Colonization and early succession on artificial hard substrata by meiofauna
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- Fonsêca-Genevois, V.., Somerfield, P.J., Neves, M.H.B. et al. Marine Biology (2006) 148: 1039. doi:10.1007/s00227-005-0145-8
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An experiment was undertaken at Farol Island, Brazil, to examine colonization of bare aluminium surfaces by microbes and meiofauna. It was hypothesized that a primary source of meiofaunal colonists was sediment resuspended during upwelling events, two of which occurred during the experiment. Microbial biofilms formed on the experimental substrata within 1 day, and continued to develop throughout the experimental period. Among meiofaunal groups copepods also appeared on the first day, and nematodes on the second. Meiofaunal community structure developed in three main phases: an initial phase of 2 days, characterized by low abundances of copepods; a second phase during the first upwelling period characterized by higher abundances of copepods and also by turbellarians; and a third phase from day 13 onwards characterized by relatively stable abundances of a range of taxa including copepods, cirripedes, nematodes and ostracods. Nematode assemblages also developed in three phases, but with different timings coinciding with upwelling events: an initial phase, from the beginning of the experiment to day 9, characterized by few species and low (or no) abundances; a second phase following the first upwelling characterized by moderate abundances of Chromadorina, Chromadorella, Daptonema and Euchromadora sp. 3; a third phase following the second upwelling period (from day 26 onwards) in which Daptonema disappeared and the assemblage was characterized by moderate to high abundances of Euchromadora (species 1 and 2) and Chromadorella. Although shifts in nematode assemblage structure coincided with upwelling events no evidence was found for sediments being the primary source of colonizers on the aluminium substrata, in contrast to our hypothesis.