This paper presents data on the taxonomic composition and dynamics of numerical density of meroplankton in the Sea of Azov. Studies performed in June 2003–2005 revealed benthic invertebrate larvae of 26 taxa: Polychaeta, 7; Cirripedia, 1; Decapoda, 5; Gastropoda, 5; and Bivalvia, 8. Meroplankton was dominated by larvae of species that are able to endure considerable concentrations of pollution by labile sulfides in bottom sediments and eutrophication: Mytilaster lineatus, Cerastoderma sp., Abra ovata (Philippi), Hydrobia acuta (Gastropoda), and Amphibalanus improvisus (Cirripedia). The spatial and temporal variations in the structure of dominant species and numerical abundance of meroplankton in the Sea of Azov are likely to be associated with water temperature fluctuations, pelagic predators, and eutrophication. Under anthropogenic stress and predation pressure, most larvae of benthic invertebrates are apparently unable to complete metamorphosis and contribute to recruitment to parental populations. Thus, the numerical density of meroplankton in the Sea of Azov can significantly vary, even over one month.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 8, 2008
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