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Volume 44 - Number 1 - 2009
Article

 

Spatial and temporal variations of meiofaunal communities in Cienfuegos Bay, Cuba

Lisbet Díaz-Asencio1, Maickel Armenteros2, Misael Díaz-Asencio1, Raúl Fernández-Garcés1, Miguel Gómez-Batista1 and Carlos Alonso-Hernández1

 

1Centro de Estudios Ambientales de Cienfuegos, Carretera a Castillo de Jagua Km 1.5, Ciudad Nuclear, Cienfuegos, Cuba

2Centro de Investigaciones Marinas, Universidad de la Habana, 16 # 114, Playa, Ciudad Habana, Cuba

 

E-mail: lisbet@ceac.cu

 

The community structure of meiofauna was studied in 16 subtidal sampling stations and in four months in Cienfuegos Bay, Cuba for describing their patterns of distribution, as well as their possible causes. Silt/clay (S/C) and organic matter (OM) contents in sediment were positively correlated, and their changes were related to spatial variation of sedimentary environment across stations. The narrow range of interstitial salinity suggests a slight effect on meiofauna even when changes of surficial salinity occurred. Density and number of taxa changed among dry and wet seasons plausibly as a response to hypoxic conditions due to water stratification in the wet season. Negative relationships were recorded among S/C and OM with meiofaunal densities possibly due to restrictive effects of accumulation and oxidation of organic matter. Physical disturbance appears to be a main process affecting meiofauna in some shallow stations subjected to strong waving and tidal currents. No any single ecological factor explains the large spatial variability of meiofaunal communities in the whole bay; a combination of several processes like distribution of primary production, stratification/mixing of the water column and physical disturbance probably is occurring in the bay

 

Key words: Spatial patterns, community structure, Caribbean Sea

 

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