Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 3, pp 405–420 | Cite as

Temporal variation of Tubularia indivisa (Cnidaria, Tubulariidae) and associated epizoites on artificial habitat communities in the North Sea

  • Vincent ZintzenEmail author
  • Alain Norro
  • Claude Massin
  • Jérôme Mallefet
Research Article


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.


Biomass Species Richness Hydroid Total Suspended Matter Mooring Line 
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.



The authors wish to thank the crews of the R/V Zeeleeuw and R/V Belgica for their help during the sampling campaigns and to Céline Delforge for the great help during the sorting process. It is also our pleasure to thank all the people who helped collecting the samples: Drs Y. Laitat, A. Simon, D. Delbare, E. Vanden Bergh, T. Schils, Mss C. Delforge and R. Gyssens and Mrs P.B. Demoulin, G. Rooms, D. Marsham, F. Cray, M. Van Espen, Y. Verkemping, M. Backx, J.P. De Blauwe, J. Haelters, F. Hernandez, F. Darchambeau, G. Van Hoydonck, A. Vanhaelen, R. Knuts & P. Van de Steen. Dr Christine Vanderlinden helped with the English. This study has been financially supported by a ‘plan Action II’ grant (contract No. WI/36/C04) from the Belgian Science Policy. The second author is grateful to MUMM BMDC for data, REMSEM group for the availability of satellite data and Model groups for model results availability. His participation to this study has been funded by BEWREMABI project (Belgian Science Policy). We also wish to thank the reviewers for their fruitful remarks which greatly improved the quality of this paper. This research was done within the laws of the country.

Supplementary material

227_2007_819_MOESM1_ESM.doc (286 kb)
Temporal variation of Tubularia indivisa (Cnidaria, Tubulariidae) and associated epizoites on artificial habitat communities in the North Sea


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Zintzen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alain Norro
    • 3
  • Claude Massin
    • 1
  • Jérôme Mallefet
    • 2
  1. 1.Royal Belgian Institute of Natural SciencesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Biology LaboratoryUniversity of LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  3. 3.Royal Belgian Institute of Natural SciencesManagement Unit of the North Sea Mathematical ModelsBrusselsBelgium

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