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The forgotten reefs: benthic assemblage coverage on a sandstone reef (Tropical South-western Atlantic)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 July 2016

Marcelo De Oliveira Soares
Instituto de Ciências do Mar (LABOMAR), Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, Brasil Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Sergio Rossi
Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Francisco Allan Santos Martins
Instituto de Ciências do Mar (LABOMAR), Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, Brasil
Pedro Bastos De Macêdo Carneiro
Instituto de Ciências do Mar (LABOMAR), Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, Brasil
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Despite the ecological relevance of tropical reefs, information on species composition and coverage on sandstone reefs is very scarce. Most studies on reef systems have been conducted for true coral reefs, ecosystems that show calcareous formations with extensive coral cover and diversity. The aim of this study was to analyse the coverage of benthic assemblages in a submerged sandstone reef (22–24 m) in a relatively non-explored region (Tropical South-western Atlantic). In this area, filamentous algae (43.6%) and sponges (19.6%) are the main components of the benthic reef assemblages. Other benthic reef fauna (ascidians, corals and zoanthids) showed lower coverage, although their importance may vary depending on the area. A negative correlation between filamentous algae and slow-growing reef-building organisms (calcareous algae) was observed. High sand coverage (19.6%) over the reef revealed a high rate of silting. A low coral diversity (only two resilient species) was quantified, and most of the coral colonies were small-sized. The results provide a baseline assessment for a poorly known ecosystem with turbid-water benthic communities and higher sea-surface temperatures near the Earth's equator.

Research Article
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2016 

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The forgotten reefs: benthic assemblage coverage on a sandstone reef (Tropical South-western Atlantic)
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