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Structural and functional composition of benthic nematode assemblages during a natural recovery process of Zostera noltii seagrass beds
Materatski, P.; Vafeiadou, A.-M.; Moens, T.; Adão, H. (2016). Structural and functional composition of benthic nematode assemblages during a natural recovery process of Zostera noltii seagrass beds. Est. Coast. 39(5): 1478-1490. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12237-016-0086-0
In: Estuaries and Coasts. Estuarine Research Federation: Port Republic, Md.. ISSN 1559-2723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
Author keywords
    Biodiversity; Free-living nematodes; Seagrass recovery; Spatial andtemporal distributions

Authors  Top 
  • Materatski, P.
  • Vafeiadou, A.-M., more
  • Moens, T., more
  • Adão, H.

Abstract
    In 2008, the stable seagrass beds of the Mira estuary (SW Portugal) disappeared completely; however, during 2009, they have begun to present early symptoms of natural recovery, characterised by a strongly heterogeneous distribution. This study was designed to investigate the spatial and temporal variability patterns of species composition, densities and trophic composition of the benthic nematode assemblages in this early recovery process, at two sampling sites with three stations each and at five sampling occasions. Because of the erratic and highly patchy seagrass recovery and the high environmental similarity of the two sampling sites, we expected within-site variability in nematode assemblages to exceed between-site variability. However, contrary to that expectation, whilst nematode genus composition was broadly similar between sites, nematode densities differed significantly between sites, and this between-site variability exceeded within-site variability. This may be linked to differences in the Zostera recovery patterns between both sites. In addition, no clear temporal patterns of nematode density, trophic composition and diversity were evident. Nematode assemblages generally resembled those of other estuarine muddy intertidal areas, which have a high tolerance of stress conditions.

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