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Intertidal meiofauna of the St Lawrence estuary (Quebec, Canada): diversity, biomass and feeding structure of nematode assemblages

  • G. Tita (a1), G. Desrosiers (a1), M. Vincx (a2) and M. Clément (a3)

Abstract

The meiofauna of the St Lawrence estuary was investigated in the intertidal zone of the Parc du Bic (Quebec, Canada). Five nematode assemblages were distinguished by a cluster analysis: A1 and A2 (upper-tide level); A3 (mid-tide level); A4 and A5 (low-tide level). Discriminant function analysis showed that exposure time during low tide was the most important environmental factor in determining differences between assemblages. Chlorophyll-a, phaeopigments, sediment water content, and per cent of silt followed in the same order. Nematode densities (400–1500 ind 10 cm−2) were found to be lower than those generally reported for other estuarine intertidal zones of the eastern Atlantic coast. Mean nematode biomass in the five assemblages ranged between 96±14 and 248±86 μg Corg 10 cm−2. Deposit feeders were generally the dominant nematode feeding group in terms of abundance and biomass. Correlation of epigrowth-feeders with chlorophyll-a and phaeopigments, respectively, suggested that in the upper-tide level, old or partially degraded phytodetritus contribute more to the diet of this nematode feeding group; and in the low-tide level epigrowth-feeders may rely more on ‘fresher’ phytodetritus.

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Corresponding author (present address): Station Technologique Maricole des Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec, CP 658, Cap-aux-Meules (Québec), G0B 1B0, Canada, E-mail: gtita@duclos.net

Intertidal meiofauna of the St Lawrence estuary (Quebec, Canada): diversity, biomass and feeding structure of nematode assemblages

  • G. Tita (a1), G. Desrosiers (a1), M. Vincx (a2) and M. Clément (a3)

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