Hyeong-Gi Kima,1, Sung Joon Songa,1, Heegab Leeb, Chan Hong Parkb, Stephen J. Hawkinsc,d, Jong Seong Khima,*, Hyun Soo Rhob,*
aSchool of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Research Institute of Oceanography, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Republic of Korea
bKorea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Gyeongbuk 36315, Republic of Korea
cOcean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, University of Southampton, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK
dMarine Biological Association of the UK, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
1These authors contributed equally to this work.
Dokdo's high marine biodiversity has received worldwide attention recently. A total of 578 macrozoobenthos are recorded since the 1960s, but ecology of Dokdo's fauna is unknown. We monitored Dokdo's subtidal macrozoobenthos for 5 years in 2013–17, in the present study. Five stations representing three subtidal habitats were monitored; 1) oceanic plateau, 2) coastal terrace, and 3) island wharf. In total, 13,664 individuals belonging to 141 taxa were recorded during the survey. The number of species and density varied greatly among stations without distinct year-round variation. Faunal compositions significantly differed in time and space, reflecting varied faunal adaptations in a harsh environment. Whilst, temporal stability in faunal assemblages was evidenced for some dominant or cosmopolitan taxa. High spatial heterogeneity reflects site-specific oceanographic conditions. Meantime, sea-surface temperature and wave action were associated with year-round faunal compositions. Overall, the Dokdo's macrozoobenthos significantly contribute to marine biodiversity of the East Sea.