|Microhabitat type determines the composition of nematode communities associated with sediment-clogged cold-water coral framework in the Porcupine Seabight (NE Atlantic)|Raes, M.; Vanreusel, A. (2006). Microhabitat type determines the composition of nematode communities associated with sediment-clogged cold-water coral framework in the Porcupine Seabight (NE Atlantic). Deep-Sea Res., Part 1, Oceanogr. Res. Pap. 53(12): 1880-1894. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2006.08.012
In: Deep-Sea Research, Part I. Oceanographic Research Papers. Elsevier: Oxford. ISSN 0967-0637, more
Biodiversity; Community composition; Meiobenthos; Microhabitats; Nematoda [WoRMS]; ANE, North East Atlantic [Marine Regions]; ANE, Porcupine Seabight [Marine Regions]; Marine
cold-water corals; meiobenthos; nematodes; community composition; microhabitats; biodiversity; North-East Atlantic; Porcupine Seabight
The nematofauna associated with a cold-water coral degradation zone in the Porcupine Seabight (NE Atlantic) was investigated. This is the first comprehensive study of nematodes associated with cold-water corals. This research mainly aimed to investigate the influence of microhabitat type on nematode community structure. Three distinct microhabitats for nematodes were distinguished: dead coral fragments, glass sponge skeletons and the underlying sediment. The nematode assemblages associated with these three microhabitats were significantly different from each other. Coral and sponge substrata lie relatively unprotected on the seafloor and are consequently more subjected to strong currents than the underlying sediment. As a result, both large biogenic substrata were characterized by higher abundances of taxa that are less vulnerable and more adapted to physical disturbance, whereas the underlying sediment yielded more slender, sedimentdwelling taxa. Typically epifaunal taxa, such as Epsilonematidae and Draconematidae, were especially abundant on dead coral fragments, where they are thought to feed on the microbial biofilm which covers the coral surface. Several epifaunal genera showed significant preferences for this microhabitat, and Epsilonema (Epsilonematidae) was dominant here. Sponge skeletons are thought to act as efficient sediment traps, resulting in a lower abundance of epifaunal taxa compared to coral fragments. The underlying sediment was dominated by taxa typical for slope sediments. The considerable degree of overlap between the communities of each microhabitat is attributed to sediment infill between the coral branches and sponge spicules. It is assumed that the nematofauna associated with large biogenic substrata is composed of a typical sedimentdwelling background community, supplemented with taxa adapted to an epifaunal life strategy. The extent to which these taxa contribute to the community depends on the type of the substratum. Selective deposit feeders were dominant on sponge skeletons and in the underlying sediment, whereas coral fragments were dominated by epistratum feeders. The presence of a microbial biofilm on the coral fragments is proposed as an explanation for the significant preference of epistratum feeders for this microhabitat. Densities in the underlying sediment were low in comparison with other studies, but biodiversity was higher here than on the coral and sponge fragments, a difference which is attributed to lower disturbance. Nevertheless, the large biogenic substrata provide a microhabitat for rare, epifaunal taxa, and fragments of both substrata within the sediment increase habitat complexity and hence biodiversity.
- Nematoda from the Porcupine Seabight, more