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Interrelationships of bacteria, meiofauna and macrofauna in a Mediterranean sedimentary beach (Maremma Park, NW Italy)

TitleInterrelationships of bacteria, meiofauna and macrofauna in a Mediterranean sedimentary beach (Maremma Park, NW Italy)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsPapageorgiou, N, Moreno M, Marin V, Baiardo S, Arvanitidis C, Fabiano M, Eleftheriou A
JournalHelgoland Marine Research
KeywordsBacteria, macrobenthos, meiobenthos, Sandy beaches

Collelungo beach (Maremma Park, NW Italy), was sampled quantitatively for macrofauna, meiofauna and bacteria in May 2003; several physicochemical variables and variables associated with food availability and sediment structure were also measured. Replicated samples were collected from three sites representing natural conditions, an erosion regime, and the influence of the Ombrone River, respectively, as well as from four stations each located in the surf and sublittoral zones. Both uni- and multivariate techniques were used to assess the benthic community structure and the associated environmental variables. Different diversity indices revealed no pattern; in contrast, multivariate techniques applied on the macrobenthic fauna and the polychaete taxocommunity distinguished between the sites located in natural and eroding conditions from the one located nearby the discharges of the Ombrone river. Τhe community patterns deriving from meio- and macrofauna are clearly divergent. The overall benthic faunal community appears to be influenced by both groups of organisms. The patterns of the meio- and macrofaunal communities seem to be affected synergistically by a number of environmental variables, in accordance with the multicausal environmental severity hypothesis. Meiofaunal patterns are more often correlated with bacteria and the protein concentration than are macrofaunal patterns, indicating a potential utilization of bacteria as a food source by the meiofaunal organisms. Total bacterial numbers are associated with the macrofaunal pattern under the erosion regime, probably as a consequence of competition for food between macrofauna and meiofauna.