Functional traits of benthic marine invertebrates associated with honeycomb worm reefs in Europe

Date 2021-03
Temporal extent 2017-06 -2017-08
Author(s) Muller AlexandreORCID1, Poitrimol CamilleORCID1, 2, Nunes Flávia L. D.ORCID1, Curd AmeliaORCID1, Desroy NicolasORCID3, B. Firth Louise4, Bush Laura5, Davies Andrew J.ORCID6, Lima Fernando P.ORCID7, Marzloff Martin P.ORCID1, Meneghesso ClaudiaORCID7, 8, Seabra RuiORCID7, Dubois StanislasORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ifremer, Centre de Bretagne, DYNECO, Laboratory of Coastal Benthic Ecology, 29280 Plouzané, France.
2 : Sorbonne Université, Station Biologique de Roscoff, UMR7144, Adaptation et Diversité en Milieu Marin, 29680 Roscoff, France
3 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement et Ressources Bretagne Nord, 35801 Dinard, France
4 : School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom
5 : FUGRO GB Marine Limited, Gait 8, Research Park South, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AP, United Kingdom
6 : Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
7 : CIBIO-InBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661, Vairão, Portugal
8 : Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto, R. Campo Alegre, s/n, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
DOI 10.17882/79817
Publisher SEANOE

Reef-building species are recognized as having an important ecological role and as generally enhancing the diversity of benthic organisms in marine habitats.  However, although these ecosystem engineers have a facilitating role for some species, they may exclude or compete with others. The honeycomb worm Sabellaria alveolata (Linnaeus, 1767) is an important foundation species, commonly found from northwest Ireland to northern Mauritania (Curd et al., 2020), whose reef structures increase the physical complexity of the marine benthos, supporting high levels of biodiversity. Local patterns and regional differences in taxonomic and functional diversity were examined in honeycomb worm reefs from ten sites along the northeastern Atlantic to explore variation in diversity across biogeographic regions and the potential effects of environmental drivers. To characterize the functional diversity at each site, a biological trait analysis (BTA) was conducted (Statzner et al., 1994).

Here we present the functional trait database used for the benthic macrofauna found to live in association with honeycomb worm reefs. Eight biological traits (divided into 32 modalities) were selected (Table 1), providing information linked to the ecological functions performed by the associated macrofauna. The selected traits provide information on: (i) resource use and availability (by the trophic group of species, e.g. Thrush et al. 2006); (ii) secondary production and the amount of energy and organic matter (OM) produced based on the life cycle of the organisms (including longevity, maximum size and mode of reproduction, e.g. (Cusson and Bourget, 2005; Thrush et al., 2006) and; (iii) the behavior of the species in general [i.e. how these species occupy the environment and contribute to biogeochemical fluxes through habitat, movement, and bioturbation activity at different bathymetric levels, e.g. (Solan et al., 2004; Thrush et al., 2006; Queirós et al., 2013). Species were scored for each trait modality based on their affinity using a fuzzy coding approach (Chevenet et al., 1994), where multiple modalities can be attributed to a species if appropriate, and allowed for the incorporation of intraspecific variability in trait expression. The information concerning polychaetes was derived primarily from Fauchald et al (1979) and Jumars et al (2015). Information on other taxonomic groups was obtained either from databases of biological traits ( or publications (Naylor, 1972; King, 1974; Caine, 1977; Lincoln, 1979; Holdich and Jones, 1983; Smaldon et al., 1993; Ingle, 1996; San Martín, 2003; Southward, 2008; Gil, 2011; Leblanc et al., 2011; Rumbold et al., 2012; San Martín and Worsfold, 2015; Jones et al., 2018).

Map indicating the locations of the 10 study sites in the UK, France and Portugal within the four biogeographic provinces defined by Dinter (2001). (All sites were sampled in 8 different stations, except for UK4 where 5 stations were sampled).

Licence CC-BY-NC
Utilisation Data are published without any warranty, express or implied. The user assumes all risk arising from his/her use of data. Data are intended to be research-quality and include estimates of data quality and accuracy, but it is possible that these estimates or the data themselves contain errors. It is the sole responsibility of the user to assess if the data are appropriate for his/her use, and to interpret the data, data quality, and data accuracy accordingly. Authors welcome users to ask questions and report problems.
Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Céline Cordier, Mickael Vasquez and Anthony Knights for assistance with field collections. Thank you to Maïwenn Lescop, Gautier Sourimant and Jean-Dominique Gaffet for their help with sorting through reef samples and measuring worms. AM and AC were funded by a PhD grant from Ifremer and the Region Bretagne. This study forms part of the REEHAB (REEf HABitat) project (
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How to cite 

Muller Alexandre, Poitrimol Camille, Nunes Flávia L. D., Curd Amelia, Desroy Nicolas, B. Firth Louise, Bush Laura, Davies Andrew J., Lima Fernando P., Marzloff Martin P., Meneghesso Claudia, Seabra Rui, Dubois Stanislas (2021). Functional traits of benthic marine invertebrates associated with honeycomb worm reefs in Europe. SEANOE.

In addition to properly cite this dataset, it would be appreciated that the following work(s) be cited too, when using this dataset in a publication :

Muller A, Poitrimol C, Nunes FLD, Boye A, Curd A, Desroy N, Firth L, Bush L, Davies AJ, Lima F P, Marzloff MP, Meneghesso C, Dubois S (2021). Musical chairs on temperate reefs: Species turnover and replacement within functional groups explain regional diversity variation in assemblages associated with honeycomb worms. Submitted to Frontiers in Marine Science