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Habitat heterogeneity effects on macro- and meiofauna (especially nematodes) in Punta Francés coral reef (SW Cuban Archipelago)
Armenteros, M.; Ruiz-Abierno, A.; Sosa, Y.; Pérez-García, J.A. (2012). Habitat heterogeneity effects on macro- and meiofauna (especially nematodes) in Punta Francés coral reef (SW Cuban Archipelago). Rev. Invest. Mar. 32(1): 50-61
In: Revista de investigaciones marinas. Universidad de La Habana, Centro de investigaciones: La Habana. ISSN 0252-1962; e-ISSN 1991-6086, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Nematoda [WoRMS]
    Marine/Coastal
Author keywords
    Biological traits; Caribbean Sea; coral reefs; distribution; diversity; macrofauna; meiofauna; nematodes

Authors  Top 
  • Armenteros, M., more
  • Ruiz-Abierno, A.
  • Sosa, Y.
  • Pérez-García, J.A.

Abstract
    Benthic macrofauna and meiofauna distribution patterns were described in a tropical coral reef (Punta Francés, Cuban Archipelago, Caribbean Sea). Density and main taxa composition for macrofauna and meiofauna and species diversity and organismal traits for free-living nematodes were compared among four habitats: seagrass bed, sand flat, dead coral and hard bottom. Strong spatial patterns of distribution across habitats were detected and explained by a complex combination of habitat features. Signal/noise ratio for macrofauna data of distribution was enough strong to detect changes across habitats but the sizes of sampling devices were not adequate to represent the real patterns in the nature. Meiofauna patterns of distribution were driven by the type of substrate (unconsolidated versus hard bottoms) which surely was in turn dependent of the hydrodynamic regime. Nematodes dominated in seagrass beds and copepods in the other three habitats. Nematode density of species and individuals and species richness were highest in unconsolidated habitats maybe due to higher physical stability, larger spatial niche and more food resource availability. Diversity variation was large and similar between pairs of habitats with the exception of the hard bottom habitat which had lower differentiation. Most of the nematodes living in hard substrates showed adaptive organismal traits to cope with hydrodynamic regime and food availability (biofilm/algal turf), namely small and stout body, teeth for epigrazing, ornamented cuticle and cephalic capsule. Physical control on nematode assemblages was evident but biotic interactions may play a more important role in seagrass beds and sand flats compared to hard substrate habitats. The species diversity of nematodes, both in terms of α- and β-diversity, was high at the scale of the whole Punta Francés coral reef.

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