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The importance of biological interactions for the vertical distribution of nematodes in a temperate ultra-dissipative sandy beach
Maria, T.F.; Vanaverbeke, J.; Esteves, A.M.; De Troch, M.; Vanreusel, A. (2012). The importance of biological interactions for the vertical distribution of nematodes in a temperate ultra-dissipative sandy beach. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 97: 114-126.
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714; e-ISSN 1096-0015, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 279150 [ OMA ]

Author keywords
    macrofauna; meiofauna; vertical distribution; stable isotopes;competition; predation

Authors  Top 
  • Maria, T.F., more
  • Vanaverbeke, J., more
  • Esteves, A.M.
  • De Troch, M., more
  • Vanreusel, A., more

    This study of the vertical distribution of nematode communities in an ultra-dissipative sandy beach on the North Sea coast at De Panne, Belgium showed species-specific vertical migrations occurred over a tidal cycle. During the period of submersion, smaller deposit feeders were dominant at the subsurface, whereas large nematodes (originally classified as predators) were concentrated at the surface. The interstitial water content showed a weak correlation to the observed patterns and biological interactions among nematodes, such as predation and competition, which were measured through stable isotopes, also explained the observed segregation. The predator Enoplolaimus litoralis and its potential prey species did not co-exist in the same part of the sediment, suggesting avoidance of predation by prey species. In addition, the different prey species inhabited different subsurface layers, which can be explained by avoidance of competition for food. Stable isotope signatures further showed that the two major biological components of sandy beaches (macrofauna and meiofauna, including some species assumed to be predators) partly depend on microphytobenthos, demonstrating the importance of in situ primary producers in the diet of the fauna from ultra-dissipative sandy beaches. However, meiofauna and macrofauna do not seem to compete for these food sources. The combined examination of environmental and biological factors revealed the additional importance of the latter in controlling the vertical distribution of nematodes in environments that were previously assumed to be mainly physically controlled.

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