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Temporal variation of Tubularia indivisa (Cnidaria, Tubulariidae) and associated epizoites on artificial habitat communities in the North Sea
Zintzen, V.; Norro, A.; Massin, C.; Mallefet, J. (2008). Temporal variation of Tubularia indivisa (Cnidaria, Tubulariidae) and associated epizoites on artificial habitat communities in the North Sea. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 153(3): 405-420.
In: Marine Biology: International Journal on Life in Oceans and Coastal Waters. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Epibionts > Epizoites
    Structures > Hydraulic structures > Offshore structures > Underwater structures > Habitat > Underwater habitats
    Temporal variations
    Tubularia indivisa Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
    ANE, Belgium, Belgian Continental Shelf (BCS) [Marine Regions]; ANE, North Sea [Marine Regions]

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    We have analyzed the composition, diversity, density and biomass of a temporal series of samples taken in a Tubularia indivisa community, which dominates a shipwreck in the North Sea waters (N 51°23',730-E 02°29',790, 17 nautical miles from the coast, 30 m depth). This shipwreck has structures emerging up to 8 m above the seabed. Water temperature ranged from 4.2°C in March to 20.3°C in August. Salinity showed few variations around 33.9 psu. Bottom tidal currents followed a semi-diurnal cycle and were preferentially NE oriented with 84% of them in the range 0.25-0.75 m s-1. The mean value for total suspended matter was 6.2 mg l-1 with large variations on a monthly scale. The species richness of samples varied from 15 in October to 42 in August with a mean value of 33 species. Diversity indices were higher during autumn and winter because of the strong dominance of a few crustacean species during the warmer months. The total density of individuals ranged from 6,500 ind m-2 in October to 445,800 ind m-2 in July, most of these individuals belonging to the amphipod species Jassa herdmani. The biomass of the T. indivisa community varied from 9 g AFDW m-2 in October to 1,106 g AFDW m-2 in July, with T. indivisa itself constituting between 59 and 82% of the total biomass. The biomass of T. indivisa was positively correlated with species richness and with the density of 23% of the species identified on this community, suggesting that T. indivisa plays an important structural role in this habitat. This was further confirmed by the number of species associated with T. indivisa which was generally superior to 55% of the sorted species. Multivariate analysis indicated strong differences between spring/summer-autumn/winter assemblages mostly but not solely due to the abundance patterns of species. These findings support the conclusion that shipwrecks in Belgian waters allow the development of assemblages dominated by a high biomass of T. indivisa which in turn provides shelter for high densities and biomass of epizoites. These assemblages will further show large monthly variations in densities and composition due to large variation in T. indivisa biomass under an apparent repetitive annual cycle.

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