The effect of macroalgal blooms on the abundance and community structure of intertidal sediment meiofauna was studied using an in situ enclosure experiments (Bay of Cádiz, Spain). Meiofaunal abundance (3500–41,000 ind 10 cm−2) was three to sevenfold higher in the presence of macroalgae. Nematoda were the dominant taxon both in Control (52–82%) and Macroalgae plots (92–96%), followed by Harpacticoida Copepoda and Ostracoda. Non-metric Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS) analysis clearly separated the meiofaunal community from Control and Macroalgae plots. Organic matter, organic carbon, total nitrogen, chlorophyll a and freeze-lysable inorganic nutrients were higher in Macroalgae plots, and were highly correlated with the horizontal MDS axis separating Control and Macroalgae meiofaunal communities. Meiofaunal abundance and taxonomic composition in the Bay of Cádiz seem to be bottom–up controlled either through a grazer system based on microphytobenthos in bare sediments or through a decomposer system in macroalgae affected sediments.
Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2013, Vol 70, Issue 1-2, p. 10-17
Meiofauna; macroalgal bloom; intertidal sediment; Bay of Cadiz