Nematode Responses to the Invasion of Exotic Spartina in Mangrove Wetlands in Southern China
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Investigations into nematode density and species assemblages have been conducted in different types of mangroves worldwide, but these studies have typically been limited to one type of plant or tree species. The invasive salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora has successively invaded native mangroves along the southern coasts of China during the preceding two decades. However, few meiofauna studies on the impacts of S. alterniflora have been conducted, and the consequences of this invasion on ecosystem composition and function remain unclear. The hypothesis of this study was that the spatial and seasonal distribution of nematode assemblages vary significantly among three native mangrove habitats (Kandelia obovata, Aegiceras corniculatum, and Avicennia marina) and between these habitats and a fourth habitat that was colonized by S. alterniflora, in Zhangjiang Estuary, China. Our results demonstrated that different species dominated in different habitats seasonally. Highly significant differences in density, number of species, diversity index, and maturity index were present among the four habitats. ANOSIM results revealed that there were significant differences in nematode assemblages among the four habitats and seasons, with the S. alterniflora habitat exhibiting the lowest mean values of number of species, Shannon-Wiener diversity index, richness index, and maturity index in the four seasons. This suggests that the presence of S. alterniflora disrupted nematode assemblages.
KeywordsMangrove Spartina alterniflora Marine nematodes Zhangjiang Estuary
This study was financed by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41376113) and public science and technology research funds for marine projects (201505004). Dr. Guy Boucher of Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, Dr. Hans-U. Dahms of Kaohsiung Medical University, Dr. Stephen C. Landers of Troy University, and Dr. Enming He of Fujian Institute of Subtropical Botany are thanked for their valuable comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. We are grateful to Sha Liu, Peng Xu, Xin Peng, and Chen Wu for their assistance in field sampling and to Jiemin Guo for providing environmental data. We also sincerely thank the anonymous reviewers for scientific comments and valuable suggestions.
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Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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