Spatiotemporal variations of benthic macrofaunal community in the Xiamen Amphioxus Nature Reserve, eastern South China Sea

Abstract

In order to realize the spatiotemporal variations of benthic macrofaunal communities at the “Amphioxus Sand” habitat, six surveys including four seasons and three consecutive summers (i.e., 2014, 2015 and 2016) were conducted in two core sites, i.e., Huangcuo (HC) and Nanxian-Shibaxian (NX), in the Xiamen Amphioxus Nature Reserve in China. A total of 155 species of macrofauna were recorded, therein, polychaetes were dominant in terms of species number and density. Significant spatiotemporal variations of macrofaunal communities were observed. The density of polychaetes and the biomass of molluscs in the HC site were higher than those in the NX site. Macrofauna were more diverse and abundant in the cold seasons (winter and spring) than that in the warm seasons (summer and autumn). The annual variations of macrofaunal communities may be attributed to the changes in sediment texture among the three years of the survey. The variations in macrofaunal communities were mainly related to the proportion of polychaetes within the community. In addition, the density of amphioxus (include Branchiostoma japonicum and B. belcheri) was negatively correlated to that of polychaetes, bivalves, and crustaceans. Amphioxus was less likely to be found in the sediments with higher silt and clay content. Five biotic indices including Margaref’s richness index (d), Peilou’s evenness index (J’), Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H’), AMBI and M-AMBI were calculated in the present study. AMBI seems suitable in assessing benthic health at the “Amphioxus Sand” habitat, and a potential risk of ecological health in Xiamen Amphioxus Nature Reserve should be aware.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Lulu Yan, Guoqiang Li, Jiali Zeng and Wenjuan Tan for their assistance in sample collection. We are also very grateful to Hans-Uwe Dahms for English improvement of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lizhe Cai.

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Foundation item: The National Key Research and Development Program of China under contract No. 2016YFC0502904; the Public Science and Technology Research Funds Projects of Oceans under contract No. 201305030. “Corresponding author, e]cailizhe@xmu.edu.cn

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Rao, Y., Cai, L., Li, W. et al. Spatiotemporal variations of benthic macrofaunal community in the Xiamen Amphioxus Nature Reserve, eastern South China Sea. Acta Oceanol. Sin. 39, 10–18 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13131-020-1587-z

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Key words

  • spatiotemporal variation
  • Amphioxus Sand
  • benthic macrofaunal community
  • Branchiostoma
  • biotic index