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The influence of Atrina zelandica Gray on meiobenthic nematode diversity and community structure

Warwick, R.M., McEvoy, A.J. and Thrush, S.F. (1997) The influence of Atrina zelandica Gray on meiobenthic nematode diversity and community structure. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 214 (1-2). pp. 231-247.

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The influence of the large suspension feeding horse mussel Atrina zelandica Gray on meiobenthic diversity and community structure has been studied at two sites in New Zealand where Atrina beds form discrete patches. Community attributes inside (IN samples) and outside the beds (OUT samples) in the bare sediment have been compared. At both a sheltered muddy harbour site and a more exposed coastal sandy site, significant effects were found. These were stronger, however, at the sheltered site: The presence of Atrina resulted in (i) a greater reduction in several univariate measures (including Shannon diversity), (ii) more pronounced changes in the form of κ-dominance curves, (iii) greater differences in species composition as revealed by the R-statistic of ANOSIM, (iv) a higher value for average Bray Curtis dissimilarity between IN and OUT samples and, finally, (v) greater variability among the IN samples compared with the OUT samples as measured by the Index of Multivariate Dispersion. Variations in density of different nematode functional groups indicate that the detrimental effects of Atrina on meiobenthic biodiversity may be attributed to its activity (production of biodeposits) and physical presence, resulting in reduced oxygen concentrations in the sediment. At the exposed coastal sandy site, the mussels were older and probably produced less biodeposits per unit biomass, and also the wave-induced flows over the bed are more likely to result in sediment mixing, which will tend to blur local effects.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 1997 Published by Elsevier B.V.
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