Community Dynamics of Free-Living Nematodes in Some Tropical Mangrove and Sandflat Habitats
Abstract:The dynamics of free-living nematode communities and their feeding type composition was examined for I year at four intertidal mangrove and sandflat habitats in a dry tropical region of northeastern Australia. Abundances of total fauna were not significantly different among low intertidal (mangrove, mangrove beach wrack, sandflat) habitats, but were significantly less in a high intertidal mangrove site. Faunal densities and number of species ranged from 0 to 2,117 individuals˙ 10 cm–2 and from 17 to 53 species per habitat, respectively. Deposit feeders or epigrowth feeders dominated each habitat, but omnivorous/predatory species increased in relative abundance seaward from the high intertidal mangroves (∼5%) to the sandflat (34%). Seasonal patterns of total faunal and species abundances were generally consistent among habitats with highest densities in austral autumn and winter and lowest densities in spring and summer. Most of the major species exhibited periodic (non-random) fluctuations over time, most likely due to seasonal changes in sediment temperature. None of the species, feeding types or total faunal densities correlated significantly with any physicochemical factors measured. The dominant species in this dry tropical region, Terschellingia longicaudata, Anoplostoma viviparum, Oncholaimus brachycercus and Oncholaimus oxyuris are common inhabitants in other intertidal habitats of the world's oceans. Unlike temperate and subtropical nematode communities, seasonal changes in feeding types in these tropical habitats were either not evident or appeared to be due to changes in temperature rather than in response to changes in available microbial food.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1990-03-01
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