Effects of substratum and depth on benthic harmful dinoflagellate assemblages
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Effects of substratum and depth on benthic harmful dinoflagellate assemblages

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  • Journal Title:
    Scientific Reports
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    Microhabitats influence the distribution and abundance of benthic harmful dinoflagellate (BHAB) species. Currently, much of the information on the relationships between BHABs and microhabitat preferences is based on non-quantitative anecdotal observations, many of which are contradictory. The goal of this study was to better quantify BHAB and microhabitat relationships using a statistically rigorous approach. Between April 2016 to May 2017, a total of 243 artificial substrate samplers were deployed at five locations in the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia while simultaneous photo-quadrat surveys were performed to characterize the benthic substrates present at each sampling site. The screen samplers were retrieved 24 h later and the abundances of five BHAB genera, Gambierdiscus, Ostreopsis, Coolia, Amphidinium, and Prorocentrum were determined. Substrate data were then analyzed using a Bray-Curtis dissimilarity matrix to statistically identify distinct microhabitat types. Although BHABs were associated with a variety of biotic and abiotic substrates, the results of this study demonstrated differing degrees of microhabitat preference. Analysis of the survey results using canonical correspondence analysis explained 70.5% (horizontal first axis) and 21.6% (vertical second axis) of the constrained variation in the distribution of various genera among microhabitat types. Prorocentrum and Coolia appear to have the greatest range being broadly distributed among a wide variety of microhabitats. Amphidinium was always found in low abundances and was widely distributed among microhabitats dominated by hard coral, turf algae, sand and silt, and fleshy algae and reached the highest abundances there. Gambierdiscus and Ostreopsis had more restricted distributions. Gambierdiscus were found preferentially associated with turf algae, hard coral and, to a lesser extent, fleshy macroalgae microhabitats. Ostreopsis, almost always more abundant than Gambierdiscus, preferred the same microhabitats as Gambierdiscus and were found in microbial mats as well. With similar habitat preferences Ostreopsis may serve as an indicator organism for the presence of Gambierdiscus. This study provides insight into how BHAB-specific microhabitat preferences can affect toxicity risks.
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    Sci Rep. 2020 Jul 9;10(1):11251.
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    CC BY
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