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Analyses of sublittoral macrobenthic community change in a marine nature reserve using similarity profiles (SIMPROF)
Somerfield, P.J.; Burton, M.; Sanderson, W.G. (2014). Analyses of sublittoral macrobenthic community change in a marine nature reserve using similarity profiles (SIMPROF). Mar. Environ. Res. 102: 51-58.
In: Marine Environmental Research. Applied Science Publishers: Barking. ISSN 0141-1136; e-ISSN 1879-0291, more
Also appears in:
Kennedy, R.; Allcock, L.; Firth, L.; Power, A.M. (Ed.) (2014). Managing Biodiversity in a Changing Ocean. Proceedings of the 48th European Marine Biology Symposium (EMBS), Galway, Ireland, 19-23 August 2013. Marine Environmental Research, 102(Special Issue). Elsevier: Amsterdam. 130 pp., more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Ecosystem change; Marine protected areas; Nonparametric multivariate analysis; Time-series; Similarity profiles; Marine monitoring

Authors  Top 
  • Somerfield, P.J., more
  • Burton, M.
  • Sanderson, W.G.

    Sublittoral macrobenthic communities in the Skomer Marine Nature Reserve (SMNR), Pembrokeshire, Wales, were sampled at 10 stations in 1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2009 using a Day grab and a 0.5 mm mesh. The time series is analysed using Similarities Profiles (SIMPROF) tests and associated methods. Q-mode analysis using clustering with Type 1 SIMPROF addresses multivariate structure among samples, showing that there is clear structure associated with differences among years. Inverse (r-mode) analysis using Type 2 SIMPROF decisively rejects a hypothesis that species are not associated with each other. Clustering of the variables (species) with Type 3 SIMPROF identifies groups of species which covary coherently through the time-series. The time-series is characterised by a dramatic decline in abundances and diversity between the 1993 and 1996 surveys. By 1998 there had been a shift in community composition from the 1993 situation, with different species dominating. Communities had recovered in terms of abundance and species richness, but different species dominated the community. No single factor could be identified which unequivocally explained the dramatic changes observed in the SMNR. Possible causes were the effects of dispersed oil and dispersants from the Sea Empress oil spill in February 1996 and the cessation of dredge-spoil disposal off St Annes Head in 1995, but the most likely cause was severe weather. With many species, and a demonstrable recovery from an impact, communities within the SMNR appear to be diverse and resilient. If attributable to natural storms, the changes observed here indicate that natural variability may be much more important than is generally taken into account in the design of monitoring programmes.

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