Suprabenthic amphipods from the littoral zone of Barlovento, Venezuela: spatial distribution and seasonal variation

in Crustaceana
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Peracarid crustaceans are a very diverse benthic group and one of the dominant taxa within the suprabenthic community. The Barlovento beaches in Venezuela are characterised by large inputs of organic matter and an important assemblage of amphipods has been observed to thrive in this area. In this paper we describe the species composition of this amphipod assemblage along with their spatial and temporal variation and relationship with some environmental variables on four beaches (Agua Sal, Los Timones, Las Cabañas, Valle Seco). Results showed no significant differences in the amphipod community structure and total density of organisms regardless of the season (rainy and dry). From the 7569 amphipods collected, a total of 20 species were identified within 14 families and 17 genera. The species Apohyale media (Dana, 1953), Metatiron tropakis (J. L. Barnard, 1972) and Nototropis minikoi (A. O. Walker, 1905) were the most abundant species in terms of density, and the last two also in terms of frequency of occurrence. Differences in biomass were not significant at any level (season, beach and their interactions); however, the highest amphipod biomass throughout the year was observed at Valle Seco Beach with peaks in January, August and December coinciding with large accumulations of bryozoans and wood debris. Amphipod density and biomass had low correlation values with the environmental variables; the material caught in the suprabenthos net being the most common variable influencing the community.

Suprabenthic amphipods from the littoral zone of Barlovento, Venezuela: spatial distribution and seasonal variation

in Crustaceana



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    Principal component analysis of physical and chemical variables of the water column and sediment by month and beaches. VS, Valle Seco; AS, Agua Sal; LC, Las Cabañas; LT, Los Timones. TSS, total suspended solids; OSM, organic suspended matter; IM, inorganic suspended matter; DO, dissolved oxygen concentration; OM, organic matter in sediment; TOC, total organic carbon.

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    Average values of the environmental variables in the sampled beaches by month. A, dissolved oxygen (mg/l); B, percentage of oxygen saturation (%); C, temperature (°C); D, salinity (ppm); E, pH; F, total suspended solids (mg/l). Vertical bars indicate standard error.

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    Non-metric multidimentional scale ordination (n-MDS) for the combination of factors beach-month. VS, Valle Seco; AS, Agua Sal; LC, Las Cabañas; LT, Los Timones.

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    Temporal variation in the average density (ind/m2) of the three most abundant amphipod species in the sampled beaches. Vertical bars indicate standard error.

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    Average amphipod biomass (g/m2) in the sampled beaches by month. Vertical bars indicate standard error.

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