Tropical polychaete community and reef dynamics: Insights from a Malayan Sabellaria (Annelida: Sabellariidae) reef

Gianluca Polgar, Eijiroh Nishi, Izwandy Idris, Chris Glasby

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The ecology of tropical sabellariid reefs is scarcely known, and only few records of such systems were reported from Southeast Asia. The present investigation describes the only documented polychaete reef of western Peninsular Malaysia, which has been previously reported on in two other studies. More recent surveys documented dramatic temporal changes of the reef’s extension and polychaete community composition. This reef appears to experience different phases of growth and destruction, associated with sediment dynamics, possibly determined by monsoons. In the present study, the extent, temporal dynamics and polychaete species composition of the reef are documented from December 2010 to April 2013. Semi-quantitative sampling of the polychaete community in
    selected portions of the reef along the intertidal zone revealed drastic changes in the composition and geomorphic structure of the reef. The reef reached its largest extension in December 2010, when Sabellaria sp. 1 was the primary builder. The tubiculous Polydora cavitensis and Loimia verrucosa dominated the reef at different stages of reef development. A total of 26 polychaete species from 12 families were recorded, including errant and associated species. Eight un-described species were found, plus five new records for an area including the South China Sea, the Malacca Straits and the Andaman Sea, and five new records for the Malay Peninsula only. Hypotheses of the reef cycle, the synecological dynamics, and the abiotic factors triggering the ecological succession are also discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)401-417
    Number of pages17
    JournalRaffles Bulletin of Zoology
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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