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Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 203–215 | Cite as

Distribution of meiofaunal abundances in a marine cave complex with secondary openings and freshwater filtrations

  • Rodrigo Riera
  • Óscar Monterroso
  • Jorge Núñez
  • Alejandro Martínez
Original Paper

Abstract

Submerged sea caves are priority areas for conservation according to the Habitat Directive 92/43/CEE because of their unique biodiversity. A limited number of publications exist about communities living on sediments inside caves, mostly focused on the macrofaunal fraction (>0.5-mm body size). Meiofaunal communities (0.062–0.5-mm body size) have been largely neglected in ecological studies about communities inhabiting sea caves. In the present study, we analysed meiofaunal communities from Los Cerebros cave, a shallow marine cave (3–8 m in depth, 80 m long), with secondary openings in the inner parts and freshwater infiltrations. Sediment samples were taken by scuba divers using cylinders (cores), with known inner diameter. Sampling stations were sampled from the different sections of the cave (entrance, twilight zone, dark zone and jameos). Five surveys were carried out, from June 2003 to February 2005. Nematodes, copepods, and polychaetes dominated overwhelmingly the meiofaunal composition, with the remaining taxonomic groups being scarce. Generalized linear models showed that the high spatial and temporal variability observed among on the abundance of major meiofaunal groups inside the cave was better explained by the surveys, the section of the caves and the presence of freshwater. Higher abundances are observed near the entrance and in the station with regular freshwater input. Nematodes and polychaetes were clearly dominated by species extensively recorded in shallow subtidal sandy sediments on the study area.

Keywords

Cave Meiofauna Nematodes Polychaetes Marine Freshwater influence Canary Islands Atlantic Ocean 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The staff of the Benthos Lab (University of La Laguna) are acknowledged for their help sorting samples and interchange of ideas throughout the study. We are grateful to Diego Fontaneto (National Research Council, Rome) for constructive comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript, and to Aguirre Servicios Topográficos SLL for financial support and logistic help during the field surveys.

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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rodrigo Riera
    • 1
  • Óscar Monterroso
    • 1
  • Jorge Núñez
    • 2
  • Alejandro Martínez
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones Medioambientales del Atlántico (CIMA SL)de TenerifeSpain
  2. 2.Benthos Laboratory, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of La LagunaLa LagunaSpain
  3. 3.Marine Biological SectionUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Center of Ecosystems StudyNational Research CouncilVerbaniaItaly

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