Habitat complexity affects benthic harmful dinoflagellate assemblages in the fringing reef of Rawa Island, Malaysia

Hwa Lin Yong, Nurin Izzati Mustapa, Li Keat Lee, Zhen Fei Lim, Toh Hii Tan, Gires Usup, Haifeng Gu, R. Wayne Litaker, Patricia A. Tester, Po Teen Lim, Chui Pin Leaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Few studies have investigated the effect of fine-scale habitat differences on the dynamics of benthic harmful dinoflagellate assemblages. To determine how these microhabitat differences affect the distribution and abundance of the major benthic harmful dinoflagellate genera in a tropical coral reef ecosystem, a field study was undertaken between April–September 2015 and January 2016 on the shallow reef flat of the fringing reef of Rawa Island, Terengganu, Malaysia. Sampling of benthic dinoflagellates was carried out using an artificial substrate sampling method (fiberglass screens). Benthic microhabitats surrounding the sampling screens were characterized simultaneously from photographs of a 0.25-m2 quadrat based on categories of bottom substrate types. Five taxonomic groups of benthic dinoflagellates, Ostreopsis, Gambierdiscus, Prorocentrum, Amphidinium, and Coolia were identified, and cells were enumerated using a light microscope. The results showed Gambierdiscus was less abundant than other genera throughout the study period, with maximum abundance of 1.2 × 103 cells 100 cm−2. While most taxa were present on reefs with high coral cover, higher cell abundances were observed in reefs with high turf algal cover and coral rubble, with the exception of Ostreopsis, where the abundance reached a maximum of 3.4 × 104 cells 100 cm−2 in habitats with high coral cover. Microhabitat heterogeneity was identified as a key factor governing the benthic harmful dinoflagellate assemblages and may account for much of the observed variability in dominant taxa. This finding has significant implications for the role of variability in the benthic harmful algal bloom (BHAB) outbreaks and the potential in identifying BHAB-related toxin transfer pathways and the key vectors in the food webs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalHarmful Algae
Volume78
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

Fingerprint

fringing reef
dinoflagellate
Malaysia
reefs
Gambierdiscus
microhabitat
microhabitats
habitat
corals
habitats
coral
reef
algal blooms
algal bloom
sampling
cells
Amphidinium
artificial substrate
fiberglass
Prorocentrum

Keywords

  • Artificial substrate
  • Benthic microhabitat
  • Ciguatera
  • Gambierdiscus
  • Ostreopsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Habitat complexity affects benthic harmful dinoflagellate assemblages in the fringing reef of Rawa Island, Malaysia. / Yong, Hwa Lin; Mustapa, Nurin Izzati; Lee, Li Keat; Lim, Zhen Fei; Tan, Toh Hii; Usup, Gires; Gu, Haifeng; Litaker, R. Wayne; Tester, Patricia A.; Lim, Po Teen; Leaw, Chui Pin.

In: Harmful Algae, Vol. 78, 01.09.2018, p. 56-68.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Yong, HL, Mustapa, NI, Lee, LK, Lim, ZF, Tan, TH, Usup, G, Gu, H, Litaker, RW, Tester, PA, Lim, PT & Leaw, CP 2018, 'Habitat complexity affects benthic harmful dinoflagellate assemblages in the fringing reef of Rawa Island, Malaysia', Harmful Algae, vol. 78, pp. 56-68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hal.2018.07.009
Yong, Hwa Lin ; Mustapa, Nurin Izzati ; Lee, Li Keat ; Lim, Zhen Fei ; Tan, Toh Hii ; Usup, Gires ; Gu, Haifeng ; Litaker, R. Wayne ; Tester, Patricia A. ; Lim, Po Teen ; Leaw, Chui Pin. / Habitat complexity affects benthic harmful dinoflagellate assemblages in the fringing reef of Rawa Island, Malaysia. In: Harmful Algae. 2018 ; Vol. 78. pp. 56-68.
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