Meiobenthic Copepods of Galápagos: Species Composition, Distribution, Colonization, Speciation
During the Göttingen Galápagos Meiofauna Expedition (February 1972 – March 1973), abundant copepod material was collected in the Galápagos Archipelago for systematic and ecological investigation. Most animals were extracted from sandy beaches, but habitats such as rock-pools, mangroves, and lagoons were also sampled. Thus far, at least 60 species have been identified, as well as representatives of 35 additional genera. As already known from other, primarily boreal regions, the Galápagos species exhibit characteristic distribution patterns in sandy beaches, predominantly above the groundwater level. This is evident in the present study for Noodtiella hoodensis, Diarthrodella neotropica, and Klieonychocamptoides itoi. Despite minor fluctuations in annual water temperature, a distinct seasonality in the life cycles of Galapalaophonte pacifica and Oniscopsis robinsoni is evident. Preliminary data provide partial evidence that the Galápagos' benthic copepods originated in Central and South America. Comparison among harpacticoid copepods from Galápagos, Panama, Costa Rica, and Chile demonstrate a closer relationship of Galápagos species to those in Central America than to those in Chile. There are some indications of initial steps of speciation processes within the Archipelago. However, all di- or polytypic taxa are composed of species exhibiting independent immigration into the island complex.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 November 2003
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