Distribution of Meiofaunal biodiversity and abundance in relation to development stage of the Mangrove Forest
Abstract: Mangrove ecosystems constitute a valuable economic resource harbouring a wide diversity of organisms and operating an essential provider of nutrients for adjoining marine ecosystems. The meiobenthic fauna (i.e. small benthic invertebrates) plays an important role in the food chain and has proven to be a useful indicator on environmental stressors within the mangrove forest. This study is conducted to investigate the relationship between meiobenthic fauna and mangrove development stage. The distribution, density and biodiversity were measured in the Longhai Mangrove Nature Reserve, southwest of Xiamen, China. Three replicate samples were collected from three planted mangrove forests at different age stages. Additionally, a control site was chosen, constituted by a mudflat with no observed vegetation. Significant patterns were recognized regarding biodiversity, which increased from the lower age to the higher, at a level of p = 0.004 (R2 = 0.616). Nematodes constituted the most abundant group >90 %, followed by oligogchaetes 1.5-5.6 %. The control site appeared to have the lowest number of groups observed (total 3) and was found in significantly lower level of biodiversity compared to the highest age of the mangrove sites. Considering older mangrove forests indicate higher biodiversity this may indicate the importance of preserving the presence of aging mangrove ecosystems.
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