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Free Content Bathymetric Distribution and Population Size Structure of Paxillosid Seastars (Echinodermata) in the Cabo Frio Upwelling Ecosystem of Brazil

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Sampling of paxillosid seastars by 20-min trawls was made monthly at depths of 30, 45 and 60 m, from January, 1986 to December, 1988. Bottom water and sediments were analyzed. Four thousand one hundred twenty-one individuals comprising five species were collected: Astropecten cingulatus (54.6%); A. brasiliensis (26.4%); Luidia ludwigi scotti (18.9%); L. alternata (<1%) and Tethyaster vestitus (<1%). Astropecten brasiliensis occurred primarily at 30 m (from very well to well-sorted medium sand) and 45 m (from well to moderately-well sorted medium sand), while A. cingulatus and L. ludwigi scotti were most common at 45 m and 60 m (from well to moderately-well sorted fine sand). Differences in size-frequency distributions of A. brasiliensis were recorded at 30 and 45 m depths. Population densities were higher and body size smaller (R = 4–5 cm) at the shallower depth (30 m). At deeper depth (45 m), individuals were larger (R = 7–10 cm) and coexisted with other species of seastars. Astropecten cingulatus showed similar size-frequency distributions at both 45 and 60 m depths (R = 4 cm). No species showed a pattern of seasonal variation in density. Highest densities occurred when sea water temperatures were lower than 18°C, suggesting some relation with periods of upwelling. Differences in population size structures of seastars suggest that the recruitment rate is independent of local densities.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1995-01-01

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