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The Effect of Environment On Marine Nematode Assemblages as Indicated By the Maturity Index

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For more content, see Nematology.

The nematode Maturity Index (MI) has been proposed as a means of detecting disturbance in marine and terrestrial biotopes. However, few studies have dealt with the effect of the environment on MI. Using data taken from an extensive study of a polluted estuary, a number of variables were investigated to determine their effect on the MI. Sediment median particle diameter, nematode population density and the heavy metal elements analysed had no effect on values of the MI. However, number of species present in a sample, distance from pollution source and proportion of different nematode feeding groups, especially feeding groups 1B and 2A, had significant effects on values of the MI. The Maturity Index was found to be a robust index and in general agreement with values derived from traditional indices.

Affiliations: 1: Zoology Department, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, Scotland, UK


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