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Microphytobenthic patches and their influence on meiofaunal distribution
Santos, P.J.P.; Castel, J.; Souza-Santos, L.P. (1995). Microphytobenthic patches and their influence on meiofaunal distribution. Cah. Biol. Mar. 36(2): 133-139
In: Cahiers de Biologie Marine. Station Biologique de Roscoff: Paris. ISSN 0007-9723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Santos, P.J.P., more
  • Castel, J.
  • Souza-Santos, L.P.

    Sampling was undertaken In an oligo-mesohaline area of the Gironde estuary (France) to investigate both if visually determined coloured patches at the sediment surface could be related to dense microphytobenthic populations and if these patches had a significant influence on meiofaunal distributions. Results clearly indicate that coloured patches are good indicators of higher sediment chlorophyll-a concentration, mainly due to vertically migrating pennate diatoms. Evidence of a significant effect of microphytobenthos patches over meiofaunal density was supported for the harpacticoid copepods Microarthridion littorale (attracted by the patches) and Nannopus palustris (lower densities within patches). Results from a distance test (3h after the formation of the patches) demonstrate that both nematodes and Microarthridion littorale, were attracted to patches within a radius of approximately 4 cm. Pigment analysis of copepod gut content and measurements of gut passage time for Microarthridion littorale indicated that animals inside patches exhibited higher feeding rates. This result was consistent with the density data and together with the background chlorophyll-a concentration clarifies previously conflicting literature.

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