, Volume 586, Issue 1, pp 331–342 | Cite as

Intertidal meiofaunal biodiversity with respect to different algal habitats: a test using phytal ostracodes from Southern California

  • Kristin Frame
  • Gene HuntEmail author
  • Kaustuv Roy
Primary Research Paper


Rocky intertidal algae harbor a diverse invertebrate meiofauna of arthropods, nematodes and other invertebrates. Despite its ecological importance, relatively little is known about the diversity and composition of this important component of intertidal biodiversity. In this study, we quantified species composition, abundance and distribution of ostracodes, an important group of phytal meiofauna, at two different intertidal areas in southern California. In total, we recovered 22 ostracode species from three different orders (16 podocopids, five myodocopids and one platycopid), nearly a quarter of which could not be assigned to existing taxa. The abundance of ostracodes differed significantly among algal types, with structurally complex algae bearing many more ostracodes per gram of algae than simple forms (blade-like algae and the surfgrass Phyllospadix). Although most ostracode species were recovered from multiple kinds of algae, different algae harbored distinct assemblages that could be discriminated statistically on the basis of relative abundances of ostracode species. This segregation of the ostracode fauna according to algal species is evident even over very short spatial scales (<1 m). Finally, ostracode samples from turf-forming algae were more species rich than samples from other kinds of macroalgae. Since turf-forming algae are easily damaged by human trampling, this component of ostracode biodiversity may be particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts on the intertidal habitat.


Ostracoda Intertidal algae Abundance Diversity 



We thank D. Horne and an anonymous reviewer for careful and constructive comments on the manuscript, and B. Pister for advice on field collection and algae identification. A. Cohen and D. Horne generously helped us to sort out aspects of ostracode taxonomy and sbiology.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Ecology, Behavior and EvolutionUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA

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