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Keywords:

  • Associated fauna;
  • macrobenthos;
  • Northeastern Brazil;
  • Ophiuroidea;
  • reef ecosystem

Abstract

The species of Ophiuroidea that commonly occur on coral reefs can be found on different substrates and associated with other organisms including algae, sponges, and corals. This study evaluated the temporal variability of the ophiuroid fauna associated with the alga Amphiroa fragilissima on the Ponta Verde coral reef on the coast of Maceió in Alagoas, Northeastern Brazil. Replicate samples of algal substrate were collected at low tide during in the dry and rainy seasons, over a 10-year period, from 1998–2007. Eight species of Ophiuroidea were identified, with a total of 8736 individuals associated with A. fragilissima. The most dominant and frequent species of Ophiuroidea were Amphipholis squamata and Ophiactis savignyi; all other species were rare. Cluster analysis and nMDS detected four groups, with two groups each occurring only in summer or winter periods, as well as other groups occurring in both periods.