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Structure and taxonomic composition of subtidal nematode and macrofauna assemblages at four stations around the UK coast

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2004

M. Schratzberger
Affiliation:
The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Lowestoft Laboratory, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HT, UK
P. Whomersley
Affiliation:
The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Burnham Laboratory, Remembrance Avenue, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, CM0 8HA, UK
R. Kilbride
Affiliation:
The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Burnham Laboratory, Remembrance Avenue, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, CM0 8HA, UK
H.L. Rees
Affiliation:
The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Burnham Laboratory, Remembrance Avenue, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, CM0 8HA, UK

Abstract

The diversity and structure of meiobenthic nematodes and macrobenthic infauna were studied at four widely spaced subtidal sites around the UK coast in relation to a number of measured environmental variables. The stations were situated on soft sediments at water depths of 53 to 95 m and are intended as long-term monitoring locations as part of the UK National Marine Monitoring Programme. Similar benthic assemblages were encountered in comparable environmental conditions. The distribution of nematode and macrofauna species was mainly governed by the geographical location of the habitat and the granulometric composition of the substrate. There was no evidence of any adverse effect on the measures of benthic assemblage structure arising from trace metal concentrations in the sediment, indicating the relatively unpolluted nature of the offshore locations under investigation. Nematode and macrofauna assemblages exhibited stable patterns over time periods of three years.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2004 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

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Structure and taxonomic composition of subtidal nematode and macrofauna assemblages at four stations around the UK coast
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