Meiobenthic studies were performed in an intertidal area in the Be River estuary (Nha Trang Bay, Vietnam). The study area is an area of riverine-type mangroves that have been heavily damaged by human impacts, including timber cutting and waste. Three biotopes are situated in the middle intertidal zone: a fringe of Rhizophora stylosa, a bush area composed of Avicennia aff. alba behind it, and muddy sand with fiddler crabs (Uca spp.), which is free of mangrove plants. Three replicate samples of meiobenthos were collected in each biotope and each sample was subdivided into two layers: 0–1 and 1–4 cm. The abundance of metazoan meiobenthos varied from 735 specimens/10 cm2 in the Uca spp. biotope to 244 specimens/10 cm2 beneath the Rhizophora trees. Six taxonomic groups of high rank were found among the meiofauna: Nematoda, Copepoda (Harpacticoida), Oligochaeta, Turbellaria, Kinorhyncha, and Foraminifera (Allogromiida). The spatial variability of meiobenthos and its key taxa was estimated and the spatial distribution patterns of free-living nematode species were described. About 90% of the total meiobenthos inhabited the upper 0–1 cm of the sediments. Nematodes constituted 90–95% of all meiobenthic organisms in the samples. A total of 48 species of free-living nematodes were found in the investigated mangrove intertidal area. In terms of species composition and set of dominants, the nematode community is comprised of three local assemblages: one of them inhabits the uppermost centimeter in the Uca and Avicennia biocenoses; the second assemblage occupies the upper sediment layer in the Rhizophora stand; a less abundant but specific assemblage of several nematode species occurs in the subsurface sediments at all three sites.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 21, 2011
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