This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.
Patterns of infaunal macro-mollusc assemblages in a subtropical marine park: implications for management
Characterisation of habitats and communities is necessary to allow managers knowledge of the ecological resources they are charged with conserving. However, the high cost of gathering such data often precludes its incorporation into conservation planning, and habitat surrogates are often relied upon to represent underlying biotic patterns. In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, extensive surveys informed the development of a statewide habitat classification scheme (HCS) for biodiversity management based on the distribution of habitat types by water depth. To test the suitability of the current HCS for soft-sediments, we compared infaunal mollusc assemblages at two different depths, and at scales of kilometres to 10s of kilometres, within five coastal regions of the Cape Byron Marine Park (CBMP). Mollusc assemblages differed significantly between depths and among the range of spatial scales examined, and patterns were significantly correlated with mean grain size and sorting. Species richness also differed between depths and among sampling locations, while abundance differed between depths and among sites nested within locations. While this study provides preliminary support for the relevance of the NSW HCS depth categories in the CBMP, it also suggests that future refinement should consider the inclusion of categories based on sediment characteristics.
MF17122 Accepted 28 September 2017
© CSIRO 2017