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Importance of sieve size in deep-sea macrobenthic studies
Pavithran, S.; Ingole, B.; Nanajkar, M.; Goltekar, R. (2009). Importance of sieve size in deep-sea macrobenthic studies. Mar. Biol. Res. 5(4): 391-398
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo. ISSN 1745-1000, more
Peer reviewed article

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Keywords
    Biomass; Density; Diversity; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Pavithran, S.
  • Ingole, B.
  • Nanajkar, M.
  • Goltekar, R.

Abstract
    The deep-sea is well known for high benthic biodiversity despite being a low-food environment. However, most deep-sea organisms are very small in size as an adaptation to food limitation. Macrofauna are generally considered to be organisms larger than 0.5 mm and smaller than 3 cm. However, the smaller body size in the deep sea has led to the use of mesh sizes ranging between 0.25 and 0.5 mm to collect macrofauna, 0.3 and 0.5 mm being the most commonly used mesh sizes for deep-sea sampling. In this study, we tested the effectiveness of sieves of two different mesh sizes (0.3 and 0.5 mm) in assessing macrofaunal diversity, density and biomass. A total of 66 species were obtained with the smaller mesh, while the larger mesh retained only 40 macrofaunal species. Thus, use of larger mesh resulted in the loss of 39% species over the smaller mesh (p=0.0001). However, both sieves yielded high densities of organisms, high species diversity and steep rarefaction curves for nematodes and polychaetes. Using the larger mesh resulted in a significant loss in biomass of 90% and 78% for polychaetes and nematodes, respectively. Vertically in the sediment, faunal density was sampled more effectively with the smaller mesh sieve. Our results show a significant reduction in the number of species, organism density, and biomass of macrofauna with use of a 0.5 mm mesh rather than a 0.3 mm mesh and that a sieve of lower mesh size is more suitable for evaluation of deep-sea macrofauna.

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