COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE OF GORGONIAN COMMUNITIES OF CORAL REEFS IN THE SABANA-CAMAGÜEY ARCHIPELAGO, CUBA: CONNECTIVITY AND DETERMINANT FACTORS
To know the gorgonian community composition and structure of coral reefs in the Archipelago Sabana-Camagüey (north central Cuba) and the factors governing them, sampling was carried out in 10 transects, which include the rear zone (about 1 m in depth) and the fore reef zone (between 5 m and 20 m in depth). The most dominant and frequent species was Pseudopterogorgia americana, followed by Eunicea flexuosa, Eunicea mammosa, Plexaurella dichotoma, and Plexaura kuekenthali. The first one is typical of rocky bottoms with accumulated sediments, while the others are considered resistant to water turbulence, except the last one. According the nMDS analysis, water turbulence was the only direct factor that explained in a significant way the gorgonian community composition and structure. Ordination of stations reveals a strong connectivity within the study area. Diversity indices H’ and J’suggest the dominance of favorable and quasi constant to constant physical environmental conditions for gorgonian communities.
Gorgonian communities; Octocorals; Coral reefs; Cuba
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