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

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).




55.509296N, 38.0385S, -0.351563E, -11.601563W


10 KoTEXTQuality controlled data
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 Alexandre, Poitrimol Camille, Nunes Flavia, Boye Aurelien, Curd Amelia, Desroy Nicolas, Firth Louise B, Bush Laura, Davies Andrew J, Lima Fernando P, Marzloff Martin, Meneghesso Claudia, Seabra Rui, Dubois Stanislas (2021). Musical Chairs on Temperate Reefs: Species Turnover and Replacement Within Functional Groups Explain Regional Diversity Variation in Assemblages Associated With Honeycomb Worms. Frontiers In Marine Science. 8 (654141). 18p..,

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