Density of benthic meiofauna and macrofauna with relationship to depth in sandy coral reef substrate

The relationship that benthic organisms have on fish that live on the reef is well known. Some benthic organisms can be regarded as bio-indicators, acting as indicators of nutrient levels in an ecosystem. Benthic organisms are also an important food source for fish and other invertebrates. In this study, organisms from sediment cores at five different depths were analyzed. Meiofauna and macrofauna cores were collected at each depth and the organisms were identified to family level. This study provides information on where these organisms prefer to live, and if there are any depths that are more favorable or diverse. The abundance of species increased in macrofauna samples from depth 10 m to 20 m. This was after a decrease in density from 5 m, which had the highest density, to 10 m depths, which had the lowest density. This trend was also present in macrofauna species richness. The meiofauna samples also had the highest species richness and density of individuals at 5 m depth for species, but both variables decreased with increasing depths. The data shows an increase at the 5 m depth. With further testing we can better understand the relationship depth has on the diversity of the benthic zone in the southern Caribbean

This student research was retrieved from Physis: Journal of Marine Science XI (Fall 2012)19: 9-14 from CIEE Bonaire.

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