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Soft sediment meiofaunal community structure in relation to a long-term heavy metal gradient in the Fal estuary system

Somerfield, P.J., Gee, J.M. and Warwick, R.M. (1994) Soft sediment meiofaunal community structure in relation to a long-term heavy metal gradient in the Fal estuary system. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 105 . pp. 79-88.

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Abstract

The Fal estuary system, southwest England, is an ideal site for a natural experiment on the effects of long-term contamination by heavy metals on intertidal mudflat meiofauna communities. Five creeks were chosen in which sediment concentrations of heavy metals differed by orders of magnitude, namely Restronguet (mean Cu concentration 2532 µg g-1), Mylqr (1272 µg g-1), Pill (697 µg g-1), St Just in Roseland (332 µg g-1) and Percuil (165 µg g-1). Univariate and multivariate analyses of the meiofaunal community structure in these creeks suggest that nematodes are more responsive to sediment heavy metal concentrations than copepods, as indices of diversity and changes in nematode community structure as revealed by multivariate analyses were closely correlated with metal levels For copepods differences could only be detected in Restronguet creek, where endobenthic species were absent. Analyses suggest that some nematode species may have developed different tolerance mechanisms for survival in areas with high heavy metal concentrations.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Inter-Research
Copyright: © 1994 Inter-Research.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/23355
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