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Comparison of univariate and multivariate aspects of estuarine meiobenthic community structure

Austen, M.C. and Warwick, R.M. (1989) Comparison of univariate and multivariate aspects of estuarine meiobenthic community structure. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 29 (1). pp. 23-42.

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In a survey of ten sites in the Tamar estuary in January 1984, spatial variability in the species composition and structure of nematode and copepod species assemblages was greater between sites over a range of 1–3 km than between replicates at the same site. Two aspects of meiofauna community structure were studied: (1) the multivariate information: the identities of the species or nematode feeding types are retained and used integrally with data on abundances during comparison of assemblages using multivariate analyses [multidimensional scaling ordination (MDS)] and (2) the univariate information: taxonomic identity is not retained during comparisons of assemblage structure; data analyzed includes numberical abundances, species counts and diversity. Multivariate aspects of species assemblage structure were closely correlated with salinity for both copepods and nematodes. For nematode assemblages sediment disturbance may also have been important and other unidentified factors have clear secondary effects on multivariate copepod assemblage structure. Univariate aspects of nematode assemblage structure did not appear to be correlated with the salinity gradient in the Tamar, sites at the mouth and head of the estuary had a more even nematode species distribution than those in the middle reaches. Nematode univariate assemblage structure may have been more strongly influenced by sediment disturbance caused by hydrographic processes, macrofauna, food resource availability or some combination of all three. Copepod abundances and species numbers were variable but assemblages became more dominated and less diverse with increasing distance away from the mouth of the estuary. Data from 1984 were compared with data from 1982 collected at three of the sites by Warwick and Gee (1984). Persistence of assemblage structure varied from site to site and according to the attribute of community structure under consideration.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Academic Press
Copyright: © 1989 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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