Patterns in the distribution of sediment fauna on the central Great Barrier Reef


Temporal Range: From 01-Jul-1985 To 31-May-1986

Resource Summary

The sediment environment and fauna from reefs in a broad transect across the Great Barrier Reef were quantitatively surveyed. The study was conducted on six reefs in two transects across the continental shelf in the central region of the Great Barrier Reef. Each transect consisted of one inner shelf reef (Pandora or Phillips) located approximately 18km from the coast, one middle shelf reef (Rib or Lodestone) approximately 70km from the coast and one reef on the outer edge of the continental shelf (Myrmidon or Dip) approximately 110km offshore.

Within each reef, three or four sites were sampled representing the different sediment environments. Sites were placed at intervals along the gradient of wave energy from shallow windward reef flat to deep leeward lagoon. On the inner shelf reefs, which have no distinct lagoon, sites were positioned on the windward and leeward sides according to the prevailing south east trade wind.

One transect of three reefs (Pandora, Rib and Myrmidon) was sampled on four occasions at approximately three monthly intervals throughout a year. The second transect (Phillips, Lodestone and Dip) was sampled once.

This study was undertaken to investigate the spatial variability of reef sediment fauna at three levels:
1) among reefs along a cross-shelf transect
2) among reefs at similar positions along a cross-shelf transect
3) among zones within reefs

Temporal variability in community structure was also investigated to determine whether distribution patterns were persistent over time.

Sediment analysis was also carried out to determine whether there was a relationship between sediment characteristics and faunal community structure.

Sediment samples were taken with a cylindrical PVC corer of 55mm internal diameter, which was pushed manually to a depth of 200-250mm into the sediment. At each site 15 (1st sampling occasion) or 20 (all subsequent occasions) cores were collected for faunal analysis. Sampling was designed to minimise the effects of local patchiness. Four sets (3 on the 1st occasion) of five cores were taken from an area about 1m2 and the sets were spaced about 4m apart. The five cores in each set were bulked to form the basic sample unit (119 cm2).

At each site, one additional core was collected for analysis of sediment characteristics on each occasion.

Constraints
Resource Usage:

Use of the AIMS data is for not-for-profit applications only. All other users shall seek permission for use by contacting AIMS. Acknowledgements as prescribed must be clearly set out in the user's formal communications or publications.

Cite this Record
Copy
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). 2009, Patterns in the distribution of sediment fauna on the central Great Barrier Reef, https://apps.aims.gov.au/metadata/view/a2e2f85d-65a7-41fe-9023-69b63186b001, accessed 22-May-2019
Related Information
Cyclone and bioturbation effects on sediments from coral reef lagoons: Riddle MJ (1988) Cyclone and bioturbation effects on sediments from coral reef lagoons. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 27: 687-695.
Patterns in the distribution of macrofaunal communities in coral reef sediments on the central Great Barrier Reef: Riddle MJ (1988) Patterns in the distribution of macrofaunal communities in coral reef sediments on the central Great Barrier Reef. Marine Ecology Progress Series 47: 281-292.
Sediment fauna as a tool for recruitment studies on coral reefs: Riddle MJ (1988) Sediment fauna as a tool for recruitment studies on coral reefs. 2: 833-837. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Coral Reef Symposium, Townsville, Australia 8-12 August 1988.
Sediment living animals from reefs across the central Great Barrier Reef: Riddle MJ (1988) Sediment living animals from reefs across the central Great Barrier Reef. No. 1988:1. Australian Institute of Marine Science. 7 p.