BENTHIC MEIOFAUNA :
Meiofauna consist of microscopically small, motile animals (size ranging from 44 to 500 µm) occurring in and on soft substrates of both marine and freshwater ecosystems. They are known for their high abundance within coastal ecosystems. Nematodes generally dominate meiofauna communities in coastal intertidal ecosystems, often followed by benthic copepods as the second most abundant group. Nematodes occur from polar to tropical regions and from sandy beaches to deep-sea sediments. Their abundance is very high in intertidal soft-bottom coastal ecosystems, however this abundance can be quite variable (105 to 108 individuals.m-2). Benthic copepods typically occur in habitats with medium-to-fine sand, where their abundance can be slightly higher than those of nematodes. Other groups of meiofauna, such as ostracods and polychaetes, are generally less abundant in soft-bottom intertidal habitats.
BENTHIC MEIOFAUNA STUDIED IN THE TEAM BIOFEEL :
Researchers from the team BIOFEEL mostly study two major groups of meiofauna : the nematodes, and the benthic copepods. Nematodes are characterized by four major feeding types, which biomass change depending on abiotic and biotic parameters : selective deposit feeders (which mostly rely on bacteria), non-selective deposit feeders, epigrowh feeders (which mostly rely on benthic microalgae, particularly diatoms) and omnivores/carnivores. Species from these different groups can be identified using the shape of their mouth, as this shape is closely related to their feeding behavior. Benthic copepods are generally dominated by harpacticoid and cyclopoid copepods. If nematodes can migrate into the sediment, copepods very mostly occur in the very first mm of the sediment.
RESEARCH CARRIED OUT IN THE TEAM BIOFEEL ABOUT BENTHIC MEIOFAUNA :
Determination of the food resources used by nematodes and benthic copepods using trophic markers (stable isotopes, fatty acids).
Determination of community structure of nematode assemblages.
RESEARCHERS FROM THE TEAM BIOFEEL WORKING ON BENTHIC MEIOFAUNA :
Luuk van der Heijden
REFERENCE PUBLICATIONS :
- Giere O., 2009. Meiobenthology. The microscopic fauna in aquatic sediments. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 328 p.
- Heip C., Vincx M., Vranken G., 1985. The ecology of marine nematodes. Oceanography and Marine Biology. An Annual Review 23, 399-489.
- Hicks G.R.F., Coull B.C., 1983. The ecology of marine meiobenthic harpacticoid copepods. Oceanography and Marine Biology. An Annual Review 21, 67-175.
- Moens T., Bergtold M., Traunspurger W., 2006. Feeding ecology of free-living benthic nematodes. In : Freshwater nematodes : ecology and taxonomy. Abebe E., Andrassy I., Traunspurger W. (Eds.), Wallingford & Cambridge, USA, CABI Publishing : 105-131.
MAJOR PUBLICATIONS OF THE TEAM BIOFEEL :
- Dupuy C., Nguyen Thanh H., Mizrahi D., Jourde J., Bréret M., Agogué H., Beaugeard L., Bocher P., 2015. Structure and functional characteristics of the meiofauna community in highly unstable intertidal mudbanks in Suriname and French Guiana (North Atlantic coast of South America). Continental Shelf Research 110, 39-47.
- Lebreton B., Richard P., Galois R., Radenac G., Brahmia A., Colli G., Grouazel M., André C., Guillou G., Blanchard G.F., 2012. Food sources used by sediment meiofauna in an intertidal Zostera noltii seagrass bed : a seasonal stable isotope study. Marine Biology 159, 1537-1550.
- Pascal P.-Y., Dupuy C., Richard P., Haubois A.-G., Niquil N., 2008. Influence of environment factors on bacterial ingestion rate of the deposit-feeder Hydrobia ulvae and comparison with meiofauna. Journal of Sea Research 60, 151-156.
- Pascal P.-Y., Dupuy C., Richard P., Mallet C., Armynot du Chatelet E., Niquil N., 2009. Seasonal variation in consumption of benthic bacteria by meio- and macrofauna in an intertidal mudflat. Limnology and Oceanography 54, 1048-1059.
- Rzeznik-Orignac J., Boucher G., Fichet D., Richard P., 2008. Stable isotope analysis of food source and trophic position of intertidal nematodes and copepods. Marine Ecology Progress Series 359, 145-150.
- Rzeznik-Orignac J., Fichet D., Boucher G., 2003. Spatio-temporal structure of the nematode assemblages of the Brouage mudflat (Marennes Oléron, France). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 58, 77-88.
- Rzeznik-Orignac J., Fichet D., Boucher G., 2004. Extracting massive numbers of nematodes from muddy marine deposits : efficiency and selectivity. Nematology 6, 605-616.
- Van der Heijden L.H., Rzeznik-Orignac J., Asmus R.M., Fichet D., Bréret M., Kadel P., Beaugeard L., Asmus H., Lebreton B., 2018. How do food sources drive meiofauna community structure in soft-bottom coastal food webs ? Marine Biology 165, 166.