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Diversity 2016, 8(4), 21;

Patterns of Sponge Biodiversity in the Pilbara, Northwestern Australia

Western Australian Museum, Locked Bag 49, Welshpool, WA 6986, Australia
Western Australian Marine Science Institution, Entrance 2 Brockway Road, Floreat, WA 6014, Australia
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), University of Western Australia, Oceans Institute, Perth, WA 6009, Australia
Queensland Museum, PO Box 3330, South Brisbane, CQU 4101, Australia
British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University, Nathan, CQU 4111, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Zoe Richards, Michael Wink and Rupert Ormond
Received: 16 August 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 17 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coral Reef Biodiversity and Conservation)
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This study assessed the biodiversity of sponges within the Integrated Marine and Coastal Regionalisation for Australia (IMCRA) bioregions of the Pilbara using datasets amalgamated from the Western Australian Museum and the Atlas of Living Australia. The Pilbara accounts for a total of 1164 Linnean and morphospecies. A high level of “apparent endemism” was recorded with 78% of species found in only one of six bioregions, with less than 10% confirmed as widely distributed. The Ningaloo, Pilbara Nearshore and Pilbara Offshore bioregions are biodiversity hotspots (>250 species) and are recognised as having the highest conservation value, followed by North West Shelf containing 232 species. Species compositions differed between bioregions, with those that are less spatially separated sharing more species. Notably, the North West Province bioregion (110 species) exhibited the most distinct species composition, highlighting it as a unique habitat within the Pilbara. While sponge biodiversity is apparently high, incomplete sampling effort for the region was identified, with only two sampling events recorded for the Central West Transition bioregion. Furthermore, only 15% of records in the dataset are presently described (Linnean) species, highlighting the continuing need for taxonomic expertise for the conservation and management of marine biodiversity resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: benthic survey; distribution; eastern Indian Ocean; museum records; Porifera; species richness benthic survey; distribution; eastern Indian Ocean; museum records; Porifera; species richness

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Fromont, J.; Abdul Wahab, M.A.; Gomez, O.; Ekins, M.; Grol, M.; Hooper, J.N.A. Patterns of Sponge Biodiversity in the Pilbara, Northwestern Australia. Diversity 2016, 8, 21.

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