Special Issue "Marine Biodiversity"

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A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Matthew G. Powell

Department of Geology; Juniata College; 1700 Moore St.; Huntingdon, PA 16652 USA
E-Mail
Interests: paleobiology; macroevolution; latitudinal diversity gradient

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The ocean ecosystem must increasingly cope with a variety of anthropogenic threats, including rising temperatures, acidification, over-fishing, pollution, and habitat destruction. Addressing these problems depends on a more complete understanding of marine biodiversity, including the location of biodiversity hotspots, the magnitude of biodiversity loss, and the effects of biodiversity loss on ecosystem function. Comparative data from the rich marine fossil record may help establish pre-human baselines and provide examples of ecosystem responses to environmental change, yet such comparisons are hindered because present-day marine biodiversity is poorly known in comparison with terrestrial patterns. This special issue titled "Marine Biodiversity" will focus on bridging that gap by advancing our basic understanding of geographic patterns of marine biodiversity, quantifying patterns of biodiversity change through time, addressing changes in ecosystem functioning as a result of anthropogenic environmental change, predicting future threats to marine biodiversity, and other topics related to the fundamental patterns of marine biodiversity.

Dr. Matthew G. Powell
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 800 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • marine biodiversity
  • marine ecology
  • marine ecosystem function
  • marine biodiversity hotspots
  • marine extinction
  • anthropogenic impacts

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Regional Conservation Status of Scleractinian Coral Biodiversity in the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Diversity 2013, 5(3), 522-540; doi:10.3390/d5030522
Received: 5 April 2013 / Revised: 1 July 2013 / Accepted: 3 July 2013 / Published: 18 July 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Preventing the loss of biodiversity is a major challenge in mega-diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs where there is a critical shortage of baseline demographic data. Threatened species assessments play a valuable role in guiding conservation action to manage and mitigate biodiversity loss,
[...] Read more.
Preventing the loss of biodiversity is a major challenge in mega-diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs where there is a critical shortage of baseline demographic data. Threatened species assessments play a valuable role in guiding conservation action to manage and mitigate biodiversity loss, but they must be undertaken with precise information at an appropriate spatial scale to provide accurate classifications. Here we explore the regional conservation status of scleractinian corals on isolated Pacific Ocean atolls in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. We compile an integrated regional species list based upon new and historical records, and compare how well the regional threat classifications reflect species level priorities at a global scale. A similar proportion of the 240 species of hard coral recorded in the current survey are classified as Vulnerable at the regional scale as the global scale using the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria (23% and 20% respectively), however there are distinct differences in the composition of species. When local abundance data is taken into account, a far greater proportion of the regional diversity (up to 80%) may face an elevated risk of local extinction. These results suggest coral communities on isolated Pacific coral reefs, which are often predicted to be at low risk, are still vulnerable due to the small and fragmented nature of their populations. This reinforces that to adequately protect biodiversity, ongoing threatened species monitoring and the documentation of species-level changes in abundance and distribution is imperative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Biodiversity)
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Open AccessArticle Relaxation Time and the Problem of the Pleistocene
Diversity 2013, 5(2), 276-292; doi:10.3390/d5020276
Received: 25 February 2013 / Revised: 4 April 2013 / Accepted: 9 April 2013 / Published: 15 April 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1458 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although changes in habitat area, driven by changes in sea level, have long been considered as a possible cause of marine diversity change in the Phanerozoic, the lack of Pleistocene extinction in the Californian Province has raised doubts, given the large and rapid
[...] Read more.
Although changes in habitat area, driven by changes in sea level, have long been considered as a possible cause of marine diversity change in the Phanerozoic, the lack of Pleistocene extinction in the Californian Province has raised doubts, given the large and rapid sea-level changes during the Pleistocene. Neutral models of metacommunities presented here suggest that diversity responds rapidly to changes in habitat area, with relaxation times of a few hundred to a few thousand years. Relaxation time is controlled partly by metacommunity size, implying that different provinces or trophic levels might have measurably different responses to changes in habitable area. Geologically short relaxation times imply that metacommunities should be able to stay nearly in equilibrium with all but the most rapid changes in area. A simulation of the Californian Province during the Pleistocene confirms this, with the longest lags in diversity approaching 20 kyr. The apparent lack of Pleistocene extinction in the Californian Province likely results from the difficulty of sampling rare species, coupled with repopulation from adjacent deep-water or warm-water regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Biodiversity)
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Open AccessArticle The Species-Area Relationship in the Late Ordovician: A Test Using Neutral Theory
Diversity 2013, 5(2), 240-262; doi:10.3390/d5020240
Received: 28 February 2013 / Revised: 28 March 2013 / Accepted: 2 April 2013 / Published: 10 April 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The fundamental biodiversity number, θ, as proposed by Hubbell, should be positively correlated with province area. Because θ can be calculated from preserved relative abundance distributions, this correlation can be tested in the fossil record for regions with known provinces. Late Ordovician (443–458
[...] Read more.
The fundamental biodiversity number, θ, as proposed by Hubbell, should be positively correlated with province area. Because θ can be calculated from preserved relative abundance distributions, this correlation can be tested in the fossil record for regions with known provinces. Late Ordovician (443–458 Ma) strata of Laurentia are divided into four geochemically and biologically distinct regions that reflect provinces in the epicontinental sea. We use existing and newly obtained bed-level census data to test whether Hubbell’s θ is positively correlated with the area of these four regions, corresponding roughly to the Appalachian Basin, Cincinnati Arch, Upper Mississippi Valley, and western United States and Canada. Results indicate a positive relationship between province area and θ that suggests the influence of provincial area, among other factors, on diversity. This correlation highlights the inherent link between diversity and abundance structure at local and regional scales, such that changes at one scale will necessarily affect the other. Since diversity at these smaller spatial scales is an important component of global biodiversity, determining the nature of this relationship in the fossil record has implications for understanding how diversity is assembled globally throughout the Phanerozoic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Biodiversity)
Open AccessArticle High Genetic Diversity in Geographically Remote Populations of Endemic and Widespread Coral Reef Angelfishes (genus: Centropyge)
Diversity 2013, 5(1), 39-50; doi:10.3390/d5010039
Received: 8 January 2013 / Revised: 21 January 2013 / Accepted: 25 January 2013 / Published: 4 February 2013
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (586 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the terrestrial environment, endemic species and isolated populations of widespread species have the highest rates of extinction partly due to their low genetic diversity. To determine if this pattern holds in the marine environment, we examined genetic diversity in endemic coral reef
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In the terrestrial environment, endemic species and isolated populations of widespread species have the highest rates of extinction partly due to their low genetic diversity. To determine if this pattern holds in the marine environment, we examined genetic diversity in endemic coral reef angelfishes and isolated populations of widespread species. Specifically, this study tested the prediction that angelfish (genus: Centropyge) populations at Christmas and Cocos Islands have low genetic diversity. Analyses of a 436 base pair fragment of the mtDNA control region revealed that the endemic C. joculator exhibited high haplotype (h > 0.98 at both locations) and nucleotide (Christmas p% = 3.63, Cocos p% = 9.99) diversity. Similarly, isolated populations of widespread angelfishes (C. bispinosa and C. flavicauda) had high haplotype (h > 0.98) and nucleotide (p% = 2.81 and p% = 5.78%, respectively) diversity. Therefore, in contrast to terrestrial patterns, endemic and isolated populations of widespread angelfishes do not have low genetic diversity, rather their haplotype and nucleotide diversities were among the highest reported for marine fishes. High genetic diversity should reduce extinction risk in these species as it could provide the evolutionary potential to adapt to the rapidly changing environmental conditions forecast for coral reefs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Biodiversity)
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