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Nematode diversity in different microhabitats in a mangrove region



Taciana K. Pinto, Unidade de Ensino Penedo/Campus Arapiraca/UFAL, Av. Beira Rio s/n, Centro, Penedo, AL, Brazil.



Mangroves are highly productive environments that play important ecological and socioeconomic roles; however, they have been impacted to different degrees in most countries worldwide. The knowledge of which organisms inhabit this environment and their ecological interactions is the first step towards its conservation. The natural variability of environmental factors in mangroves provides numerous niches available to different species. Meiofauna have patchy patterns of distribution that are related to the availability of resources. Hence, meiofauna are expected to present a high diversity of different taxa occupying the different microhabitats offered by mangroves. This work aims to test the hypothesis that the assemblage structure of Nematoda varies significantly among mangrove microhabitats and to contribute knowledge on the meiofauna diversity in mangrove environments. This work was carried out in a mangrove region at Pernambuco state, Northeastern Brazil. Qualitative samples were collected in nine microhabitats which show different characteristics mainly in terms of presence of vegetation or another organism and sediment grain size. Univariate and multivariate analysis were applied to Nematoda genera abundance data. Our results demonstrate the existence of significant differences among microhabitats regarding nematode assemblage structure corroborating the hypothesis. Different Nematoda assemblages are present in at least seven microhabitats. These assemblages are composed of nematode genera with different trophic and morphological features, demonstrating a strong relationship between morphological diversity and ecological plasticity. Furthermore, this study also demonstrates the importance of the conservation of this ecosystem and its attributes.

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