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The role of Ostracoda in saltmarsh meiofaunal communities
Horne, D.J.; Boomer, I. (2000). The role of Ostracoda in saltmarsh meiofaunal communities, in: Sherwood, B.R. et al. (Ed.) British saltmarshes. pp. 182-202
In: Sherwood, B.R.; Gardiner, B.G.; Harris, T. (Ed.) (2000). British saltmarshes. Forrest Text: Ceredigion. ISBN 0-95062-076-9. 418 pp., more

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  • Horne, D.J., more
  • Boomer, I.

    The Ostracoda are small crustaceans (generally 0.3-1.5 mm long) characterised by a dorsally hinged bivalved carapace enclosing the body and limbs, from which appendages are protruded for locomotion, feeding and reproduction. They inhabit a wide range of marine and non-marine environments; of approximately 120 shallow marine and brackish-water species found in Britain, fewer than 10 are commonly associated with saltmarshes, where faunas are typically of low diversity/high abundance. Although ostracods are often subordinate to other meiofauna such as nematodes, copepods and foraminifera (testate protists), they sometimes achieve very high population densities. Ostracods and foraminifera are the only meiofaunal groups which are readily preserved as fossils and are thus valuable in establishing the long term history of saltmarsh environments. Ostracod distribution is limited to lower saltmarsh, drainage channels, tidal creeks and upper saltmarsh saltpans; they survive temporary emergence in the protection of wet mud or algae. In contrast, some foraminifera are capable of withstanding sustained emergence and show a faunal zonation related to tidal level. Ostracod species distribution is controlled primarily by salinity variation, temperature, oxygen availability and substrate type. We review the reproductive and dispersal strategies, ecology and life cycles of British saltmarsh ostracod species and discuss their role in the trophic structure of meiofaunal communities.

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