Effects of simulated herbivore pressure at different biogeographic levels on epifaunal communities associated with Cymodocea nodosa

Gros Gómez, Andrea
Seagrass meadows constitute a complex coastal habitat and play a key role in marine ecosystems due to the high diversity of organisms that is linked to these ecosystems. Currently, many of these ecosystems are in decline and, consequently, their biodiversity is decreasing. Vague epifaunal communities that live associated with leaves of seagrass meadows have a crucial role in transmitting the production carried out by seagrasses to higher trophic levels. In this work, it has been proposed to study the variations that may occur to epifaunal communities associated with Cymodocea nodosa due to the pressure of simulated herbivorism. This experiment was carried out at different scales to obtain biogeographical differences. The locations were Arinaga and Castillo de Romeral (in the Gran Canaria region), Aucanada and Es Barcares (in the Mallorca region). The treatment of simulated herbivorism caused variations in the total abundance of epifauna, the diversity of epifauna and in the abundance of some taxonomic groups. In addition, the directions of responses of the taxonomic groups were not uniform among localities. Moreover, the biomasses of Cymodocea nodosa and epiphytes appear to be directly related to the epifauna communities ​
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