Rocky reef biodiversity survey: Punta Pardelas, Argentina
Temperate rocky reefs in the SW Atlantic are productive areas that support highly diverse communities of invertebrates, algae and fishes. Rocky outcrops form complex structures which offer a diversity of microhabitats that lead to a great variety of co-existing species. Subtidal biodiversity within the Natural Protected Area Península Valdés is largely unexplored and studies are mainly limited to fish. A total of 560 high definition photoquadrats from 7 rocky reefs (1-25 m depth) at Punta Pardelas were obtained during March 2019. In total, 4491 occurrences were recorded and identified to phyla (n=2), superclasses (n=1), classes (n=5), subclasses (n=2), orders (n=2), families (n=1), subfamilies (n=1), genera (n=10) and species (n=43) levels. This dataset was developed to provide a baseline inventory of Punta Pardelas inside the Natural Protected Area, that was only partially reported more than 50 years ago. Such data represent the first step towards monitoring these less-accessible ecosystems.
The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 595 records.
2 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Bravo G, Livore J P, Battini N, Gastaldi M, Lauretta D, Brogger M, Raffo M P, Lagger C, Bigatti G (2021): Rocky reef biodiversity survey: Punta Pardelas, Argentina. v1.10. ArOBIS Centro Nacional Patagónico. Dataset/Samplingevent. http://arobis.cenpat-conicet.gob.ar:8081/resource?r=arrs&v=1.10
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The publisher and rights holder of this work is ArOBIS Centro Nacional Patagónico. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.
Sampling event; Rocky reef; Southern Ocean; Photoquadrats; Biodiversity; Scientific diving; Samplingevent
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Nuevo Gulf in Chubut Province, Argentina. We selected 7 rocky reefs grouped in an area of almost 11 km2 in Punta Pardelas.
|Bounding Coordinates||South West [-42.652, -64.284], North East [-42.617, -64.225]|
This database described here is based on photoquadrat taxonomic identification and is supported by local taxonomists. The goal of this study was to update the benthic community data from Punta Pardelas in Nuevo Gulf, Atlantic Patagonia. The taxonomic coverage Fig. 3 includes twelve phyla: Porifera (17%), Mollusca (17%), Rhodophyta (17%), Chordata (14%), Cnidaria (12%), Ochrophyta (8%), Echinodermata (6%), Chlorophyta (4%), Annelida (2%), Arthropoda (1%), Brachiopoda (<1%) and Phatyhelminthes (<1%). The class Calcarea (Porifera), the genus Halcurias (Cnidaria: Actiniaria) and the species Darwinella rosacea (Porifera) represented first records for Nuevo Gulf and were identified by extractive samples by taxonomists.
|Class||Hydrozoa, Demospongiae, Polychaeta, Phaeophyceae, Calcarea|
|Genus||Aplidium, Halcurias, Myxicola, Clathria, Cliona, Codium, Ulva, Patagonotothen, Trapania, Calliostoma|
|Species||Ascidiella aspersa, Aulacomya atra, Anthothoe chilensis, Austromegabalanus psittacus, Asterocarpa humilis, Corella eumyota, Aequipecten tehuelchus, Magellania venosa, Corynactis carnea, Ciona intestinalis, Ciona robusta, Diplosoma listerianum, Lissoclinum fragile, Metridium senile, Paramolgula gregaria, Parabunodactis imperfecta, Darwinella rosacea, Tripalea clavaria, Corallina officinalis, Colpomenia sinuosa, Dictyota dichotoma, Lomentaria clavellosa, Undaria pinnatifida, Pseudechinus magellanicus, Tegula patagonica, Leucippa pentagona, Arbacia dufresnii, Ribeiroclinus eigenmanni, Helcogrammoides cunninghami, Pachycheles chubutensis, Doris fontainii, Diaulula punctuolata, Allostichaster capensis, Polycera marplatensis, Fissurellidea patagonica, Fissurella radiosa tixierae, Phrikoceros mopsus, Cosmasterias lurida, Sebastes oculatus, Cycethra verrucosa, Pleurobranchaea maculata, Ophioplocus januarii, Odontaster penicillatus|
|Start Date / End Date||2019-03-11 / 2019-03-26|
As in most parts of the world, in Patagonia Argentina there is more information about biodiversity in intertidal than subtidal habitats (Miloslavich et al. 2011, Rechimont et al. 2013). This region contains large areas where underwater marine life remains largely unexplored (Bigatti and Signorelli 2018), even in easily accessible shallow diving locations. Detecting changes in biodiversity with the current gaps in baseline data may be difficult or even impossible (Fraschetti et al. 2008, Duffy et al. 2013, Halpern et al. 2008). There is, therefore, an urgent need to acquire data of under-sampled areas in order to collect baseline information, monitor and detect changes in species composition due to environmental or anthropogenic processes. Rocky reefs are an important component of the coastal subtidal ecosystems of Atlantic Patagonia in Argentina. They create a unique habitat that is distinguished from rocky flat or soft bottoms because of the presence of outcrops with crevices and small caves that provide refuges for fish species that are only found on these systems (Galván et al. 2009). As such, rocky reefs provide important marine ecosystem services for recreational fishing, scuba diving activities and have educational and scientific research value (Bravo et al. 2015, Bravo et al. 2020). Targeting these habitats for subtidal monitoring programs is essential to detect changes that may occur in the future due to rising sea-water temperature, extreme weather events, marine heat waves or other environmental or human stressors. This study provides new benthic biodiversity baseline data from Punta Pardelas, inside a Natural Protected Area where a single study was performed 55 years ago (Olivier et al. 1966). According to information gathered during this sampling and comparing with previuos sudies in Nuevo Gulf (Bravo et al. 2015, Olivier et al. 1966) we conclude that the area is a local biodiversity hotspot and we recommend promoting long-term monitoring in the region.
|Title||“Biodiversidad bentónica de arrecifes rocosos de la costa patagónica: estado actual y predicciones ante futuros escenarios de cambio climático” [Biodiversity of epi-benthic communities along template rocky reefs in the Patagonian Atlantic Coast: current state and modelling under a climate change scenario]|
|Funding||Most part of the financial support came from PICT-2018-0969 (ANPCyT- ARGENTINA). Minor funding was provided by a Rapid Ocean Conservation grant (ROC) from Waitt Foundation (https://www.waittfoundation.org/), Tides Foundation Grant Award TF2002-089196 and Instituto de Conservación de Ballenas (ICB) with the Australis award granted to Gonzalo Bravo. All the authors are members of national institutions in Argentina.|
|Study Area Description||Seven rocky reefs grouped in an area of about 11 km were sampled off the coast of Punta Pardelas Bay inside Nuevo Gulf, Atlantic Patagonia Fig. 1. The study area is part of the Natural Protected Area Península Valdés and this work was performed with the corresponding permit provided by the Subsecretaría de Conservación yÁreas Protegidas (DISPOSICIÓN N°076-SsCyAP/18) from Chubut Government. This latitude is considered as an ecotone of two marine biogeographic provinces (Argentinian and Magellanic), with both warm temperate and cold temperate species represented (Balech and Ehrlich 2008). The tide regime is semidiurnal with mean amplitudes of 3.8 m and spring tides of up to 5.7 m. Water temperature varies from 9 to 18°C. The first and only study of the subtidal benthic community at Punta Pardelas was performed by Olivier et al. (1966), but only down to 10 m depth. Our dataset presents species occurrences and species richness taken by underwater photoquadrats. Sessile species were recorded as percentage cover and mobile fauna as density. It is likely that somo taxa, particularly mobile fauna, may present an avoidance behavior and thus was not recorder. Hence, biodiversity estimation is likely underestimated through this methodology. However, we are confident that for bethic reef biodiversity surveys it is a cost-effective method and encourage its use.|
|Design Description||Ledge borders were followed as underwater transects in all rocky reefs. Photoquadrats (25 x 25 cm) spaced at 2-5 m intervals were taken by scuba diving. Preliminary tests showed that a focal length of 50 cm, which in turn determined quadrat size, was the best to reduce the negative influence of water turbidity on the resolution of the image. The presence of cavities with a height of 1.5 to 3.0 m below the rocky ledges provided enough space to sample four different surface orientations(horizontal, vertical, overhang and cave floor). Rocky reefs were sampled at three different depths ranges 1-7 m: “shallow rocky reefs” (n= 2 reefs), 8-15 m: “mid depth rocky reefs”(n= 3 reefs) and 16-25 m: “deep rocky reefs” (n= 2 reefs). Voucher samples were collected to confirm photo identification when necessary.|
The personnel involved in the project:
Divers were equipped with a Canon 100D camera and two Ikelite DS-161 strobes mounted on a stainless-steel structure with a 0.0625 m2 quadrat (0.25 x 0.25 m). The camera had a 18-55 mm Canon lens and all the images were taken with the 18 mm setting, autofocus, ISO 400, Exposure 1/200 s at f/11 and flashes set on automatic TTL. A dive computer (Oceanic Geo2) was mounted on one side of the quadrat to register the depth and temperature of each photoquadrat. Divers carried a monofilament line that towed a surface buoy with a GPS loading a waypoint every 3 seconds (Bravo et al. 2021).
|Study Extent||This dataset presents species occurrences and species richness of underwater photoquadrats over rocky reefs in Punta Pardelas, Nuevo Gulf. Sessile species were recorded as percentage cover and mobile fauna as density. This is the first study of benthic communities in Punta Pardelas at three different depth levels: shallow rocky reefs(1-7 m), mid depth rocky reefs (8-15 m) and deep rocky reefs (16-25 m).|
|Quality Control||Species names were assigned when the photograph allowed us to observed the organism's characteristics. When identification was inconclusive, only family or genus names were assigned and, in the case of filamentous algae or sponges, functional groups were assigned. Most of the species were identified by the project codirector Gonzalo Bravo which has extensive knowledge and observations of the local species in the field (see: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/biodiversidad-submarina-de-lacosta- argentina). In some cases, extractive samples were recollected for taxonomic confirmation or description of species not recorded in the area. The taxonomists that contributed to the identification of photoquadrats were Paula Raffo (Algae), Marianela Gastaldi (Porifera), Cristian Lagger (Tunicates), Martín Brogger (Echinodermata), Gregorio Bigatti (Mollusca) and Daniel Lauretta (Cnidaria: Actiniaria, Coralliorpharia). The taxonomic validity of the names was verified using the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS; www.marinespecies.org). The geo-referencing of photoquadrats was recorded using a Garmin eTrex 10 GPS (WGS84 Datum) with a 5 m accuracy.|
Method step description:
- GPS and underwater camera time were synchronized. This was done by aligning the camera clock with the GPS clock before each dive. The GPS was set on track mode recording one waypoint every 3 seconds.
- The portable GPS (Garmin Etrex 10) was placed in a dry bag on top of a Rescue Can buoy connected to the diver by a monofilament line using a diving reel. Divers maintained the monofilament line as tight as possible to minimize angles between the buoy and the diver.
- Photoquadrat sampling.
- Photos were georeferenced using the function “Auto-tag photos” in Adobe Lightroom Classic version: 9.1.
- Percentage cover of algae and sessile invertebrates was calculated using a 100 point grid overlaid on each photo, using CoralNet software (Beijbom et al., 2015). On the same image all the mobile fauna was counted to calculate density. All the photoquadrats are stored in a public CoralNet source: https://coralnet.ucsd.edu/source/1933/
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