Tropical seaweed beds are important habitats for mobile invertebrate epifauna
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Marine macrophyte habitats in temperate regions are known to provide productive habitats for numerous organisms, with their abundant and diverse invertebrate epifaunal assemblages constituting important linkages between benthic primary production and higher trophic levels. While it is commonly also recognized that certain vegetated habitats in the tropics, such as seagrass meadows, can harbour diverse epifaunal assemblages and may constitute important feeding grounds to fish, little is known about the epifaunal assemblages associated with tropical seaweed beds.
We investigated the abundance, biomass and taxon richness of the mobile epifaunal community of tropical East African seaweed beds, as well as the abundance of invertivorous fish, and compared it with that of closely situated seagrass meadows, to establish the ecological role of seaweed beds as habitat for epifauna as well as potential feeding grounds for fish. The results showed that seaweed beds had a higher abundance of mobile epifauna (10565±5954 vs 3742±2788 per m2) than seagrass meadows, as well as a higher biomass (35.9±46.8 vs 1.9±2.1 g per m2) and taxon richness (32.7±11.8 vs 19.1±6.3 taxa per sample). Additionally, the high abundance of invertivorous fish found in seaweed beds indicates that they act as important feeding grounds to several fish species in the region.
Research subject Marine Ecotoxicology; Marine Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129254OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-129254DiVA: diva2:920614
FunderSida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SWE2010-052