Scientia Marina, Vol 64, No 3 (2000)

Sublittoral meiobenthic assemblages from disturbed and non-disturbed sediments in the Balearics

S. Deudero
Department of Marine Sciences and Coastal Management. University of Newcastle, United Kingdom

M. Vincx
University of Gent, Department of Morphology, Systematics and Ecology, Marine Biology Section, Belgium


Qualitative and quantitative differences in species composition of meiobenthic communities illustrate the differences among various taxonomic assemblages in the Balearic Islands (Western Mediterranean) analysed by means of multivariate analysis. Average densities ranged between 1000 and 4000 ind?10cm-2, and are in the same range as previously reported from other shallow Mediterranean areas. The dominant meiofaunal taxa were Nematoda (range 40 to 75%), Turbellaria (5-47%) and Copepoda (2-14%), while other meiofaunal groups (Tardigrada and Rotifera) were only represented by approximately 5% of the total abundance. The dominant nematode families were Desmodoridae, Chromadoridae and Xyalidae. The meiofaunal communities showed little variation among locations. Moreover, small-scale heterogeneity does not seem to affect nematode distribution as shown by the high similarity between replicates in the multivariate analysis.


meiofauna; community structure; nematode composition; Western Mediterranean

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