The structure and taxonomic composition of sublittoral meiofauna assemblages as an indicator of the status of marine environments

Michaela Schratzberger, Michael Gee, Hubert Rees, Sian Boyd, Caroline Wall

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96 Citations (Scopus)


A study was conducted between 1997 and 1999 to investigate meiofauna assemblages from selected inshore and offshore locations around the UK coast. The main objective was to relate the differences in meiofauna distribution patterns to a number of measured environmental variables and to establish more clearly the sensitivity of meiofauna communities to anthropogenic disturbance. Results from univariate and multivariate data analyses show that distinct spatial differences in species distribution patterns exist and that these correlate with the natural physical characteristics and concentrations of trace metals in the sediment. Abundance and diversity of meiofauna assemblages were generally higher offshore than inshore and this difference can be attributed to both natural processes and anthropogenic impacts. The inclusion of meiofauna in applied monitoring programmes offers the potential for improving the resolution of the spatial extent of anthropogenic impacts over that achievable from macrofauna investigations alone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969–980
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes

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