Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 5, pp 1039–1050 | Cite as

Colonization and early succession on artificial hard substrata by meiofauna

  • Verônica da Fonsêca-Genevois
  • Paul J. Somerfield
  • Maria Helena Baeta Neves
  • Ricardo Coutinho
  • Tom MoensEmail author
Research Article


An experiment was undertaken at Farol Island, Brazil, to examine colonization of bare aluminium surfaces by microbes and meiofauna. It was hypothesized that a primary source of meiofaunal colonists was sediment resuspended during upwelling events, two of which occurred during the experiment. Microbial biofilms formed on the experimental substrata within 1 day, and continued to develop throughout the experimental period. Among meiofaunal groups copepods also appeared on the first day, and nematodes on the second. Meiofaunal community structure developed in three main phases: an initial phase of 2 days, characterized by low abundances of copepods; a second phase during the first upwelling period characterized by higher abundances of copepods and also by turbellarians; and a third phase from day 13 onwards characterized by relatively stable abundances of a range of taxa including copepods, cirripedes, nematodes and ostracods. Nematode assemblages also developed in three phases, but with different timings coinciding with upwelling events: an initial phase, from the beginning of the experiment to day 9, characterized by few species and low (or no) abundances; a second phase following the first upwelling characterized by moderate abundances of Chromadorina, Chromadorella, Daptonema and Euchromadora sp. 3; a third phase following the second upwelling period (from day 26 onwards) in which Daptonema disappeared and the assemblage was characterized by moderate to high abundances of Euchromadora (species 1 and 2) and Chromadorella. Although shifts in nematode assemblage structure coincided with upwelling events no evidence was found for sediments being the primary source of colonizers on the aluminium substrata, in contrast to our hypothesis.


Meiofauna Nematode Community Harpacticoid Copepod Putative Species Harpacticoids 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



V.F.G. acknowledges a postdoctoral grant from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and CAPES (Comissão de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal Docente). T.M. is a postdoctoral fellow with the Flemish Fund for Scientific Research (F.W.O.). P.J.S. was funded in part by the UK Natural Environment Research Council, and this work is a contribution to the core strategic research programme of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Parts of this work were funded by the UK Defra through project ME 3109. We thank the Instituto de Estudos do Mar Almirante Paulo Moreira for providing the necessary infrastructure for this work. F. Figueiredo and R. Valença are gratefully acknowledged for their help in sampling, N. Smol for help with nematode identifications, and V.M. Monteiro Ribas for help with identifications of ‘zooplankton’.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Verônica da Fonsêca-Genevois
    • 1
  • Paul J. Somerfield
    • 2
  • Maria Helena Baeta Neves
    • 3
  • Ricardo Coutinho
    • 3
  • Tom Moens
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de ZoologiaUniversidade Federal de PernambucoPernambucoBrazil
  2. 2.Plymouth Marine LaboratoryPlymouthUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Instituto de Estudos do Mar Almirante Paulo Moreira. Rua KiotoRio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Biology Department, Marine Biology SectionGhent UniversityGentBelgium

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