Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles
Prickly business: abundance of sea urchins on breakwaters and coral reefs in Dubai
Marine Pollution Bulletin
Echinometra mathaei, Sea urchin, Spatio-temporal, Persian Gulf, Coral Reefs
Echinometra mathaei is a common echinoid on tropical reefs and where abundant plays an important role in the control of algal communities. Despite high prevalence of E. mathaei on southern Persian/Arabian Gulf reefs, their abundance and distribution is poorly known. Spatial and temporal patterns in population abundance were examined at 12 sites between breakwater and natural reef habitats in Dubai (UAE) every 3 months from 2008 to 2010. Within the breakwater habitat, densities were greatest at shallow wave-exposed sites, and reduced with both decreasing wave-exposure and increasing depth. Interestingly, E. mathaei were significantly more abundant on exposed breakwaters than natural reef sites, presumably due to differences in habitat structure and benthic cover. Population abundances differed seasonally, with peak abundances during summer (July–September) and lower abundances in winter (December–February). Seasonal fluctuations are likely the result of peak annual recruitment pulses coupled with increased fish predation from summer to winter.
This work was supported in part by baseline funding from United Nations University — Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-IWEH) and Nakheel PJSC.
Andrew G. Bauman. 2016. Prickly business: abundance of sea urchins on breakwaters and coral reefs in Dubai .Marine Pollution Bulletin , (2) : 459 -465. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/occ_facarticles/1330.
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