|Meiofauna and harpacticoid copepods in different habitats of a Mediterranean seagrass meadow|Mascart, T.; Lepoint, G.; De Troch, M. (2013). Meiofauna and harpacticoid copepods in different habitats of a Mediterranean seagrass meadow. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 93(6): 1557-1566. dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0025315413000222
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154, more
Harpacticoida [WoRMS]; Posidonia oceanica (Linnaeus) Delile, 1813 [WoRMS]; Marine
meiofauna; harpacticoid copepods; seagrass; detritus; Posidoniaoceanica; stable isotopes
This study investigated whether associated meiobenthic communities, especially harpacticoid copepods, differed amongst habitats. Five pre-defined habitats within and next to the Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadow were sampled: living seagrass canopy leaves (LL), small (SMF) and large (LMF) macrophytodetritus fragment accumulations and sand, bare (BS) and covered (CS). The highest meiofauna abundances were recorded in the BS for the core sampled habitats (BS, CS, SMF and LMF) and in the LMF for seagrass material habitats (SMF, LMF and LL). Harpacticoid copepods were the most abundant taxon in all habitats. The assemblage composition at copepod family level showed two distinct habitats clusters: a leaf (LMF and LL) and a sediment cluster (BS, CS and SMF). Subsequently, stable isotope analyses were conducted to analyse the relationship between copepods and their potential food sources in seagrass material habitats. Based on d13C isotopic analyses and SIAR mixing model, harpacticoid copepods relied for 70% on epiphytes and for 30% on P. oceanica leaf material in the LMF and LL habitats.