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Polychaete assemblages of a sub-arctic Newfoundland fjord: habitat, distribution, and identification

Abstract

This study explores the association of 24 polychaete species with sandy and muddy habitats located in a sub-arctic fjord, and across Atlantic Canada including Labrador, Newfoundland, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Key characters used to facilitate species identification are also summarized. Within Bonne Bay, distinctive polychaete assemblages were associated with specific sediment types and polychaete species richness and density were significant both predictors of corresponding total (infaunal) density and species richness. Polychaetes were denser and more diverse in sandy sediments, partly because sandy locales were associated with the outer portion of the bay, and therefore were closer to the more productive and diverse Gulf of St. Lawrence. In general, species that occupied both sediment types were more widely distributed within Bonne Bay and across the region. The biogeography of most species also suggests that the Bonne Bay fauna is transitional between Labrador and Acadian biogeographic provinces.

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Acknowledgments

D. Schneider, R. Kneib, R. Haedrich, and P. Ramey read and improved earlier versions of the manuscript. K. Fauchald, A. Castelli, and S. Cochrane advised with the identification of several species. R. Hooper, M. Kelly, M. Norris, M. Parsons, K. Carter and J.Barry among others collaborated in the field and/or the laboratory. Funding was provided by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to PVRS, the Fisheries Conservation Chair, and fellowships to PAQ from Memorial University’s School of Graduate Studies and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

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Correspondence to Pedro A. Quijón.

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Quijón, P.A., Snelgrove, P.V.R. Polychaete assemblages of a sub-arctic Newfoundland fjord: habitat, distribution, and identification. Polar Biol 28, 495–505 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-005-0719-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-005-0719-4

Keywords

  • Polychaetes
  • Sub-arctic fjord
  • Habitat
  • Biodiversity
  • Biogeography