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Composition and time-space distribution of vagile meiofauna in the marine cave "Il Ciolo" (SE Italy, Mediterranean Sea)
Martinez Valente, S.M. (2011). Composition and time-space distribution of vagile meiofauna in the marine cave "Il Ciolo" (SE Italy, Mediterranean Sea). MSc Thesis. University of Salento. Laboratory of Zoogeography and Fauna: Lecce. 29 pp.

Thesis info:

Available in Author 
    VLIZ: Non-open access 227050
Document type: Dissertation

Keywords
    Artificial substrata; Caves; Distribution; Meiofauna; MED, Mediterranean [gazetteer]; Marine
Author keywords
    Meiofaunal assemblages; composition; distribution patterns; artificial substrates; marine cave; Mediterranean Sea

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  • Martinez Valente, S.M.

Abstract
    The knowledge of the composition and patterns of distribution of vagile meiofauna assemblages from hard bottom substrates are still scarce and practically inexistent from marine caves. Artificial substrates were used to investigate the vagile meiofauna assemblages of the marine cave “Grotta di Ciolo”, in the Salento Peninsula (SE Italy), in order to evaluate temporal and spatial patterns related to different immersion periods and to obtain a first insight on the community composition. Baked-plates were deployed in two time series, March and October 2002, at three positions: at the entrance and at 20m and 80m from the entrance. After 1, 6, 12 and 24 months a total panel surface of 30x45x1cm was removed. The assemblages comprised a total of 75 taxa. Harpacticoida copepods, Nematoda and Foraminifera were the most abundant meiofaunal taxa. The assemblages from the first sampling time and the entrance position were the most distinct. This suggests a high colonization capacity of the meiofauna assemblages through passive and active transportation and their relationship with the presence of algae that offers a more complex habitat, refuge against predators and trophic source. The assemblages from both series converge towards assemblages characterized by similar taxa after 6 months suggesting to be the required sampling time. The patterns of distribution of the vagile meiofauna assemblages suggested to be related mainly with environmental constrains, the complexity of the artificial substrates and their dispersal capabilities. However, the number of taxa and abundances at the three positions were not clearly distinguishable after 24 months. An improvement on the taxonomical identification and a more effective capture method surely will help in a more detailed individualism of the differences.

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