, Volume 610, Issue 1, pp 269–276 | Cite as

Meiofauna sediment relations in leeward slope turf algae of Heron Island reef

  • David Logan
  • Kathy A. Townsend
  • Kevin Townsend
  • Ian R. Tibbetts
Primary research paper


As part of studies investigating the influence of grazers on reef meiofauna, we assessed the density, composition and richness of meiofauna (retained on a 100-μm sieve) on the leeward reef slope of Heron Reef, GBR, Australia using an airlift vacuum sampling device. Estimates of meiofauna densities ranged between 40 individuals 10 cm−2 and 290 individuals 10 cm−2, which is considerably lower than many estimates from carbonate sediments and hard substrates from other reefs and marine habitats. The 17 taxa of meiofauna were dominated by harpacticoid copepods (40%) and nematodes (32%). Varying sediment load within algal turfs explained 37% of variation of meiofauna density. A model is proposed in which increased shelter afforded by high living coral cover reduces meiofaunal losses from grazing and increases sediment loads, balanced by areas of low coral cover in which sedimentation rates are lower and grazing rates higher. At none of the four sites did major differences in abundance occur between November and March sampling events. Together these observations suggest that epilithic meiofaunal communities are generally spatially and temporally predictable at small scales in this reef system, indicating that their ecological services are similarly conservative.


Epilithic algal community Grazers Settlement Predation Vacuum sampling Coral reef 



We thank the staff of the Heron Island Research Station, and for various welcome assistance: J. Greenwood, S. Scott, B. Russell, S. Litherland, K. Adams, P. McCracken, D. Schauffer, A. Takei, P. Barratt and P. Hallam. A special thanks also to P. & V. Logan whose ongoing support was vital to the study and T. Ledwidge for continual daily assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Logan
    • 1
  • Kathy A. Townsend
    • 2
  • Kevin Townsend
    • 2
  • Ian R. Tibbetts
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Biomedical ScienceThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Moreton Bay Research StationThe University of QueenslandDunwich, North Stradbroke IslandAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Marine StudiesThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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