antarctic sea anemone distribution, abundance and relationships with habitat composition, community structure and anthropogenic disturbance

Watson, LA ORCID: 0000-0002-3391-4533, Stark, JS, Johnstone, G, Wapstra, E ORCID: 0000-0002-2050-8026 and Miller, K 2020 , 'Antarctic sea anemone distribution, abundance and relationships with habitat composition, community structure and anthropogenic disturbance' , Antarctic Science , pp. 1-13 , doi: 10.1017/S0954102019000567.

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Abstract

Understanding the distribution, abundance and habitat preferences of species in the SouthernOcean provides a foundation for assessing the impacts of environmental change and anthropogenicdisturbance on Antarctic ecosystems. In near-shore waters at Casey and Davis Stations, photoquadratsurveys were used to determine sea anemone distribution and abundance, habitat preferences,associations with other species and the impact of human disturbance on sea anemone distribution.Two distinct sea anemone morphotypes were found in this study: large sea anemones that requirehard substrate for attachment and small, burrowing sea anemones found in muddy sediment. Thelarge sea anemones were found in rocky habitats, with the exception of some sedimentary habitatswhere other biota were used as substrate. The large sea anemones were associated with a diversecommunity of epibenthic species found in rocky habitats. The burrowing sea anemones wereassociated with a less diverse assemblage of sediment-dwelling epibenthos. At Casey Station, seaanemones were more abundant in habitats adjacent to a former waste disposal site than at controlsites. The reason for this is not yet known, but may be due to high organic matter inputs or,alternatively, a longer sea ice duration providing protection from ice scour.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Watson, LA and Stark, JS and Johnstone, G and Wapstra, E and Miller, K
Keywords: Actinaria, benthic community, biodiversity, human impact, marine benthos, photoquadrat, sea anemones
Journal or Publication Title: Antarctic Science
Publisher: Cambridge Univ Press
ISSN: 0954-1020
DOI / ID Number: 10.1017/S0954102019000567
Copyright Information:

© Antarctic Science Ltd 2020

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