Although two thirds of the world’s euphausiid species occur in the Indian Ocean, environmental factors influencing patterns in their diversity across this atypical ocean basin are poorly known. Distribution data for 56 species of euphausiids were extracted from existing literature and, using a geographic information system, spatially-explicit layers of species richness and average taxonomic distinctness (AveTD) were produced for the Indian Ocean. Species richness was high in tropical areas of the southern Indian Ocean (0–20° S), and this high richness extended southwards via the Agulhas and Leeuwin boundary currents. In contrast, the land-locked northern Indian Ocean exhibited lower species richness but higher AveTD, with the presence of the monotypic family Bentheuphausiidae strongly influencing the latter result. Generalised additive modelling incorporating environmental variables averaged over 0–300 m depth indicated that low oxygen concentrations and reduced salinity in the northern Indian Ocean correlated with low species richness. Depth-averaged temperature and surface chlorophyll a
concentration were also significant in explaining some of the variation in species richness of euphausiids. Overall, this study has indicated that the patterns in species richness in the Indian Ocean are reflective of its many unusual oceanographic features, and that patterns in AveTD were not particularly informative because of the dominance by the family Euphausiidae.
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