Nematode assemblages from Avicennia marina leaf litter in a temperate mangrove forest in south-eastern Australia
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Meiofauna from Avicennia marina leaf litter in a temperate mangrove forest was enumerated, and the nematode assemblages compared on the bases of leaf colour (used as a guide to leaf age) and shore horizon where samples were collected. Twenty-one putative nematode species were collected from 48 leaf litter samples. Univariate analyses indicated that neither the colour of the leaf nor the shore horizon significantly affected abundance of nematodes. However, of the four (2×2) treatment groups, rarefaction curves revealed highest diversity on brown leaves from under the shade of the tree canopy (H′=0.751±0.126 SE, n=17). Species diversity of leaf litter nematodes was lower in this temperate mangrove system than reported from tropical mangrove studies. ANOSIM tests confirmed a significant effect of shore horizon on nematode assemblages. The dominant feeding group among nematodes was non-selective deposit feeders (7/21 species, but 77% of all nematodes). Epigrowth grazers were represented by 8/21 species of nematodes, but only 19% of the total number. Excised leaves became skeletonised by about 15 weeks. Shorter temporal scales of life cycles of nematodes compared with leaf degradation, and the dynamic nature of epibiontic assemblages, probably explain the similar assemblage structure on yellow and brown leaves.
KeywordsLeaf Litter Meiofauna Rarefaction Curve Assemblage Structure Deposit Feeder
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