Received: 12 Mar 2012 – Discussion started: 24 Apr 2012
Abstract. Spatial and temporal biodiversity patterns of the meiobenthos were studied for the first time in Daya Bay, which is a tropical semi-enclosed basin located in the South China Sea. The abundance, biomass, and composition of the meiobenthos and the basic environmental factors in the bay were investigated. The following 19 taxonomic groups were represented in the meiofauna: Nematoda, Copepoda, Polychaeta, Oligochaeta, Kinorhyncha, Gastrotricha, Ostracoda, Bivalvia, Turbellaria, Nemertinea, Sipuncula, Hydroida, Amphipoda, Cumacea, Halacaroidea, Priapulida, Echinodermata, Tanaidacea, and Rotifera. Total abundance and biomass of the meiobenthos showed great spatial and temporal variation, with mean values of 993.57 ± 455.36 ind cm−2 and 690.51 ± 210.64 μg 10 cm−2, respectively. Nematodes constituted 95.60 % of the total abundance and thus had the greatest effect on meiofauna quantity and distribution, followed by copepods (1.55 %) and polychaetes (1.39 %). Meiobenthos abundance was significantly negatively correlated with water depth at stations (r=−0.747, P<0.05) and significantly negatively correlated with silt-clay content (r=−0.516, P<0.01) and medium diameter (r=−0.499, P<0.01) of the sediment. Similar results were found for correlations of biomass and abundance of nematodes with environmental parameters. Polychaete abundance was positively correlated with the bottom water temperature (r=0.456, P<0.01). Meiobenthos abundance differed significantly among seasons (P<0.05), although no significant difference among stations and the interaction of station × season was detected by two-way ANOVA. In terms of vertical distribution, most of the meiobenthos was found in the surface layer of sediment. This pattern was apparent for nematodes and copepods, but a vertical distribution pattern for polychaetes was not as obvious. Based on the biotic indices and analyses of their correlations and variance, the diversity of this community was likely to be influenced by environmental variations.
How to cite. Tang, L., Li, H. X., and Yan, Y.: Temporal and spatial distribution of the meiobenthic community in Daya Bay, South China Sea, Ocean Sci. Discuss., 9, 1853–1885, https://doi.org/10.5194/osd-9-1853-2012, 2012.