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Effects of Increasing Levels of Nickel Contamination on Structure of Offshore Nematode Communities in Experimental Microcosms

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A microcosm experiment was used to examine the effects of nickel on offshore nematode communities of a Tunisian coastal zone (Southwestern Mediterranean Sea). Sediments were contaminated with three nickel concentrations [low (250 ppm), medium (550 ppm) and high (900 ppm)], and effects were examined after 30 days. Results showed significant differences between nematode assemblages from undisturbed controls and those from nickel treatments. Most univariates measures, including diversity and species richness, decreased significantly with increasing level of Ni contamination. Results from multivariate analyses of the species abundance data demonstrated that responses of nematode species to the nickel treatments were varied: Leptonemella aphanothecae was eliminated at all the nickel doses tested and seemed to be intolerant species to nickel contamination; Daptonema normandicum, Neochromadora trichophora and Odontophora armata which significantly increased at 550 ppm nickel concentration appeared to be “opportunistic” species at this dose whereas Oncholaimus campylocercoides and Bathylaimus capacosus which increased at all doses tested (250, 550 and 900 ppm) seemed to be “nickel-resistant” species.

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This work was funded by the MSRTCD (Ministry of Scientific Research, Technology and Competency Development).

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Correspondence to A. Hedfi.

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Hedfi, A., Mahmoudi, E., Boufahja, F. et al. Effects of Increasing Levels of Nickel Contamination on Structure of Offshore Nematode Communities in Experimental Microcosms. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 79, 345–349 (2007).

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  • Free living nematodes
  • Sediment
  • Nickel
  • Contamination
  • Microcosms