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Marine Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 335–348 | Cite as

Comparative species richness, composition, and abundance of invertebrates in Caribbean seagrass (Thalassia testudinum) meadows (Panamá)

  • K. L. HeckJr.
Article

Abstract

The results of a year-long study in which epibenthic invertebrates were collected monthly from seagrass (Thalassia testudinum) meadows along the Caribbean coast of Panamá and the Panamá Canal Zone are described in this paper. Differences in species composition and abundance among sites were primarily due to the proximity of surrounding habitats, especially coral reefs, which contain a number of species that utilize the seagrass meadows. In contrast to many previous characterizations of tropical marine habitats, important seasonal fluctuations in both species number and abundance took place at each of the sites. Data on breeding activity among several species of decapod crustaceans indicate year-round reproduction, although considerable seasonal differences occur in the percentage of ovigerous females. These interspecific differences in observed reproductive output may be explained by differences in life-cycle length, a factor not often considered in discussions of seasonal breeding patterns in tropical marine invertebrates. Overall species composition was qualitatively similar to that reported in comparable studies of tropical and subtropical seagrass meadows elsewhere, although caridean shrimp and xanthid orab species were reduced in number and total abundance were much lower than in previous studies.

Keywords

Coral Reef Seagrass Meadow Decapod Crustacean Ovigerous Female Breeding Activity 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. L. HeckJr.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboa, Canal Zone
  3. 3.Benedict Estuarine Research LaboratoryAcademy of Natural Science of PhiladelphiaBenedictUSA

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