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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.

Show MeSH
Number of species recorded from each 100 km unit around the coast of South Africa from the Namibian border (1) to the Mozambique border (28).Cape Town is in unit 9 and Durban in unit 24.
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pone-0012008-g009: Number of species recorded from each 100 km unit around the coast of South Africa from the Namibian border (1) to the Mozambique border (28).Cape Town is in unit 9 and Durban in unit 24.

Mentions: The spatial patterns of species richness and endemism of coastal fishes, macroalgae, and a variety of benthic invertebrate groups around the South African coast have been plotted [24], [28], [30], [37]. The main findings of these studies were that some groups, including fishes, bivalves, gastropods, brachyurans, and echinoderms, become progressively more species rich to the (more tropical) east, whereas other taxa, such as amphipods, isopods, and polychaetes, attain maximum species richness in the temperate southwest. When all groups are summed, the pattern is one of low species richness along the entire west coast and relatively even species richness along the remainder of the coast (Figure 9). The apparent decline in species to the extreme east is almost certainly due to reduced sampling intensity in that region (see above). Endemicity in all groups peaks along the south coast, but to a large extent this may be an artifact of the way endemism is defined (as being confined within the political borders of a single country)—since the proportions of endemics naturally tends to increase with linear distance from the nearest political border.


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

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

Number of species recorded from each 100 km unit around the coast of South Africa from the Namibian border (1) to the Mozambique border (28).Cape Town is in unit 9 and Durban in unit 24.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0012008-g009: Number of species recorded from each 100 km unit around the coast of South Africa from the Namibian border (1) to the Mozambique border (28).Cape Town is in unit 9 and Durban in unit 24.
Mentions: The spatial patterns of species richness and endemism of coastal fishes, macroalgae, and a variety of benthic invertebrate groups around the South African coast have been plotted [24], [28], [30], [37]. The main findings of these studies were that some groups, including fishes, bivalves, gastropods, brachyurans, and echinoderms, become progressively more species rich to the (more tropical) east, whereas other taxa, such as amphipods, isopods, and polychaetes, attain maximum species richness in the temperate southwest. When all groups are summed, the pattern is one of low species richness along the entire west coast and relatively even species richness along the remainder of the coast (Figure 9). The apparent decline in species to the extreme east is almost certainly due to reduced sampling intensity in that region (see above). Endemicity in all groups peaks along the south coast, but to a large extent this may be an artifact of the way endemism is defined (as being confined within the political borders of a single country)—since the proportions of endemics naturally tends to increase with linear distance from the nearest political border.

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