Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Polychaete diversity and assemblage structure in the Oualidia Lagoon, Moroccan Atlantic coast

  • Fatima El Asri (a1) (a2), Hakima Zidane (a2), Ahmed Errhif (a1), Mohamed-Naoufal Tamsouri (a2), Mohamed Maanan (a3), Mohamed Malouli Idrissi (a2) and Daniel Martin (a4)...

The polychaete assemblages inhabiting the coastal waters of the Oualidia lagoon were studied during winter 2013 and summer 2013. Taxonomic composition and diversity were determined at 43 sample sites. Among the 13 species of polychaetes recorded, 10 were newly reported for Oualidia lagoon. Hediste diversicolor and Capitella sp. were the most abundant taxa in both seasons. Temperature and salinity were higher, and chl-a and OM were lower, in summer than in winter. The structure of the polychaete assemblages was characterized by forming three main clusters, either based on sampling stations or on polychaete species. These clusters were organized according to a downstream gradient, with the stations having fine sediments and a H. diversicolor assemblage in the inner lagoon being replaced by stations with medium grain-sized sediment and a Capitella sp. assemblage in the mid-lagoon, which were in turn replaced by stations having sandy sediments and assemblages dominated by Glycera alba (winter) and P. africana (summer) in the areas closer to the lagoon inlets. The shift was, in fact, from a classical, brackish, lacunar assemblage to two different, temporal aspects of a marine assemblage (close to the inlets), with a transition assemblage in between. This corresponded with a typically paralic spatial structure whose main descriptors responded to a confinement gradient. Despite the absence of a river, the organization of the polychaete assemblages closely resembled that of an estuarine system, with the tidal regime playing a major driving role.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: F. El Asri, Health and Environment Laboratory, Faculty of Sciences Ain Chock, University Hassan II, B.P. 5366 Maârif, 20100 Casablanca, Morocco email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

H. Bazaïri , A. Bayed , M. Glémarec and C. Hily (2003) Spatial organisation of macrozoobenthic communities in response to environmental factors in a coastal lagoon of the NW African coast (Merja Zerga, Morocco). Oceanologica Acta 26, 457471.

L.G. Bellucci , M. Frignani , D. Paolucci and M. Ravanelli (2002) Distribution of heavy metals in sediments of the Venice Lagoon: the role of the industrial area. Science of the Total Environment 295, 3549.

Y. Cao , A.W. Bark and W.P. Williams (1997) A comparison of clustering methods for river benthic community analysis. Hydrobiologia 347, 2440.

M. El Alami , R. Mahjoubi , B. Damnati , S. Kamel , M. Icole and M. Taieb (1998) Sédimentologie et géochimie organique des sédiments superficiels de la lagune de Nador (Maroc nord-oriental). Journal of African Earth Sciences 26, 249259.

A. Giangrande , M. Licciano and L. Musco (2005) Polychaetes as environmental indicators revisited. Marine Pollution Bulletin 50, 11531162.

N.A. Hernández-Guevara , D. Pech and P. Ardisson (2008) Temporal trends in benthic macrofauna composition in response to seasonal variation in a tropical coastal lagoon, Celestun, Gulf of Mexico. Marine and Freshwater Research 59, 772779.

K. Hilmi , V. Koutitonsky , A. Orbi , J. Lakhdar and M. Chagdali (2005) Oualidia lagoon, Morocco: an estuary without a river. African Journal of Aquatic Science 30, 110.

Z. Idardare , J.F. Chiffoleau , A. Moukrim , A. Ait Alla , D. Auger , L. Lefrere and E. Rozuel (2008) Metal concentrations in sediment and Nereis diversicolor in two Moroccan lagoons: Khnifiss and Oualidia. Chemistry and Ecology 24, 329340.

K.N. Koaudio , D. Diomandé , A. Ouattara , Y.J.M. Koné and G. Gourène (2008) Taxonomic diversity and structure of benthic macroinvertebrates in Aby Lagoon (Ivory Coast, West Africa). Pakistan Journal of Biological Science 11, 22242230.

M. Maanan , A.C. Ruiz-Fernández , M. Maanan , P. Fattal , B. Zourarah and M. Sahabi (2014) A long-term record of land use change impacts on sediments in Oualidia lagoon, Morocco. International Journal of Sediment Research 29, 110.

M. Maanan , B. Zourarah , C. Carruesco , A. Aajjane and J. Naud (2004) The distribution of heavy metals in the Sidi Moussa lagoon sediments (Atlantic Moroccan Coast). Journal of African Earth Sciences 39, 473483.

D. Martin , S. Pinedo and R. Sardá (2000) Distribution patterns and trophic structure of soft-bottom Polychaete assemblages in a North-Western Mediterranean shallow-water bay. Ophelia 53, 117.

T.J. Newton , J.W. Allran , J.A. O'Donnell , M.R. Bartsch and W.B. Richardson (2003) Effects of ammonia on juvenile unionids (Lampsilis cardium) in laboratory sediment toxicity tests. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 22, 25542560.

C. Palacín , J.M. Gili and D. Martin (1992) Evidence for coincidence of meiofauna spatial heterogeneity with eutrophication processes in a shallow-water Mediterranean bay. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 35, 116.

H. Paxton , S. Fadlaoui and J.-P. Lechapt (1995) Diopatra marocensis, a new brooding species of Onuphidae (Annelida: Polychaeta). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 75, 949955.

E. C. Pielou (1966) Shannon's formula as a measure of specific diversity: its use and measure. American Naturalist 100, 463465.

P. Pocklington and P.G. Wells (1992) Polychaetes. Key taxa for marine environmental quality monitoring. Marine Pollution Bulletin 24, 593598.

S. Tomioka , T. Kondoh , W. Sato-Okoshi , K. Ito , K. Kakui and H. Kajihara (2016) Cosmopolitan or cryptic species? A case study of Capitella teleta (Annelida: Capitellidae). Zoological Science 33, 545554.

A.J. Vakharia and U. Wemmerlöv (1995) A comparative investigation of hierarchical clustering techniques and dissimilarity measures applied to the cell formation problem. Journal of Operational Management 13, 117138.

N. Venturini , L.R. Tommasi , M. C. Bícego and C. C. Martins (2004) Characterization of the benthic environment of a coastal area adjacent to an oil refinery, Todos os Santos Bay (NE-Brazil). Brazilian Journal of Oceanography 52, 123134.

B. Zourarah , M. Maanan , C. Carruesco , A. Aajjane , K. Mehdi and M. Conceição Freitas (2007) Fifty-year sedimentary record of heavy metal pollution in the lagoon of Oualidia (Moroccan Atlantic coast). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 72, 359369.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 16 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 121 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 17th April 2017 - 23rd September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.