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Diversity and assemblage structure of tropical marine flora on lava flows of different ages

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  • Mayalen Zubia
  • Olivier De Clerck
  • Frederik Leliaert
  • Claude Payri
  • Lydiane Mattio
  • Christophe Vieira
  • Harold Cambert
  • Jean Pascal Quod
  • Nicolas Loiseau
  • Stjepko Golubic
  • Showe-Mei Lin
  • Shao-Lun Liu
  • Mathieu Pinault
Abstract Recent volcanic lava flows extending into the ocean represent an ideal opportunity to study the long-term successional development of marine floral assemblages on the bare new substratum. We describe the floral assemblages of nine lava flows of different ages (prehistoric to 2007) at Piton de la Fournaise (Reunion Island, Indian Ocean) based on a survey of 37 stations. We identified 159 species including 148 macroalgae, 1 seagrass, and 10 cyanobacteria. Fifty-one of those represent new records for Reunion Island, and at least 9 taxa were identified as new to science. Recent lava flows were characterized by the dominance of ephemeral, opportunistic species, such as Pseudobryopsis hainanensis and Acrocladus dotyanus, while prehistoric lava flows were mainly characterized by perennial species, particularly Sargassum portierianum and Turbinaria ornata. A canonical correspondence analysis revealed that the environmental factor that most significantly correlated to the variation in floral assemblages was the distance to the most recent lava flow (2007). This factor was also highly correlated to coral cover. The composition of the different floral assemblages is discussed in relation to abiotic and biotic factors to explain ecological succession in a tropical environment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Botany
Pages (from-to)20-30
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018
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