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Sediment-related distribution patterns of nematodes and macrofauna: Two sides of the benthic coin?
Vanaverbeke, J.; Merckx, B.; Degraer, S.; Vincx, M. (2011). Sediment-related distribution patterns of nematodes and macrofauna: Two sides of the benthic coin? Mar. Environ. Res. 71(1): 31-40.
In: Marine Environmental Research. Applied Science Publishers: Barking. ISSN 0141-1136; e-ISSN 1879-0291, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Nematodes; Macrobenthos; Biogeochemistry; Spatial distribution

Auteurs  Top 
  • Vanaverbeke, J.
  • Merckx, B.
  • Degraer, S.
  • Vincx, M.

    We investigated the sediment-related distribution of both nematodes and macrofauna on the Belgian part of the North Sea (Southern Bight of the North Sea) in order to evaluate whether both faunal groups reflect similar patterns in community composition and diversity. Fine-grained sediments (median grain size <200 µm) were inhabited by nematode communities characterised by a low diversity and dominated by non-selective deposit-feeding nematodes. Nematode communities from coarser sediments were significantly different in terms of community composition and diversity. Moreover, all nematode feeding types were present in coarser sediments. These differences were explained by the contrasting biogeochemical processes prevailing in both sediment types, rather than granulometry and food availability per se. Macrofaunal distribution patterns were different from those of the nematode communities and seem to be related to water column processes (SPM loading, food availability, hydrodynamic stress) that promote the establishment of diverse communities in the coarser sediments but not in the finest sediments. This suggests that data on nematodes and macrofauna reveal different, complementary aspects of the factors structuring the benthic ecosystem that can be of importance in assessing the ecological status of the seafloor.

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