• J. Vanaverbeke
  • M. Steyaert
  • K.E.R. Soetaert
  • V. Rousseau
  • D. van Gansbeke
  • J-Y. Parent
  • M. Vincx
The response of nematode communities to the sedimentation of a spring phytoplankton bloom in a sandy, well-oxygenated sediment at a single station (station 330) in the Southern North Sea was investigated monthly from early March to July 1999. Both structural (nematode density, diversity, vertical distribution and community composition) and functional (feeding type distributions, number of species within feeding groups) characteristics showed considerable changes shortly after the arrival of fresh organic material at the sediment surface. The general increase in numerical densities and diversity was related to changes within the groups of selective deposit-feeding and epistrate-feeding nematodes. It is hypothesised that sedimentation and subsequent remineralisation of fresh organic matter during the spring phytoplankton bloom result in an increase of suitable food items (both living and dead). This, combined with the availability of oxygen, creates conditions in which many nematode species can co-exist. [KEYWORDS: Nematodes; Benthic-pelagic coupling; Functional and structural diversity; North Sea]
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Journal publication date2004

ID: 365247