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Ecological and metabolic studies on free-living nematodes from an estuarine mud-flat

Warwick, R.M. and Price, R. (1979) Ecological and metabolic studies on free-living nematodes from an estuarine mud-flat. Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science, 9 (3). pp. 257-271.

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Nematodes from a mud-flat in the river Lynher estuary, Cornwall, U.K., have a population density ranging between 8 and 9 × 106 m−2 in the winter months, corresponding to a dry weight of 1·4 and 1·6 g m−2. They reach a peak abundance of 22·86 × 106 m−2 (3·4 g) in May. About 40 species are present, and the species composition remained seasonally stable over the period of study. Analysis of age-structure suggests that the major species have continuous asynchronous reproduction.

Respiration rates of 16 species have been determined at 20 °C using Cartesian diver respirometry. For five species, respiration/body size regressions were obtained in the form log10R = log10a+b log10V, where R = respiration in nl O2 ind−1 h−1 and V = body volume in nl: Mesotheristus setosus (log10a = −0·04,b = 0·74), Sphaerolaimus hirsutus (log10a = 0·11, b = 0·68), Axonolaimus paraspinosus (log10a = 0·00, b = 0·79), Metachromadora vivipara (log10a = −0·59, b = 1·07), Praeacanthonchus punctatus (log10a = 0·00, b = 0·55). For the remaining 11 species, several animals were used in each diver and, by assuming b = 0·75, log10a′ values were calculated: Viscosia viscosa (log10a′ = 0·188), Innocuonema tentabundum (−0·012), Ptycholaimellus ponticus (−0·081), Odontophora setosa (−0·092), Sphaerolaimus balticus (−0·112), Dichromadora cephalata (−0·133), Atrochromadora microlaima (−0·142), Cylindrotheristus normandicus (−0·150), Terschellingialongicaudata (−0·170), Sabatieria pulchra (−0·197), Terschellingia communis (−0·277). These values are compared with recalculated values for other species from the literature.

Annual respiration of the nematode community is 28·01 O2 m−2, equivalent to 11·2 g carbon metabolised. Community respiration is compared with figures from N. American saltmarshes. At 20 °C, a respiration of about 61 O2 m−2 year−1 g−1 wet weight of nematodes appears to be typical. Annual production is estimated to be 6·6 g C m−2. The correlation between feeding-group, body-size, habitat and the repiration rate of individual species is discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Academic Press Inc.
Copyright: © 1979 Published by Elsevier Ltd
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