In this paper we have explored for the first time the biodiversity pattern of the meiobenthic assemblage in a Blue Hole of the Maldivian Archipelago. The cave is characterised by a marked change of the chemical water parameters below 50 m of depth, with a relevant increase in hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and sulfates (H2S, CO2 and SO4 2–). Thus, three stations were selected above and two below the chemo-thermocline in order to test the possible effects of the chemical variations on the meiobenthos. The difficulty of adaptation to these environmental conditions is clearly suggested by the presence of only a few dominant meiobenthic taxa in the bottom of the cave. However, meiobenthic organisms seemed more resistant than macrobenthos, which disappeared completely below this depth. The nematode assemblage was mainly represented by Xyalidae, Desmodoridae, Comesomatidae and Linhomoeidae. A high level of confinement of nematode genera at the different depths has been documented. In the upper part, their structure and biodiversity were comparable to those of the Maldivian subtidal habitats characterised by fine coralline sediments, while a notable dominance was detected in the bottom. The Blue Hole features also influenced the functional traits of the nematode assemblage with a documented increasing number of general opportunists and decrease of Maturity Index. The dominance of non-selective deposit feeders supports the hypothesis of a high amount of organic matter accumulated on the sea bottom of the cave.

Taxonomic and functional biodiversity variations of meiobenthic and nematode assemblages across an extreme environment: a study case in a Blue Hole cave.

SEMPRUCCI, FEDERICA
Writing – Review & Editing
;
BALSAMO, MARIA
2014-01-01

Abstract

In this paper we have explored for the first time the biodiversity pattern of the meiobenthic assemblage in a Blue Hole of the Maldivian Archipelago. The cave is characterised by a marked change of the chemical water parameters below 50 m of depth, with a relevant increase in hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and sulfates (H2S, CO2 and SO4 2–). Thus, three stations were selected above and two below the chemo-thermocline in order to test the possible effects of the chemical variations on the meiobenthos. The difficulty of adaptation to these environmental conditions is clearly suggested by the presence of only a few dominant meiobenthic taxa in the bottom of the cave. However, meiobenthic organisms seemed more resistant than macrobenthos, which disappeared completely below this depth. The nematode assemblage was mainly represented by Xyalidae, Desmodoridae, Comesomatidae and Linhomoeidae. A high level of confinement of nematode genera at the different depths has been documented. In the upper part, their structure and biodiversity were comparable to those of the Maldivian subtidal habitats characterised by fine coralline sediments, while a notable dominance was detected in the bottom. The Blue Hole features also influenced the functional traits of the nematode assemblage with a documented increasing number of general opportunists and decrease of Maturity Index. The dominance of non-selective deposit feeders supports the hypothesis of a high amount of organic matter accumulated on the sea bottom of the cave.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2605982
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 24
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 21
social impact