Scientia Marina, Vol 72, No 1 (2008)

Meiofauna and nematode diversity in some Mediterranean subtidal areas of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea

Cristiana de Leonardis
Department of Zoology, University of Bari, Italy

Roberto Sandulli
Department of Zoology, University of Bari, Italy

Jan Vanaverbeke
Marine Biology Section, Ghent University, Belgium

Magda Vicx
Marine Biology Section, Ghent University, Belgium

Susanna de Zio
Department of Zoology, University of Bari, Italy


Sediments of three different subtidal areas (15-705 m depth) of the Italian coasts (Manfredonia, Brindisi and Gallipoli) were investigated to study meiofauna and nematode composition. The nematodes were identified to the genus level and their abundances compared using multivariate analysis. Our data showed an evident depth gradient in meiofauna abundance: the shallowest sites had more diverse and abundant meiobenthic communities than the deeper ones. Nematodes were the dominant taxon (83-100%) at all sites, followed by Copepoda (0.5-8%). Sabatieria, Astomonema, Dorylaimopsis, Terschellingia and Daptonema were among the dominant nematode genera in the three areas. Nematode genus H’ diversities were not significantly dissimilar, though at community level some differences were detected among the study areas. The greatest differences were observed in the comparison of the communities from Manfredonia and Gallipoli. Furthermore, there was a difference between shallow (<200 m) and deep sites due to high differential abundances of common genera, i.e. Astomonema, Dorylaimopsis, Sabatieria and Terschellingia.


meiobenthos; nematodes; community structure; subtidal area; Mediterranean Sea

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