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Title: Macroinvertebrates communities associated with the decomposition of Phragmites australis and Fucus vesiculosus in transitional systems
Author: Lopes, Marta Lobão
Martins, Patrícia Tavares
Rodrigues, Ana Maria
Quintino, Victor
Keywords: Fucus vesiculosus
Functional indicators
Macroinvertebrate communities
Phragmites Australis
Ria de Aveiro
Salinity gradient
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: The decomposition rates of a macrophyte (Phragmites australis) and an alga (Fucus vesiculosus) and the associated macrofauna communities were studied along a full salinity gradient, using the leaf-bag technique and four sampling times (days 3, 7, 15 and 30). A control was set up using an artificial substrate. A subsequent study conducted in the mesohaline part of the salinity gradient also included empty bags as procedure control. The decay rates of the alga and the macrophyte were significantly different, the alga decaying faster, and presented an opposite trend along the salinity gradient, with the faster decay rate for reed in the less saline areas and for the alga in the euhaline part of the gradient. The fauna associated with the decaying and the artificial substrate showed equally well the benthic succession from the marine to the freshwater areas, in all sampling times. Arthropods were dominant in all substrates along the estuarine gradient and replaced by annelids in freshwater. No significant differences were found between the benthic communities associated with P. australis and F. vesiculosus, despite the strong differences in the decay rates, suggesting that these do not seem to be primarily related to the benthic colonizers. Although the organic substrates sustained a more abundant fauna, the benthic communities did not show significant differences between the organic and the artificial substrates, especially at the level of the species composition, suggesting that the macroinvertebrates may colonize both substrates to feed on the biofilm and/or to seek shelter. The strongly impoverished benthic community sampled by the empty bags reinforced this idea.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.seares.2013.03.008
ISSN: 1385-1101
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