, Volume 453, Issue 1, pp 189–200 | Cite as

Harpacticoid copepod communities of floating seaweed: controlling factors and implications for dispersal

  • Emil Ólafsson
  • Agnar Ingólfsson
  • María Björk Steinarsdóttir


The structure of harpacticoid copepod communities of floating detached intertidal algae was studied by surveys and experiments. Seaweed clumps were sampled from Faxaflói, western Iceland, at various distances from the shore (0.2–14 km). Altogether 20 species of harpacticoids were found in these clumps, most of them typical phytal species. Multidimensional scaling ordination (MDS) separated the samples into three distinct clusters in which the communities were significantly different from each other. The distance from shore did not seem to affect the community structure. However, diversity and abundance of harpacticoids increased with size and complexity of the clumps. Experimental Ascophyllum nodosum fronds placed 300–600 m offshore were rapidly colonised by harpacticoids. Density and species diversity were, after 20 days afloat, higher than in the free-floating clumps. Species of the genus Harpacticus were successful colonisers, in particular Harpacticus chelifer and Harpacticus uniremis. In a survey of macrofauna (0.5-mm sieve) on floating algae clumps from various locations around Iceland, H. chelifer was present in all clumps studied, up to 117 km offshore. Its sex ratio was skewed towards females, often with a high ratio of ovigerous females. There was, however, no evidence that this species is using the algal clumps as a platform for reproduction.

Copepoda Harpacticoida floating seaweed community structure colonisation dispersal 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emil Ólafsson
    • 1
  • Agnar Ingólfsson
    • 2
  • María Björk Steinarsdóttir
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of StockholmStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Institute of BiologyUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland

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