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Biodiversity patterns of free-living marine nematodes in a tropical bay: Cienfuegos, Caribbean Sea
Armenteros, M.; Ruiz-Abierno, A.; Fernandez-Garces, R.; Perez-Garcia, J.A.; Diaz-Asencio, L.; Vincx, M.; Decraemer, W. (2009). Biodiversity patterns of free-living marine nematodes in a tropical bay: Cienfuegos, Caribbean Sea. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 85(2): 179-189.
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714; e-ISSN 1096-0015, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    nematodes; meiobenthos; tropical environment; marine ecology; species

Auteurs  Top 
  • Armenteros, M.
  • Ruiz-Abierno, A.
  • Fernandez-Garces, R.
  • Perez-Garcia, J.A.
  • Diaz-Asencio, L.
  • Vincx, M.
  • Decraemer, W.

    Spatial and temporal biodiversity patterns of free-living marine nematodes were studied in Cienfuegos Bay, a tropical semi-enclosed basin in the Caribbean Sea. Taxonomic (to species level) and functional (biological trait) approaches were applied for describing the assemblage structure and relating it to abiotic environment based on a sampling scheme in six subtidal stations and three months. Biological trait approach added relevant information to species pattern regarding relationships between diversity patterns and the abiotic environment. The most common morphotypes were deposit feeding nematodes, with colonising abilities of 2-3 (in a scale from 1 to 5), tail conical cylindrical or filiforme and body slender; and their abundance were correlated with depth, organic matter and silt/clay fraction. In spite of a high turnover of species, functional diversity of assemblages did not change notably in space and time. A result probably due to sampling of the habitat pool of species and to low heterogeneity of the studied muddy bottoms. Chemical pollution (organic enrichment and heavy metals) and hydrodynamic regime possibly drove the biodiversity patterns. Spatial distribution of assemblages support the existence of two well differentiated basins inside the bay, the northern basin more polluted than the southern one. The low hydrodynamic regime would determine a poor dispersion of nematodes resulting in high spatial variance in the assemblage structure; and also the associated hypoxic conditions and pollutants in sediments can explain the dominance of tolerant nematode species such as Daptonema oxycerca, Sabatieria pulchra, Terschellingia gourbaultae, and Terschellingia longicaudata. A comparison of spatial-temporal patterns of biodiversity between Cienfuegos Bay and other semi-enclosed bays in temperate regions suggests several similarities: nematode assemblages are strongly influenced by anthropogenic disturbance, temporal trends are weak or overridden by spatial ones, and few cosmopolitan genera/species tolerant to pollution and hypoxic conditions are dominant.

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