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Diversity and habitat selectivity of harpacticoid copepods from sea grass beds in Pujada Bay, the Philippines

  • Marleen De Troch (a1), Jenny Lynn Melgo-Ebarle (a2), Lea Angsinco-Jimenez (a3), Hendrik Gheerardyn (a1) and Magda Vincx (a1)...

The spatial diversity of meiofauna from sea grass beds of Pujada Bay (the Philippines), was studied with special emphasis on harpacticoid copepods. Sediment cores were obtained from areas adjacent to the different species of sea grasses. Meiofauna was enumerated at higher taxon level and harpacticoid copepods were identified to genus level. Diversity indices were calculated corresponding to the hierarchical levels of spatial biodiversity, i.e. alpha, beta and gamma. Nematodes were the most abundant meiofaunal group in all sediment layers and along the entire tidal gradient (37–92%); harpacticoids were second in abundance (3.0–40.6%) but highly diverse (N0: 9.33–15.5) at the uppermost sediment layer (0–1 cm) near all beds of sea grass species. There was a sharp turnover of harpacticoid genera along the tidal gradient, thus suggesting a relatively low proportion of shared genera among benthic communities in different sea grass zones. The families of Tetragonicipitidae and Miraciidae were the dominant harpacticoid groups occurring in all sediment layers of all sea grass species. The presence of the epiphytic genera of Metis at the deepest sediment layers in some sea grass species was striking. Overall, the major contributor to gamma (total) diversity of harpacticoid copepods in Pujada Bay is the high local (alpha) diversity (N0: 80.6%, H′: 94.7% of total diversity); hence, the habitat heterogeneity among sediment layers in sea grass beds is most relevant for the total diversity and richness of harpacticoid copepod genera in the area.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Marleen de TrochGhent UniversityBiology Department Marine Biology Section Campus Sterre—Building S8 Krijgslaan 281 B-9000 GhentBelgium email:
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