Spatial variation in meiofaunal abundance of some coralline beaches of Mauritius
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Abundance of metazoan meiofauna was examined at 12 coralline sandy beaches of Mauritius island during September-October, 1987. Beach sediment comprised of moderately well sorted sand particles (Mz=0.53-2.80 phi ; x=1.70). Population density of meiofauna (in the top 5 cm sediment) ranged from 133 to 1187 individuals 10 cm sup(-2) and was dominated by nematodes (32%), oligochaets (15.7%), harpacticoids (14%) ostracodes (13.5%) and forminiferans (11.0%). Faunal abundance varied greatly between the sampling sites and were poorly correlated with sediment granulometry. Contribution of meiofauna to the secondary production was high. Based on the present study Mauritius beaches can be classified as moderate in terms of the benthic biomass (159-1479 mg m sup(-2); x bar = 566 plus or minus 1049 dry wt.).
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