Intra-Annual Variability of a Benthic Amphipod Assemblage (Crustacea: Amphipoda) in a Tropical Shallow Coastal Environment

  • Carlos E. Paz-Ríos
  • Pedro-Luis Ardisson


The community structure of tropical soft-bottom macrofauna is generally considered temporally stable. Here, we document the intra-annual variability of an amphipod assemblage from a tropical benthic habitat. The study was carried out in a shallow coastal environment of the southern Gulf of Mexico, based on historical data obtained from monthly samplings from June 2007 to May 2008, which encompassed three seasons: rainy, cold fronts and dry. Water and sediment variables were recorded to characterize the habitat, and amphipods were collected to assess changes in composition, density, and feeding modes. Using habitat characteristics, the predefined climatic seasons were examined with a discriminant analysis to order the sampling months into the three seasons. A nested analysis of variance showed that, at monthly and seasonal scales, the assemblage is more variable than expected. The species richness and density varied significantly over time, mostly at the monthly scale. Furthermore, a correspondence analysis showed that the species composition was distributed seasonally; this ordination was validated by a permutational multivariate analysis of variance. Finally, a redundancy analysis between species and habitat characteristics revealed seasonal relationships between the environmental conditions and the amphipod fauna. We propose a conceptual model to summarize the joint variation of environmental and biological factors. The present study suggests that an ecological turnover occurs at the site, along with habitat partitioning among the species through time, which depends on the species and its trophic preferences.


Species turnover Feeding guilds Sandy beaches Macrofauna Seasonality Yucatan 



We thank María Teresa Herrera-Dorantes (Cinvestav, Merida) and Oscar Reyes-Mendoza (UNAM, Sisal) for their help during field sampling, as well as to Kirsten Grorud-Colvert for her valuable input and English language editing of the manuscript. The first author thanks the ‘Laboratorio de Bentos, Cinvestav’ and the ‘Fondo Yucatan, Gobierno del estado de Yucatan’ for the financial aid that allowed him to further his master degree studies. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest Statement

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

41208_2017_63_MOESM1_ESM.xls (36 kb)
ESM 1 (XLS 36 kb)
41208_2017_63_MOESM2_ESM.xls (48 kb)
ESM 2 (XLS 47 kb)
41208_2017_63_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (215 kb)
ESM 3 (PDF 215 kb)


  1. Ahmedou Salem MV, van der Geest M, Piersma T, Saoud Y, van Gils JA (2014) Seasonal changes in mollusc abundance in a tropical intertidal ecosystem, Banc d’Arguin (Mauritania): Testing the ‘depletion by shorebirds’ hypothesis. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 136:26–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson MJ (2005) PERMANOVA: a FORTRAN computer program for permutational multivariate analysis of variance. University of Auckland, New ZealandGoogle Scholar
  3. Ardisson P-L, Hernández-Guevara NA (2014) Estado de salud de la comunidad bentónica y grupos faunísticos dominantes de los ambientes marino somero y lagunar. In: Euán-Ávila J, García de Fuentes A, Liceaga-Correa ML, Munguía-Gil A (eds) La costa del estado de Yucatán, un espacio de reflexión sobre la relación sociedad-naturaleza, en el contexto de su ordenamiento ecológico territorial. Plaza y Valdés, México, pp 257–264Google Scholar
  4. Bale AJ, Kenny AJ (2005) Sediment analysis and seabed characterization. In: Eleftherious A, McIntyre AD (eds) Methods for the study of Marine Benthos. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, pp 43–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnard JL (1970) Sublittoral Gammaridea (Amphipoda) of the Hawaiian Islands. Smithson Contr Zool 34:1–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baumann H, Doherty O (2013) Decadal changes in the world's coastal latitudinal temperature gradients. PLoS One 8:e67596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Biernbaum CK (1979) Influence of sedimentary factors on the distribution of benthic amphipods of Fishers Island Sound, Connecticut. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 38:201–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boero F (1994) Fluctuations and variations in coastal marine environments. Mar Ecol 15:3–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown JH (1984) On the relationship between abundance and distribution of species. Am Nat 124:255–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buchanan JB (1984) Sediment analysis. In: Holmes NA, McIntyre AD (eds) Methods for the Study of Marine Benthos. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, pp 41–65Google Scholar
  11. Charvat DL, Nelson WG, Allenbaugh TA (1990) Composition and seasonality of sand-beach amphipod assemblages of the East coast of Florida. J Crust Biol 10:446–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coma R, Ribes M, Gil JP, Zabala M (2000) Seasonality in coastal benthic ecosystems. Trends Ecol Evol 15:448–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costello MJ, Myers AA (1996) Turnover of transient species as a contributor to the richness of a stable amphipod (Crustacea) fauna in a sea inlet. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 202:49–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cuevas-Jimenéz A, Euán-Avila JR (2009) Morphodynamics of carbonate beaches in the Yucatán Peninsula. Cien Mar 35:307–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dauvin JC, Andrade H, De-la-Ossa-Carretero JA, Del-Pilar-Ruso Y, Riera R (2016) Polychaete/amphipod ratios: An approach to validating simple benthic indicators. Ecol Indic 63:89–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Denny MW, Helmuth B, Leonard GH, Harley CDG, Hunt LJH, Nelson EK (2004) Quantifying scale in ecology: lessons from a wave-swept shore. Ecol Monogr 74:513–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dolbeth M, Teixeira H, Marques JC, Pardal MA (2009) Feeding guild composition of a macrobenthic subtidal community along a depth gradient. Sci Mar 73:225–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Duffy JE (2006) Biodiversity and the functioning of seagrass ecosystems. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 311:233–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Enriquez C, Mariño-Tapia I, Herrera-Silveira JA (2010) Dispersion in the Yucatan coastal zone: Implications for red tide events. Cont Shelf Res 30:127–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Escobar-Briones EG, Soto LA (1997) Continental shelf benthic biomass in the western Gulf of Mexico. Cont Shelf Res 17:585–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ferns PN, Rostron DM, Siman HY (2000) Effects of mechanical cockle harvesting on intertidal communities. J Appl Ecol 37:464–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fiedler PC, Mendelssohn R, Palacios DM, Bograd SJ (2013) Pycnocline variations in the Eastern Tropical and North Pacific, 1958–2008. J Clim 26:583–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gamble JC (1984) Diving. In: Holmes NA, McIntyre AD (eds) Methods for the Study of Marine Benthos. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, pp 99–139Google Scholar
  24. García E (2004) Modificaciones al sistema de clasificación climática de Köppen. Instituto de Geografía-UNAM, MéxicoGoogle Scholar
  25. Gil JM, Coma R (1998) Benthic suspension feeders: their paramount role in the littoral marine food webs. Trends Ecol Evol 13:316–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hernández-Arana HA, Rowden AA, Attrill MJ, Warwick RM, Gold-Bouchot G (2003) Large-scale environmental influence on the benthic macroinfauna of the southern Gulf of Mexico. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 58:825–841CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hernández-Guevara NA, Pech D, Ardisson PL (2008) Temporal trends in benthic macrofauna composition in response to seasonal variation in a tropical coastal lagoon, Celestun, Gulf of Mexico. Mar Freshw Res 59:772–779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jacobucci GB, Tanaka MO, Leite FPP (2009) Temporal variation of amphipod assemblages associated with Sargassum filipendula (Phaeophyta) and its epiphytes in a subtropical shore. Aquatic Ecol 43:1031–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Johnson WS, Stevens M, Watling L (2001) Reproductive and development of marine peracaridans. Adv Mar Biol 39:105–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kauppi L, Norkko J, Ikonen J, Norkko A (2017) Seasonal variability in ecosystem functions: quantifying the contribution of invasive species to nutrient cycling in coastal ecosystems. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 572:193–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leps J, Smilauer P (2003) Multivariate analysis of ecological data using CANOCO. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Levinton J, Kelaher B (2004) Opposing organizing forces of deposit-feeding marine communities. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 300:65–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lugo-Fernández A, Gravois M (2010) Understanding impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes on submerged bank reefs and coral communities in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Cont Shelf Res 30:1226–1240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mendoza ET, Trejo-Rangel MA, Salles P, Appendini CM, Lopez-Gonzalez J, Torres-Freyermuth A (2013) Storm characterization and coastal hazards in the Yucatan Peninsula. J Coast Res 65:790–795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Morrisey DJ, Howitt L, Underwood AJ, Stark JS (1992) Temporal variation in soft-sediment benthos. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 164:233–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Navarro-Barranco C, Tierno-de-Figueroa JM, Guerra-García JM, Sánchez-Tocino L, García-Gómez JC (2013) Feeding habits of amphipods (Crustacea: Malacostraca) from shallow soft bottom communities: Comparison between marine caves and open habitats. J Sea Res 78:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Parisi F, Lund R (2000) Seasonality and return periods of landfalling Atlantic basin hurricanes. Aust N Z J Statist 42:271–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pech D, Ardisson P-L, Hernández-Guevara NA (2007) Benthic community response to habitat variation: A case of study from a natural protected area, the Celestun coastal lagoon. Cont Shelf Res 27:2523–2533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Posey MH, Lindberg W, Alphin TD, Vose F (1996) Influence of storm disturbance on an offshore benthic community. Bull Mar Sci 59:523–529Google Scholar
  40. Posey MH, Alphin TD, Banner S, Vose F, Lindberg W (1998) Temporal variability, diversity and guild structure of a benthic community in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Bull Mar Sci 63:143–155Google Scholar
  41. Orellana LR (1999) Evaluación climática. In García de Fuentes A, Córdoba y Ordoñez J (eds) Atlas de procesos territoriales de Yucatán. UADY-PROEESA, México, pp. 163–182Google Scholar
  42. Rakocinski CF, LeCroy SE, McLelland JA, Heard RW (1998) Nested spatiotemporal scales of variation in sandy-shore macrobenthic community structure. Bull Mar Sci 63:343–362Google Scholar
  43. Rodríguez-Pliego P, Hernández-Arana HA, Ardisson P-L (2011) Partitioning spatial and temporal variability of tropical near-shore macrobenthic assemblages affected by natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Mar Freshw Res 62:342–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sainte-Marie B (1991) A review of the reproductive bionomics of aquatic gammaridea amphipods: Variations of life history traits with latitude, depth, salinity and superfamily. Hydrobiologia 223:189–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sanz-Lázaro C, Marín A (2011) Diversity patterns of benthic macrofauna caused by marine fish farming. Diversity 3:176–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1995) Biometry: The principles and practice of statistics in biological research. W. H. Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  47. Souza FM, Brauko KM, Gilbert ER, Martins CC, Lana PC, Camargo MG (2016) Complex spatial and temporal variation of subtropical benthic macrofauna under sewage impact. Mar Environ Res 116:61–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. ter Braak CJK, Smilauer P (2002) CANOCO reference manual and CanoDraw for Windows user’s guide: Software for canonical community ordination (version 4.5). Microcomputer Power, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  49. Taylor RB (1998) Short-term dynamics of a seaweed epifaunal assemblage. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 227:67–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Thomas JD (1993) Identification manual for the marine Amphipoda (Gammaridea): I. Common coral reef and rock bottom amphipods of South Florida. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, TallahasseeGoogle Scholar
  51. Thomas JD, Barnard JL (1983) The Platyischnopidae of America (Crustacea: Amphipoda). Smithson Contr Zool 75:1–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Underwood AJ, Chapman MG (2005) Design and analysis on benthic surveys. In: Eleftheriou A, McIntyre AD (eds) Methods for the study of marine benthos. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, pp 1–42Google Scholar
  53. Valério-Berardo MT, Flynn MN, Wakabara Y (2000) Structure and dynamics of a shelf amphipod taxocoenosis in southeastern Brazil. Bull Mar Sci 66:59–72Google Scholar
  54. Vidal-Zepeda R (2005) Las regiones climáticas de México. Instituto de Geografía-UNAM, MéxicoGoogle Scholar
  55. Winfield I, Cházaro-Olvera S, Álvarez F (2007) Controla la biomasa de pastos marinos la densidad de los peracáridos (Crustacea: Peracarida) en lagunas tropicales? Rev Biol Trop 55:43–53Google Scholar
  56. Yu OH, Soh HY, Suh HL (2002) Seasonal zonation patterns of benthic amphipods in a sandy shore surf zone of Korea. J Crust Biol 22:459–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Zimmerman R, Gibson R, Harrington J (1979) Herbivory and detrivory among gammaridean amphipods from a Florida seagrass community. Mar Biol 54:41–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Recursos del MarCinvestav. Carretera antigua a ProgresoMeridaMexico
  2. 2.El Colegio de la Frontera SurLermaMexico

Personalised recommendations