The soft-bottom macrofauna of Sacrificios reef lagoon, SW Gulf of Mexico

Nayeli Domínguez-Castanedo, Alejandro Granados-Barba, Vivianne Solís-Weiss


The aim of the present work was to give a first approach on the composition, abundance and distribution of the softbottom macrofauna of Sacrificios reef lagoon (Veracruz Reef System: VRS); highlighting its function as part of a species macrofaunal reef corridor through the Gulf of Mexico and its relevance as a biodiversity bridge among coral reefs. This reef is part of an important protected area, however, the soft-bottom macrofauna is poorly known despite its species richness and biodiversity potential, considering the high biodiversity present in coral reefs and the variety of habitats they host. Sampling was carried out in four shallow soft sediment regions of the reef lagoon, considering three microhabitats. In all, 2211 individuals were collected and 137 species were identified. Polychaetes were the dominant group in abundance and diversity. East (windward) and West (leeward) regions were established based on the environmental analysis. These regions coincided with those proposed in coral reef studies. Nevertheless the community structure suggests the presence of a third zone (North). The seagrass and patch reef microhabitats had the highest diversity and species richness and their species turnover, or beta diversity, was high between them supporting the presence of a different community. The faunistic changes among regions were more evident than those among microhabitats.

Palabras clave

Beta diversity; reef system; soft bottom macrofauna; SW Gulf of Mexico; tropical reef lagoon; Veracruz

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