Morphospecies and taxonomic sufficiency of benthic megafauna in scientific bottom trawl surveys

Type Article
Date 2014-01
Language English
Author(s) Brind'Amour Anik1, Laffargue PascalORCID1, Morin Jocelyne2, Vaz SandrineORCID3, Foveau AurelieORCID4, 5, Le Bris Herve6
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Dept Ecol & Modeles Halieut, F-44311 Nantes 03, France.
2 : IFREMER, Lab Ressources Halieut, F-14520 Port En Bessin, France.
3 : IFREMER, F-62321 Boulogne Sur Mer, France.
4 : CRESCO IFREMER, Lab Environm Littoral, Stn Dinard, F-35801 Dinard, France.
5 : CRESCO IFREMER, Lab Environm Littoral, Lab Ressources Aquacoles Finistere, F-35801 Dinard, France.
6 : Univ Europeenne Bretagne, Agrocampus Ouest, UMR Ecol & Sante Ecosyst 985, F-35042 Rennes, France.
Source Continental Shelf Research (0278-4343) (Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd), 2014-01 , Vol. 72 , P. 1-9
DOI 10.1016/j.csr.2013.10.015
WOS© Times Cited 27
Keyword(s) Bay of Biscay, English Channel, North Sea, Taxonomic sufficiency, Benthic descriptor, Bottom trawl surveys
Abstract Scientific fisheries surveys routinely identify a large diversity of commercial and non-commercial benthic megainvertebrates that could provide useful information for Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) descriptors. Species is obviously the basic taxonomic level to which most ecological studies and theories refer. Identification at this level of organization is indeed always preferred over any other taxonomic level. Nevertheless, aggregation of species to higher taxonomic levels may be unavoidable sometimes, since errors of identification are known or suspected to occur in many surveys. Using analyses of taxonomic sufficiency (identification of organisms at various taxonomic resolutions) and groups of morphospecies (taxa identified easily by non-experts on the basis of evident morphological traits), this study aims to quantify the loss of ecological information incurred by partial identification of benthic megafauna in bottom trawl surveys in order to put such data to good use. The analyses were conducted on five scientific surveys representing a large range of geographical areas (from 150 km2 to 150 000 km2) and environmental conditions. Results show that genus, family and, particularly, morphospecies are good surrogates for species identification in community analyses. We suggest that bottom trawl surveys can provide reliable megafauna data that may usefully complete those obtained by grab surveys. The use of morphospecies could lead to new strategies, combining different datasets to provide indicators for MSFD descriptors (e.g. D6).
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