At the time of archiving, the student author of this thesis opted to temporarily restrict access to it. The full text of this thesis became available to the public after the expiration of the embargo on 2016-12-10.
It has been estimated that coral reefs shelter 830 000 species. Well-studied
biodiversity patterns provide tools for better representation of species in marine
protected areas. A cross-shelf gradient in biodiversity exists for fishes, corals,
and macroalgae. Here, an inshore to offshore gradient in biodiversity on the
Saudi Arabian coast of the Red Sea was sampled using Autonomous Reef
Monitoring Structures (ARMS) with barcoding and metabarcoding techniques. It
was hypothesized that differences in community structure would be driven by an
increase in habitat area. The difference was attributed to the greater
accumulation of sediments close to shore that increases the area habitable for
sediment dwelling organisms and favors macroalgal cover. Macroalgae are
inhabited by a greater number of species than live coral. Only 10% of the
sequences of the barcoded fraction and <1% of the metabarcoded fraction had a
BLAST hit on the NCBI database with a previously identified species sequence.
In addition, the rarefaction curves for all fractions did not plateau. The ARMS
community composition changed from inshore to offshore and was significantly
correlated with the percentage of algal and bryozoan plate cover. The differences
in community composition were related to changes in habitat but not to
sediments retrieved from the ARMS.
Villalobos Vazquez De La Parra, R. (2015). Biodiversity Patterns on an Inshore to Offshore Gradient Using Metabarcoding and Barcoding Molecular Tools. KAUST Research Repository. https://doi.org/10.25781/KAUST-T54GQ