Community structure and spatial variability of marine nematodes in tropical Australian pioneer seagrass meadows

Fisher, R., and Sheaves, M.J. (2003) Community structure and spatial variability of marine nematodes in tropical Australian pioneer seagrass meadows. Hydrobiologia, 495 (1-3). pp. 143-158.

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The spatial variability in the community structure of infaunal free-living marine nematodes of pioneer seagrass (Halophilaand Halodule) meadows within a deltaic mangrove estuarine system and a bay mangrove system in tropical north-eastern Australia were examined. Nematode mean densities were intermediate ranging from 609 to 2744 inds./10 cm2. A total of 152 putative species from 94 genera and 22 families were found across the four sites. The communities exhibited a high degree of dominance by Terschellingia longicaudata, Catanema sp 1, Terschellingia sp 2 and Metalinhomoeus insularis. Non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (nMDS) revealed that intra-site variability was low. This was reinforced by 1-way MANOVA, showing no significant inter-station differences between the six most dominant species at each site. The main system difference was reflected by a greater percentage of the Desmodoridae combined with a reduction of the Linhomoeidae in the bay system. At a species level system differences were manifested by a stenohaline, brackish water nematode assemblage in the deltaic system (M. insularis, Terschellingoidessp 1, Pseudolellasp 1) and, by a stenohaline, marine nematode assemblage in the bay system (Catanema sp 1, Spirinia parasitifera, Actinonemasp 1). These communities represent `hotspots' of diversity within a wider, mangrove-influenced depauperate fauna. The high degree of dominance found in each community was countered by moderate diversity and this, combined with the high number and speciation of deposit-feeding species, suggests that nematodes were more abundant in the meadows due to the abundance of microbial food. Notwithstanding the different salinity/CaCO3 regimes, these communities exhibit both intra- and inter-site homogeneity with dominance by a conservative, deep-dwelling guild. The fact that this homogeneity exists suggests that these small-bladed seagrass species may play a greater role (sediment stability, fine particle settlement, organic detritus) in influencing the infaunal nematode community than was previously thought.

Item ID: 4428
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-5117
Keywords: meiofauna; nematodes; seagrass; Terschellingia; tropical architecture; tropical
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2009 01:08
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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