Limits...
Marine biodiversity in the Caribbean: regional estimates and distribution patterns.

Miloslavich P, Díaz JM, Klein E, Alvarado JJ, Díaz C, Gobin J, Escobar-Briones E, Cruz-Motta JJ, Weil E, Cortés J, Bastidas AC, Robertson R, Zapata F, Martín A, Castillo J, Kazandjian A, Ortiz M - PLoS ONE (2010)

Bottom Line: Additionally, we found that the currently accepted classification of marine ecoregions of the Caribbean did not apply for the benthic distributions of five relatively well known taxonomic groups.Coastal species richness tends to concentrate along the Antillean arc (Cuba to the southernmost Antilles) and the northern coast of South America (Venezuela-Colombia), while no pattern can be observed in the deep sea with the available data.Several factors make it impossible to determine the extent to which these distribution patterns accurately reflect the true situation for marine biodiversity in general: (1) highly localized concentrations of collecting effort and a lack of collecting in many areas and ecosystems, (2) high variability among collecting methods, (3) limited taxonomic expertise for many groups, and (4) differing levels of activity in the study of different taxa.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Departamento de Estudios Ambientales, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela. pmilos@usb.ve

ABSTRACT
This paper provides an analysis of the distribution patterns of marine biodiversity and summarizes the major activities of the Census of Marine Life program in the Caribbean region. The coastal Caribbean region is a large marine ecosystem (LME) characterized by coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses, but including other environments, such as sandy beaches and rocky shores. These tropical ecosystems incorporate a high diversity of associated flora and fauna, and the nations that border the Caribbean collectively encompass a major global marine biodiversity hot spot. We analyze the state of knowledge of marine biodiversity based on the geographic distribution of georeferenced species records and regional taxonomic lists. A total of 12,046 marine species are reported in this paper for the Caribbean region. These include representatives from 31 animal phyla, two plant phyla, one group of Chromista, and three groups of Protoctista. Sampling effort has been greatest in shallow, nearshore waters, where there is relatively good coverage of species records; offshore and deep environments have been less studied. Additionally, we found that the currently accepted classification of marine ecoregions of the Caribbean did not apply for the benthic distributions of five relatively well known taxonomic groups. Coastal species richness tends to concentrate along the Antillean arc (Cuba to the southernmost Antilles) and the northern coast of South America (Venezuela-Colombia), while no pattern can be observed in the deep sea with the available data. Several factors make it impossible to determine the extent to which these distribution patterns accurately reflect the true situation for marine biodiversity in general: (1) highly localized concentrations of collecting effort and a lack of collecting in many areas and ecosystems, (2) high variability among collecting methods, (3) limited taxonomic expertise for many groups, and (4) differing levels of activity in the study of different taxa.

Show MeSH

Related in: MedlinePlus

Species-description accumulation curves for Caribbean mollusks, echinoderms and fishes.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection


getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2914069&req=5

pone-0011916-g002: Species-description accumulation curves for Caribbean mollusks, echinoderms and fishes.

Mentions: With the exception of mangroves, seagrasses, mammals, birds, and reptiles, we can expect that the number of species recorded in the Caribbean will increase in the future for the majority of taxa, particularly for those groups scored lower than 3 for “state of knowledge” in Table 2 and Table S1. However, even for relatively well known groups, such as mollusks, echinoderms, and fishes, the inventories have by no means been completed, and further discoveries (descriptions of new species or first Caribbean records of known species) ought to be expected. For relatively well known and not very species-rich groups, such as echinoderms, the accumulation curve of species discovery in the Caribbean shows that it is approaching an asymptote. In contrast, the accumulation curves of species-rich groups, including mollusks and fishes (Figure 2), suggest that a full inventory of these taxa is still far from being completed and that, despite the long history of collecting in a relatively small area, there are still many species to be discovered. As an example that supports this assertion, the map on Figure 3 shows the spatial distribution of 161,000 datapoints representing historical fish records in the Greater Caribbean, which represent 2,927 areas or localities of 10×10 km. That distribution indicates that within this region, large areas, even along the coastal zones, are seriously undersampled. Those areas include a large portion of Cuba, the large area of continental shelf off Nicaragua and Honduras, the ocean banks between Nicaragua and Jamaica and between Honduras and the Caymans, all of Hispaniola, the extreme northeastern Lesser Antilles, and some of the reefs offshore from Venezuela. In general, sampling effort has been best for shallow nearshore waters, where there is relatively good coverage of species records, especially along the southern Caribbean coasts (Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela), in Puerto Rico, and much of the Lesser Antilles.


Marine biodiversity in the Caribbean: regional estimates and distribution patterns.

Miloslavich P, Díaz JM, Klein E, Alvarado JJ, Díaz C, Gobin J, Escobar-Briones E, Cruz-Motta JJ, Weil E, Cortés J, Bastidas AC, Robertson R, Zapata F, Martín A, Castillo J, Kazandjian A, Ortiz M - PLoS ONE (2010)

Species-description accumulation curves for Caribbean mollusks, echinoderms and fishes.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2914069&req=5

pone-0011916-g002: Species-description accumulation curves for Caribbean mollusks, echinoderms and fishes.
Mentions: With the exception of mangroves, seagrasses, mammals, birds, and reptiles, we can expect that the number of species recorded in the Caribbean will increase in the future for the majority of taxa, particularly for those groups scored lower than 3 for “state of knowledge” in Table 2 and Table S1. However, even for relatively well known groups, such as mollusks, echinoderms, and fishes, the inventories have by no means been completed, and further discoveries (descriptions of new species or first Caribbean records of known species) ought to be expected. For relatively well known and not very species-rich groups, such as echinoderms, the accumulation curve of species discovery in the Caribbean shows that it is approaching an asymptote. In contrast, the accumulation curves of species-rich groups, including mollusks and fishes (Figure 2), suggest that a full inventory of these taxa is still far from being completed and that, despite the long history of collecting in a relatively small area, there are still many species to be discovered. As an example that supports this assertion, the map on Figure 3 shows the spatial distribution of 161,000 datapoints representing historical fish records in the Greater Caribbean, which represent 2,927 areas or localities of 10×10 km. That distribution indicates that within this region, large areas, even along the coastal zones, are seriously undersampled. Those areas include a large portion of Cuba, the large area of continental shelf off Nicaragua and Honduras, the ocean banks between Nicaragua and Jamaica and between Honduras and the Caymans, all of Hispaniola, the extreme northeastern Lesser Antilles, and some of the reefs offshore from Venezuela. In general, sampling effort has been best for shallow nearshore waters, where there is relatively good coverage of species records, especially along the southern Caribbean coasts (Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela), in Puerto Rico, and much of the Lesser Antilles.

Bottom Line: Additionally, we found that the currently accepted classification of marine ecoregions of the Caribbean did not apply for the benthic distributions of five relatively well known taxonomic groups.Coastal species richness tends to concentrate along the Antillean arc (Cuba to the southernmost Antilles) and the northern coast of South America (Venezuela-Colombia), while no pattern can be observed in the deep sea with the available data.Several factors make it impossible to determine the extent to which these distribution patterns accurately reflect the true situation for marine biodiversity in general: (1) highly localized concentrations of collecting effort and a lack of collecting in many areas and ecosystems, (2) high variability among collecting methods, (3) limited taxonomic expertise for many groups, and (4) differing levels of activity in the study of different taxa.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Departamento de Estudios Ambientales, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela. pmilos@usb.ve

ABSTRACT
This paper provides an analysis of the distribution patterns of marine biodiversity and summarizes the major activities of the Census of Marine Life program in the Caribbean region. The coastal Caribbean region is a large marine ecosystem (LME) characterized by coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses, but including other environments, such as sandy beaches and rocky shores. These tropical ecosystems incorporate a high diversity of associated flora and fauna, and the nations that border the Caribbean collectively encompass a major global marine biodiversity hot spot. We analyze the state of knowledge of marine biodiversity based on the geographic distribution of georeferenced species records and regional taxonomic lists. A total of 12,046 marine species are reported in this paper for the Caribbean region. These include representatives from 31 animal phyla, two plant phyla, one group of Chromista, and three groups of Protoctista. Sampling effort has been greatest in shallow, nearshore waters, where there is relatively good coverage of species records; offshore and deep environments have been less studied. Additionally, we found that the currently accepted classification of marine ecoregions of the Caribbean did not apply for the benthic distributions of five relatively well known taxonomic groups. Coastal species richness tends to concentrate along the Antillean arc (Cuba to the southernmost Antilles) and the northern coast of South America (Venezuela-Colombia), while no pattern can be observed in the deep sea with the available data. Several factors make it impossible to determine the extent to which these distribution patterns accurately reflect the true situation for marine biodiversity in general: (1) highly localized concentrations of collecting effort and a lack of collecting in many areas and ecosystems, (2) high variability among collecting methods, (3) limited taxonomic expertise for many groups, and (4) differing levels of activity in the study of different taxa.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus