Special Issue "Structure and Biodiversity of Rhodolith Seabeds"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Assoc. Prof. Fernando Tuya
Website
Guest Editor
IU-ECOAQUA, University of Las Palmas de G.C., Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain
Interests: marine community ecology and conservation; benthic ecology; coastal biodiversity; the biology of marine “foundation” species

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rhodolith seabeds are a paramount component of nearshore habitats worldwide, where a plethora of organisms live associated with each other. However, knowledge on their structure and distribution is lacking, relative to other habitats such as seagrass meadows or coral reefs; at the same time, it is particularly valuable to understand ecological connections between the structure of such rhodolith beds and their local biotas. Under increasing human pressures on coastal areas, such knowledge is valuable to improve their conservation. This Special Issue provides a platform to highlight new research that contributes to this by addressing: (i) the role of varying scales of temporal and spatial variation on the structure and distribution of rhodolith beds, including (ii) changes across biogeographical and oceanographic gradients and (iii) potential effects of human activities. At the same time, (iv) links between the structure and distribution of rhodolith seabeds and their associated flora and fauna are welcomed, including (v) potential species of commercial relevance.

Prof. Fernando Tuya
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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.

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Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Brachyuran Crabs (Decapoda) Associated with Rhodolith Beds: Spatio-Temporal Variability at Gran Canaria Island
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060223 - 04 Jun 2020
Abstract
Crustaceans are a key component of the fauna living in rhodoliths, but patterns in their distribution and abundance remain largely unknown. This paper assessed spatio-temporal variability of Brachyura associated with rhodoliths. A seasonal study was conducted at three depth layers (18, 25, and [...] Read more.
Crustaceans are a key component of the fauna living in rhodoliths, but patterns in their distribution and abundance remain largely unknown. This paper assessed spatio-temporal variability of Brachyura associated with rhodoliths. A seasonal study was conducted at three depth layers (18, 25, and 40 m), throughout two years (December 2015 to October 2017) at Gran Canaria Island (eastern Atlantic Ocean). A total of 765 crabs belonging to 10 species were collected. A larger abundance and richness of crabs at 25 m correlated with a larger biomass of epiphytic algae attached to rhodoliths. A seasonal pattern was also observed, where a higher richness of crabs occurred in the summer. The Xanthid crab, Nanocassiope melanodactylus, dominated the assemblage (83%); juveniles of this species were more abundant in deeper waters (40 m), while adults were more abundant on the shallower depth layers (18 m and 25 m). The species Pilmunus hirtellus was restricted to 25 m. Nevertheless, Pisa carinimana and Achaeus cranchii did not show any spatio-temporal pattern. In summary, this study demonstrated that two conspicuous crabs, N. melanodactylus and P. hirtellus, associated with rhodolith beds are bathymetrically segregated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Biodiversity of Rhodolith Seabeds)
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Open AccessArticle
Sporolithon franciscanum sp. nov. (Sporolithales, Rhodophyta), a New Rhodolith-Forming Species from Northeast Brazil
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050199 - 15 May 2020
Abstract
This paper describes Sporolithon franciscanum, a new rhodolith-forming species of non-geniculate coralline algae found at depths between 47–52 m near the São Francisco river mouth, the second largest and the most extensive drainage basin in Brazil, and also at the Abrolhos Bank, [...] Read more.
This paper describes Sporolithon franciscanum, a new rhodolith-forming species of non-geniculate coralline algae found at depths between 47–52 m near the São Francisco river mouth, the second largest and the most extensive drainage basin in Brazil, and also at the Abrolhos Bank, in the world´s largest rhodolith beds. DNA sequences from plastidial psbA and rbcL markers indicate that the species is unique compared to all other Sporolithon species that have thus far been sequenced. Since morpho-anatomical features of the new species are shared with some other Sporolithon species, its identification was only confirmed by DNA sequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Biodiversity of Rhodolith Seabeds)
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Open AccessArticle
Rhodolith Bed Discovered off the South African Coast
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040125 - 27 Mar 2020
Abstract
Rhodolith beds have not previously been recorded in South Africa. A multidisciplinary research effort used remote sampling tools to survey the historically unexplored continental shelf off the Eastern Cape coast of South Africa. A rhodolith bed, bearing both living and dead non-geniculate coralline [...] Read more.
Rhodolith beds have not previously been recorded in South Africa. A multidisciplinary research effort used remote sampling tools to survey the historically unexplored continental shelf off the Eastern Cape coast of South Africa. A rhodolith bed, bearing both living and dead non-geniculate coralline red algae, was discovered in the 30–65 m depth range off the Kei River mouth in the newly proclaimed Amathole Offshore Marine Protected Area. Some of the rhodolith forming coralline algal specimens were identified as belonging to at least three genera based on their morphology and anatomy, namely, Lithophyllum, Lithothamnion and a non-descript genus. Rhodolith mean mass and diameter were 44.85 g ± 34.22 g and 41.28 mm ± 10.67 mm (N = 13), respectively. Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) imagery revealed a suite of epibenthic red macroalgae associated with the rhodolith bed. Taxonomy, vertical structure and distribution of rhodoliths in South Africa require further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Biodiversity of Rhodolith Seabeds)
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Open AccessArticle
Middle Eocene Rhodoliths from Tropical and Mid-Latitude Regions
Diversity 2020, 12(3), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12030117 - 23 Mar 2020
Abstract
During the greenhouse conditions prevailing in the early–middle Eocene, larger benthic foraminifers (LBF) spread out on carbonate platforms worldwide while rhodolith beds were scarcely represented. This reduction in rhodolith beds coincided with a relative decrease in coralline algal diversity and with a drastic [...] Read more.
During the greenhouse conditions prevailing in the early–middle Eocene, larger benthic foraminifers (LBF) spread out on carbonate platforms worldwide while rhodolith beds were scarcely represented. This reduction in rhodolith beds coincided with a relative decrease in coralline algal diversity and with a drastic decline of coral reef abundance. Middle Eocene rhodoliths from two tropical (San Jacinto Fold Belt in northern Colombia and Bahoruco Peninsula in the Dominican Republic) and two mid-latitude (Salinas Menores Ravine and Sierra del Zacatín in Southern Spain) localities were studied. Rhodolith rudstones in the tropical areas accumulated on relatively deep (several tens of meters) platform environments and were also redeposited in deeper settings downslope. In Salinas Menores, rhodoliths are dispersed in planktic foraminifer-rich marls. Miliolids are common in the infilling of constructional voids in these rhodoliths, indicating that they originally grew in shallow-water inner-shelf settings and afterwards they were transported to deeper environments. In Sierra del Zacatín, rhodoliths are scarce and coralline algae mainly occur as crusts attached to and intergrowing with corals. Here, LBF dominated shallow-water carbonate platforms. In terms of taxonomic composition, coralline algae of the order Hapalidiales are the most abundant in the study areas, followed by Sporolithales. The order Corallinales is poorly represented except in Salinas Menores, where it is relatively abundant and diverse. The impact of high temperatures due to high levels of atmospheric CO2 during the Eocene and widespread oligotrophic conditions, which favored formation of LBF-rich lithofacies, might account for the low abundance of rhodolith beds at mid and high latitudes. In contrast, the more productive equatorial regions would have favored the formation of rhodolith beds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Biodiversity of Rhodolith Seabeds)
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Open AccessCommunication
The Minute Alga Schizocladia ischiensis (Schizocladiophyceae, Ochrophyta) Isolated by Germling Emergence from 24 m Depth off Rhodes (Greece)
Diversity 2020, 12(3), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12030102 - 14 Mar 2020
Abstract
Substratum collected during diving surveys of sublittoral communities off the Greek island of Rhodes (Dodecanese, South-East Aegean) in late 2015 was incubated in the laboratory. Among the emerging macroalgal germlings, there was the second-ever record and isolate of the small benthic multicellular alga [...] Read more.
Substratum collected during diving surveys of sublittoral communities off the Greek island of Rhodes (Dodecanese, South-East Aegean) in late 2015 was incubated in the laboratory. Among the emerging macroalgal germlings, there was the second-ever record and isolate of the small benthic multicellular alga Schizocladia ischiensis of the poorly known monotypic Schizocladiophyceae, the sister group of the brown algae (Phaeophyceae). Its nuclear ribosomal small subunit, Rubisco spacer (rbcL, psaA, and psbC sequences (in total 5237 bp)) were similar to those of the only previous isolate of the species from Ischia, western Mediterranean. Our new strain formed branched upright thalli attached to the substratum by an amorphous substance secreted at the bottom of the basal cell. It is possible that S. ischiensis is a common member of the infralittoral and circalittoral communities in the Mediterranean and generally overlooked because of its minute size. Germling emergence appears to represent the method of choice to reveal benthic algae of this small size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Biodiversity of Rhodolith Seabeds)
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Open AccessArticle
Structure of Rhodolith Beds and Surrounding Habitats at the Doce River Shelf (Brazil)
Diversity 2020, 12(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12020075 - 15 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The world’s largest rhodolith beds have been reported from the Brazilian continental shelf. Highly biodiverse beds are located in Southeast Brazil, but ecological aspects of these beds remain unknown. Despite their ecological importance, rhodolith beds (RBs) have recently been subjected to a severe [...] Read more.
The world’s largest rhodolith beds have been reported from the Brazilian continental shelf. Highly biodiverse beds are located in Southeast Brazil, but ecological aspects of these beds remain unknown. Despite their ecological importance, rhodolith beds (RBs) have recently been subjected to a severe threat, when more than 35 million cubic meters of mining residues slid down a mountainside on 5 November 2015, after a collapse of a gigantic dam upstream (the Mariana disaster), causing a huge impact on the Doce River. Our aim is to assess rhodolith beds and adjacent coralline formations on the Doce River Shelf (DRS) after the dam collapse. This paper describes the distribution, abundance, vitality, size and shape, as well as unmapped bryozoan rich sediment formations in this area, serving as baseline knowledge for environmental monitoring. Four distinct biogenic sea bottom habitats (bryozoan bottoms, rhodolith beds, carbonate concretions, and reefs) were recognized at different depth ranges with distribution indicated to be mostly related to the local sedimentary regime. Mud sediments dominated the seafloor up to 35 m depth. On the mid shelf, bryozoan bottoms were recorded from 35 to 45 m depth. Crustose coralline algae (CCA) occurring as rhodoliths and carbonate concretions extend over 1953 km2 in the mid and outer shelf. Rhodolith beds predominate in these areas, totaling 1521 km2 of sea bottom and were more abundant at depths between 45 and 65 m, occupying an extensive area south of the Doce River mouth. Northward, rhodolith beds are less abundant or absent likely due to the long-term deposition of fine sediments in this region. Carbonate concretions and reefs covered by CCA occupy sparse areas on the outer shelf (65–105 m depth). Differences in rhodolith features recorded, including coverage, density and size, may be related to the Doce River sedimentation and related factors (e.g., hydrodynamics, depth, and light). However, since there are no previous detailed studies on RBs along the DRS, we could not assess the impact of sedimentation of dam wastes on RBs’ abundance and density. In any case, these are valuable results for the further monitoring of long-term effects. Considering that the growth of these rhodoliths is relatively slow, and that they are affected by the sedimentation from the Doce River, the implementation of a management and conservation plan for this area is necessary in order to preserve this ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Biodiversity of Rhodolith Seabeds)
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