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Spatial and temporal variations of meiofaunal communities from the western sector of the Gulf of Batabanó, Cuba: II. Seagrass systems
Armenteros, M.; Williams, J.P.; Creagh, B.; Capetillo, N. (2008). Spatial and temporal variations of meiofaunal communities from the western sector of the Gulf of Batabanó, Cuba: II. Seagrass systems. Rev. Biol. Trop. 56(1): 55-63
In: Revista de Biología Tropical. Universidad de Costa Rica: San Jose. ISSN 0034-7744, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Meiofauna; Seagrass; Spatial distribution; Alismatidae; Metazoa; Rhizophora mangle L. [WoRMS]; Rhizophoraceae [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Armenteros, M., more
  • Williams, J.P.
  • Creagh, B.
  • Capetillo, N.

    The spatial and temporal variations of meiofaunal communities in mangrove systems were examined. Replicated cores were taken in mudflats between prop roots of Rhizophora mangle at five locations within the Gulf of Batabanó, Cuba, during 3 mo. There was a clear seasonality in the water column, but measured abiotic variables did not show obvious relations with meiofaunal patterns. The magnitude of change in salinity for each location appears to influence the meiofauna more than absolute values per se. The meiofauna from southern Pinar del Rí­o showed a higher variation in community structure, suggesting higher levels of stress in comparison with locations in eastern Isla, possibly due to the presence of human settlements, runoff from land, and apparent deterioration of mangroves. The considerable variation in the density and community structure estimates on global (geographical regions) and local (locations in the Gulf of Batabanó) scales could be caused by the high spatial variability in the mangrove microenvironment, coupled with associated methodological differences in the sampling. There was a low density of meiofauna (mean: 101 animals 10 cm-2) compared to other shallow tropical habitats. Mangroves from subtropical and temperate regions showed consistently higher meiofaunal densities than tropical mangroves, but causes of this putatively latitudinal pattern require further study. Future strategies for meiofaunal studies in mangrove systems should increase the temporal and spatial replication, include designed field experiments to test ecological hypotheses, and apply a species level approach with regards to nematode assemblages.

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