Geographical variation in oligochaete density and biomass in subtropical mangrove wetlands of China

Abstract

Oligochaetes play an important role in nutrient cycling and energy flow in benthic food webs as well as in mangrove wetlands. However, they have not been as extensively studied as other macrofaunal groups such as polychaetes, gastropods, bivalves, and crustaceans. Under the assumption that oligochaete density and biomass obey specific geographical distribution patterns in subtropical mangrove wetlands of China, we investigated these two parameters in the Luoyang Estuary of Quanzhou Bay, Zhangjiang Estuary and Gaoqiao mangrove wetlands. A geographical gradient in oligochaete density was present in Aegiceras corniculatum and Kandelia obovata habitats, whereby it decreased from lower latitudes to higher latitudes. Further, ANOVA tests on oligochaete distribution revealed that both oligochaete density and biomass were significantly influenced by region, season and region × season at the A. corniculatum and K. obovata habitats. The annual average oligochaete density and biomass at the A. corniculatum habitat were higher than that at the K. obovata habitat, in both the Luoyang and Zhangjiang estuaries. There were significant correlations between oligochaete density and biomass and sediment particle size parameters, confirming that sand, silt, and clay contents were the key environmental factors affecting oligochaete distribution.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41376113) and Public Science and Technology Research Funds Projects of Oceans (No. 201505004). The authors are grateful to Prof. Jiang-Shiou HWANG and Hans-Uwe DAHMS for their professional advices, to Ms. Su-Jing FU, Sha LIU, Xin PENG, Jing CAO, Yi ZHUO, Xiang LI, Mr. Peng XU, Chen WU, Tao GUO and Lu-Lu YAN for their assistance with sample collection.

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Correspondence to Lizhe Cai.

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Chen, X., Cai, L., Zhou, X. et al. Geographical variation in oligochaete density and biomass in subtropical mangrove wetlands of China. J. Ocean Univ. China 16, 925–931 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11802-017-3191-1

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Key words

  • oligochaete
  • distribution
  • mangrove wetlands
  • China