, Volume 799, Issue 1, pp 349–369 | Cite as

Effects of pollution on nematode assemblage structure and diversity on beaches of the northern Persian Gulf

  • Narjes Sahraean
  • Tania Campinas Bezerra
  • Keivan Ejlali Khanaghah
  • Hadi Mosallanejad
  • Eric Van Ranst
  • Tom MoensEmail author
Primary Research Paper


This study is the first to present data on local (=beach) and gamma diversity of beach nematode assemblages from the Persian Gulf. We investigated four beaches near the city of Bandar Abbas, Iran. On each beach, we sampled three stations at 50-m intervals, with increasing distance from a local pollution source, mostly domestic sewage. A total of 39 genera from 17 families was recorded. This gamma diversity is low and suggests that the entire area experiences substantial stress. Five genera together comprised 75% of nematode abundance. There were significant differences in abundance as well as genus diversity between locations, but these did not unequivocally correlate with known drivers of benthic assemblage structure like sediment granulometry and hydrodynamics. The location exposed to the strongest local pollution input had the lowest nematode diversity and a very low abundance at the station nearest the pollution source. Distance from local pollution sources also significantly impacted genus diversity, but this pattern was only pronounced in two of the four beaches. Our data demonstrate that local sources of anthropogenic disturbance are a major driver of assemblage diversity and structure in this area, despite an overarching effect of natural (salinity, temperature) and anthropogenic stressors.


Marine ecosystems Benthic assemblages Alpha diversity Gamma diversity Anthropogenic impact Sewage discharge 



The authors acknowledge financial support from the Flemish Science Foundation through Project 3G019209, and from the Research Council of Ghent University through Projects BOF09/24J/148 and 01GA1911W. Maarten Raes, Jan Vanaverbeke, Ann Vanreusel, and Marleen De Troch all provided valuable help at various stages of this research, related mostly to nematode identification and data analysis. Bart Beuselinck performed the sediment granulometric and TOC/TN analyses, and Nicole Vindevogel and Veerle Vandenhende performed the ICP-AES.

Supplementary material

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Marine Biology LabGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Persian Gulf and Oman See Ecology Research Center, Iranian Fisheries Science Research InstituteAgricultural Research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO)Bandar AbbasIran
  3. 3.Iranian Research Institute of Plant ProtectionAgricultural Research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO)TehranIran
  4. 4.Department of Geology, Laboratory of Soil ScienceGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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