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Effects of organic enrichment on meiofaunal abundance and community structure in sublittoral soft sediments

Gee, J.M., Warwick, R.M., Schaanning, M., Berge, J.A. and Ambrose, W.G. (1985) Effects of organic enrichment on meiofaunal abundance and community structure in sublittoral soft sediments. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 91 (3). pp. 247-262.

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In experimental mesocosms established at Solbergstrand, Oslofjord, Norway, organic enrichment was effected by the addition of powdered Ascophyllum nodosum (L.) Le Jol., in quantities equivalent to 50gC·m−2 and 200gC·m−2, to boxes of sublittoral soft sediment. After 56 days, the structure of the meiofaunal communities in these treatments was compared with that of the control boxes. At this time the meiofaunal communites at each level of organic enrichment were markedly different from each other and from that in the control sediment. The responses of the two major components of the meiofauna, however, were different. Although the abundance of nematodes was slightly reduced in the high dose treatment this was not accompanied by detectable changes in community structure. Harpacticoid copepods, on the other hand, increased significantly in abundance in the treatment boxes and showed a general trend towards increased dominance and decreased diversity with increasing levels of organic enrichment, although in the low dose treatment there was also an increase in the number of species present. It is also shown that the nematode/copepod ratio is unreliable as a biomonitoring tool and it is suggested that the differential responses in community structure between the nematode and copepod components of the meiofauna might be a better indication of stress at the community level.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier BV
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