Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

Marine meiofauna of a New York City beach, with particular reference to tardigrada


Distribution and abundance of meiofauna of a New York City beach were studied from June 1971 through January 1972. Core samples were taken from five stations along a transect running from mean high water to mean low water and to a depth of 5 cm from the surface of the substratum. Environmental variables measured included particle size distribution, temperature, salinity and interstitial water content.

The substratum consists of well-sorted quartz sand, ranging from fine (0·23 mm) to coarse (0·95 mm) grades. Generally, variation of other physical factors remained at a minimum during each sampling period. Both temperature and salinity were largely influenced by adjacent offshore sea water. Organic content averaged 0·61% by weight.

Nematodes were the dominant taxon, averaging 85·5% of the total meiofauna collected between June 1971 and January 1972. Highest numbers were observed during August; lowest during June. Tardigrades were the second most abundant group, comprising 6% of the total meiofauna. I observed maximum numbers of tardigrades in June and minimum numbers in September. I found two species of tardigrades, Batillipes mirus Richters 1909 and B. pennaki Marcus 1946. B. mirus was dominant during June, August and January, while B. pennaki prevailed during September and November. Other taxonomic groups comprised the remaining 8·5% of the total meiofauna.

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Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science

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