, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 41-49

Leaf epifauna of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum

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Abstract

The abundance, composition and trophic relationships of metazoan leaf epifauna of the marine angiosperm Thalassia testudinum König were studied in Barbados, West Indies. Approximately 90 species from 11 phyla consisted chiefly of nematodes, harpacticoid copepods, crustacean nauplii, ostracods, and turbellarians. Epiflora- and detritus-feeders dominated the epifauna. Increasing leaf epiphytism was accompanied by faunal changes, most notably increased nematode, harpacticoid and polychaete density. Faunal composition was very similar to that of the temperate seagrass analogue Zostera marina.

Communicated by R. O. Fournier, Halifax