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Copepod assemblages as a bioindicator of environmental quality in three coastal areas under contrasted anthropogenic inputs (Gulf of Gabes, Tunisia)

  • Zaher Drira (a1), Salma Kmiha-Megdiche (a1), Houda Sahnoun (a2), Marc Tedetti (a3), Marc Pagano (a3) and Habib Ayadi (a1)...

The study of copepod assemblages indicated the presence of 22 species and 12 families in the southern coast of Sfax, 20 species and 13 families in the northern coast and 14 species and 8 families in the Ghannouch area, with a dominance of Oithonidae (79, 51 and 43% in the southern, northern and Ghannouch coasts, respectively). The relative abundance and the richness diversity of Oithonidae were found to be the most relevant indicators of anthropogenic pollution. Oithona nana, Euterpina acutifrons and Acartia clausi differed significantly in abundance between these three areas under differing degrees of pollution. The study of the structure, composition and density of the copepod fauna showed that the southern coast was a pollution-resistant ecosystem (H′ = 1.49 ± 0.33 bits ind−1; 22 species; density = 51.375 ± 4.340 × 103 ind m−3) followed by Ghannouch area (H′ = 1.74 ± 0.28 bits ind−1; 15 species; density = 11.979 ± 5.651 × 103 ind m−3) and the northern coast, considered as a restored area (H′ = 1.95 ± 0.26 bits ind−1; 21 species; density = 6.516 ± 4.304 × 103 ind m−3). The three ecosystems can thus be classified according to their degree of resistance to the anthropogenic inputs based on the results of the physico-chemical parameters and the species diversity as follows: southern coast > Ghannouch area > northern coast.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Z. Drira Department of Life Sciences, Sfax Faculty of Sciences, Biodiversity and Aquatic Ecosystems UR/11ES72 Research Unit, University of Sfax, Soukra Road Km 3.5. BP 1171 – PO Box 3000 Sfax, Tunisia email:
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