Polychaete functional diversity in shallow habitats: Shelter from the storm

Julia Wouters, Joao B. Gusmao, Gustavo Mattos, Paulo Lana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Innovative approaches are needed to help understanding how species diversity is related to the latitudinal gradient at large or small scales. We have applied a novel approach, by combining morphological and biological traits, to assess the relative importance of the large scale latitudinal gradient and regional morphodynamic drivers in shaping the functional diversity of polychaete assemblages in shallow water habitats, from exposed to estuarine sandy beaches. We used literature data on polychaetes from beaches along the southern and southeastern Brazilian coast together with data on beach types, slope, grain size, temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll a concentration. Generalized linear models on the FDis index for functional diversity calculated for each site and a combined RLQ and fourth-corner analysis were used to investigate relationships between functional traits and environmental variables. Functional diversity was not related to the latitudinal gradient but negatively correlated with grain size and beach slope. Functional diversity was highest in flat beaches with small grain size, little wave exposure and enhanced primary production, indicating that small scale morphodynamic conditions are the primary drivers of polychaete functional diversity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-30
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Early online date13 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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