Marine biodiversity and its distribution in the New Zealand region were determined using historical data for an appropriate indicator taxon, the Bryozoa. Bryozoans were identified as belonging to three communities, termed Intertidal/Shelf/Slope (ISS) and Deep-Sea 1 and 2 (DS1 and DS2). Biodiversity was assessed using measures based on relatedness of species, average taxonomic distinctness and variation in taxonomic distinctness. High values of biodiversity for the ISS community are particularly concentrated at both ends of two main islands of New Zealand; the biogenic substratum of the Three Kings Plateau and Foveaux Strait. High values of biodiversity for the DS1 community were primarily located on the seamounts of the northern edge of the Chatham Rise. Values of biodiversity for stations comprising the DS2 community were generally low. The relationship between bryozoan community composition/ biodiversity and depth suggested that habitat availability/heterogeneity, sedimentary perturbation and primary productivity could be evoked to explain the pattern of biodiversity observed. The results of the study indicate particular areas of the shelf and deep-sea environment that could be protected in order to conserve New Zealand's marine biodiversity
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