, Volume 673, Issue 1, pp 229–244 | Cite as

Response of biofilm-dwelling nematodes to habitat changes in the Garonne River, France: influence of hydrodynamics and microalgal availability

  • Nabil MajdiEmail author
  • Walter Traunspurger
  • Stéphanie Boyer
  • Benoît Mialet
  • Michèle Tackx
  • Robert Fernandez
  • Stefanie Gehner
  • Loïc Ten-Hage
  • Evelyne Buffan-Dubau
Primary Research Paper


Lotic epilithic biofilms are submitted to seasonal disturbances (e.g. flood events, self-detachment), which influence the biomass, diversity and viability of their algal and bacterial communities. The objective of this study is to examine whether (1) biofilm-dwelling nematodes respond to such seasonal changes in terms of diversity and community structure, (2) nematode species and feeding-types distribution respond to the varied trophic situations within the biofilm, since variations in biofilm microalgal composition may represent a variation in available food. The biofilm-dwelling nematode community was monitored in a temperate river over an 18 month period with a high sampling frequency. These data were linked to environmental abiotic and biofilm biotic factors. Nematode density was positively correlated to biofilm and microalgal biomass, but was dampened by floods. A clear seasonal pattern of the community was detected (summer shift), so that two nematode groups stand out: (1) the epistrate-feeders Chromadorina bioculata (Schultze in Carus, 1857) and Chromadorina viridis (Linstow, 1876) were primarily related to diatom availability, and dominated the nematode assemblage most of the time, (2) seven species from various feeding types (deposit-feeders, suction-feeders and chewers) grew mainly under summer conditions concomitantly to a change of biofilm trophic status and microalgal composition. Overall, the results suggested that, in addition to abiotic disturbances, the availability of potential preys in the biofilm might represent an important driver of nematode community patterns.


Nematodes Periphyton Diversity Feeding types Algae Environmental factors 



We thank J. Ferriol for helping with algal cultures. We are grateful to K. Martens and to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript. This study was funded by a national CNRS EC2CO-CYTRIX program. Nabil Majdi received a doctoral grant no. 31381-2008 by the French department of higher education and research (MESR).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nabil Majdi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Walter Traunspurger
    • 3
  • Stéphanie Boyer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Benoît Mialet
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michèle Tackx
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert Fernandez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stefanie Gehner
    • 3
  • Loïc Ten-Hage
    • 1
    • 2
  • Evelyne Buffan-Dubau
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.EcoLabUniversity Paul SabatierToulouseFrance
  2. 2.EcoLabCNRSToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Animal EcologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany

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