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Marine biodiversity in South Africa: an evaluation of current states of knowledge.

Griffiths CL, Robinson TB, Lange L, Mead A - PLoS ONE (2010)

Bottom Line: Compared with many other developing countries, South Africa has a well-conserved coastline, 23% of which is under formal protection, however deeper waters are almost entirely excluded from conservation areas.Marine pollution is confined mainly to the densely populated KwaZulu-Natal coast and the urban centers of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.Over 120 introduced or cryptogenic marine species have been recorded, but most of these are confined to the few harbors and sheltered sites along the coast.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Zoology Department, Marine Biology Research Centre, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa. ebernal@umich.edu

ABSTRACT
Continental South Africa has a coastline of some 3,650 km and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of just over 1 million km(2). Waters in the EEZ extend to a depth of 5,700 m, with more than 65% deeper than 2,000 m. Despite its status as a developing nation, South Africa has a relatively strong history of marine taxonomic research and maintains comprehensive and well-curated museum collections totaling over 291,000 records. Over 3 million locality records from more than 23,000 species have been lodged in the regional AfrOBIS (African Ocean Biogeographic Information System) data center (which stores data from a wider African region). A large number of regional guides to the marine fauna and flora are also available and are listed. The currently recorded marine biota of South Africa numbers at least 12,914 species, although many taxa, particularly those of small body size, remain poorly documented. The coastal zone is relatively well sampled with some 2,500 samples of benthic invertebrate communities have been taken by grab, dredge, or trawl. Almost none of these samples, however, were collected after 1980, and over 99% of existing samples are from depths shallower than 1,000 m--indeed 83% are from less than 100 m. The abyssal zone thus remains almost completely unexplored. South Africa has a fairly large industrial fishing industry, of which the largest fisheries are the pelagic (pilchard and anchovy) and demersal (hake) sectors, both focused on the west and south coasts. The east coast has fewer, smaller commercial fisheries, but a high coastal population density, resulting in intense exploitation of inshore resources by recreational and subsistence fishers, and this has resulted in the overexploitation of many coastal fish and invertebrate stocks. South Africa has a small aquaculture industry rearing mussels, oysters, prawns, and abalone-the latter two in land-based facilities. Compared with many other developing countries, South Africa has a well-conserved coastline, 23% of which is under formal protection, however deeper waters are almost entirely excluded from conservation areas. Marine pollution is confined mainly to the densely populated KwaZulu-Natal coast and the urban centers of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Over 120 introduced or cryptogenic marine species have been recorded, but most of these are confined to the few harbors and sheltered sites along the coast.

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South Africa's nine marine bioregions, as defined by Lombard [14].
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pone-0012008-g004: South Africa's nine marine bioregions, as defined by Lombard [14].

Mentions: Many studies have analyzed marine biogeography around the South African coast, and each has recognized between two and five broad coastal biogeographic provinces, with some discrepancies regarding the naming of these areas, levels of dissimilarity between regions, region boundaries, and the recognition of overlap zones [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24], [25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30]. A recent national assessment of marine biodiversity in South Africa has synthesized all existing information and, through extensive expert input, has defined nine marine bioregions, which incorporate both the previously recognized coastal and newly delimited offshore zones, as shown in Figure 4 [14]. Note that while these coastal bioregions have been well defined by means of detailed faunistic and floristic analyses, the offshore regions are defined largely by physical criteria (e.g., temperature, depth, substratum).


Marine biodiversity in South Africa: an evaluation of current states of knowledge.

Griffiths CL, Robinson TB, Lange L, Mead A - PLoS ONE (2010)

South Africa's nine marine bioregions, as defined by Lombard [14].
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2914023&req=5

pone-0012008-g004: South Africa's nine marine bioregions, as defined by Lombard [14].
Mentions: Many studies have analyzed marine biogeography around the South African coast, and each has recognized between two and five broad coastal biogeographic provinces, with some discrepancies regarding the naming of these areas, levels of dissimilarity between regions, region boundaries, and the recognition of overlap zones [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24], [25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30]. A recent national assessment of marine biodiversity in South Africa has synthesized all existing information and, through extensive expert input, has defined nine marine bioregions, which incorporate both the previously recognized coastal and newly delimited offshore zones, as shown in Figure 4 [14]. Note that while these coastal bioregions have been well defined by means of detailed faunistic and floristic analyses, the offshore regions are defined largely by physical criteria (e.g., temperature, depth, substratum).

Bottom Line: Compared with many other developing countries, South Africa has a well-conserved coastline, 23% of which is under formal protection, however deeper waters are almost entirely excluded from conservation areas.Marine pollution is confined mainly to the densely populated KwaZulu-Natal coast and the urban centers of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.Over 120 introduced or cryptogenic marine species have been recorded, but most of these are confined to the few harbors and sheltered sites along the coast.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Zoology Department, Marine Biology Research Centre, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa. ebernal@umich.edu

ABSTRACT
Continental South Africa has a coastline of some 3,650 km and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of just over 1 million km(2). Waters in the EEZ extend to a depth of 5,700 m, with more than 65% deeper than 2,000 m. Despite its status as a developing nation, South Africa has a relatively strong history of marine taxonomic research and maintains comprehensive and well-curated museum collections totaling over 291,000 records. Over 3 million locality records from more than 23,000 species have been lodged in the regional AfrOBIS (African Ocean Biogeographic Information System) data center (which stores data from a wider African region). A large number of regional guides to the marine fauna and flora are also available and are listed. The currently recorded marine biota of South Africa numbers at least 12,914 species, although many taxa, particularly those of small body size, remain poorly documented. The coastal zone is relatively well sampled with some 2,500 samples of benthic invertebrate communities have been taken by grab, dredge, or trawl. Almost none of these samples, however, were collected after 1980, and over 99% of existing samples are from depths shallower than 1,000 m--indeed 83% are from less than 100 m. The abyssal zone thus remains almost completely unexplored. South Africa has a fairly large industrial fishing industry, of which the largest fisheries are the pelagic (pilchard and anchovy) and demersal (hake) sectors, both focused on the west and south coasts. The east coast has fewer, smaller commercial fisheries, but a high coastal population density, resulting in intense exploitation of inshore resources by recreational and subsistence fishers, and this has resulted in the overexploitation of many coastal fish and invertebrate stocks. South Africa has a small aquaculture industry rearing mussels, oysters, prawns, and abalone-the latter two in land-based facilities. Compared with many other developing countries, South Africa has a well-conserved coastline, 23% of which is under formal protection, however deeper waters are almost entirely excluded from conservation areas. Marine pollution is confined mainly to the densely populated KwaZulu-Natal coast and the urban centers of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Over 120 introduced or cryptogenic marine species have been recorded, but most of these are confined to the few harbors and sheltered sites along the coast.

Show MeSH