Offshore areas of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico represent a little studied region for benthic infaunal communities. In a 3 yr, large-scale study of benthic communities off the coast of Cedar Key, Florida, we found a speciose assemblage represented by over 472 taxa. This community
exhibited both high species diversity and relative constancy of overall infaunal abundances. Analysis of relative abundance patterns among individual taxa indicated similar rank abundances of many dominant fauna over the 3 yrs of sampling, though significant seasonality was detected for one
taxa and there was variability in absolute numbers between sampling periods. Analysis of patterns at the guild level indicated differences in relative abundances of deposit feeding and suspension feeding guilds between seasons, but consistent relative abundances within a season among years.
Detection of seasonal variations at the guild level but not the species level reflects variability in responses at the species level and emphasizes the potential usefulness of guild approaches for examining temporal patterns in benthic communities.
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