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Polychaetes associated to a Cymodocea nodosa meadow in the Canary Islands: assemblage structure, temporal variability and vertical distribution compared to other Mediterranean seagrass meadows
Brito, M.C.; Martín, D.; Núñez, J. (2005). Polychaetes associated to a Cymodocea nodosa meadow in the Canary Islands: assemblage structure, temporal variability and vertical distribution compared to other Mediterranean seagrass meadows. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 146(3): 467-481. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-004-1460-1
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Brito, M.C.
  • Martín, D.
  • Núñez, J.

Abstract
    The structure, diversity and temporal distribution of the infaunal polychaetes associated with Cymodocea nodosa meadows were studied in Tenerife (Canary Islands). The samples were collected monthly throughout a year, to depths of 13–16 m. The sediment was extracted by means of PVC cores, in which four layers were separated (i.e. 0–5 cm, 5–10 cm, 10–20 cm and 20–30 cm). A total of 1,167 polychaete specimens, belonging to 69 taxa were collected, representing one of the most dominant groups in the benthic assemblage throughout the entire year. The most common families were Syllidae, Paraonidae and Spionidae, both in terms of abundance and species richness. The dominant species were Streptosyllis bidentata, Aricidea assimilis and Exogone parahomoseta mediterranea, representing also the only constant species throughout the year. The highest values of species richness, diversity, equitability and abundance of polychaetes occurred in September. The multifactorial analysis of abundances (i.e. cluster analysis and non-metric, multi-dimensional scaling) indicated temporal segregation of the samples from July, August and September (i.e. the warmest months) with respect to those from the rest of the year, due to structural differences in the assemblage. Polychaete species have been found to a depth of up to 30 cm in the sediment. Nevertheless, most of them (89%) occurred in the upper 5 cm of the sediment, with an increase of specimens in deeper layers in February (i.e. due to sporadic episodes of higher hydrodynamics). To compare the vertical distribution of polychaetes, additional core samples were collected in two seagrass meadows (i.e. C. nodosa and Ruppia cirrhosa) at Ebro’s Delta (NW Mediterranean); these were separated into five layers (i.e. 0–5 cm, 5–10 cm, 10–15 cm, 15–20 cm, 20–25 cm). The results obtained for the R. cirrhosa meadow (98% of the polychaetes within the upper 5 cm) agree with those for the Canarian C. nodosa meadow, while the polychaetes reached up to 15 cm depth in the Mediterranean C. nodosa meadow (i.e. ~39% between 0 and 5 cm, ~41% between 5 and 10 cm, ~20% between 10 and 15 cm). Our results indicated that the structural characteristics of the assemblages appeared to be more strongly controlled by the combined characteristics of the sediment (i.e. lack of oxygen, granulometry and degree of compaction) than by the seagrass species building the meadow.

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