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Spatial distribution of peracarids in the intertidal zone of the Ria Formosa (Portugal)

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image of Crustaceana

The aim of the present study was to contribute to the knowledge of the poorly studied peracaridan community in the Ria Formosa system.

The Ria Formosa is the most important wet region at the southern coast of Portugal. Benthic macrofauna samples and some environmental parameters were collected fortnightly at three sampling sites, from November 1990 to December 1991, in the intertidal zone. At each site, samples were taken during low tide, at five equidistant levels between high and low water.

Results of numerical analysis indicated that distinct peracaridan groupings were associated with different sites and levels. Cluster and ordination analysis of the three sites indicated similarities among the highest level samples. The lowest level samples revealed greater dissimilarity.

Furthermore, the temporal and spatial distribution of the most abundant peracaridan species indicated the existence of biological relationships between these and their relationship to environmental factors. Thus, Cyathura carinata dominated the upper areas with the more stable food sources, related to finer sediments, all year around. During spring and summer the tanaid Apseudes latreillii was the dominant species, reaching high densities in the lower areas.

O principal objectivo da presente investigação foi contribuir para o conhecimento da comunidade de peracarídeos no sistema lagunar da Ria Formosa.

A Ria Formosa é a zona húmida mais importante no Sul de Portugal. Neste sistema foi estabelecida uma estratégia de amostragem quinzenal em três locais distintos da zona entre marés, de Novembro de 1990 a 1991. Em cada local, as amostras de bentos e de alguns parâmetros ambientais foram recolhidas durante a baixa-mar, em cinco níveis equidistantes entre si.

O resultado das análises numéricas efectuadas indicou que diferentes grupos de peracarídeos se encontram associados em diferentes locais e níveis de amostragem. Os resultados da aplicação de técnicas de análise multivariada revelaram semelhanças entre os níveis A e alguma diferenciação entre os níveis E dos três locais.

A distribuição espacio temporal dos peracarídeos mais abundantes indicou a existência de relações biológicas entre as espécies e com alguns factores ambientais. Assim, o isópode Cyathura carinata dominou as zonas próximas do supralitoral, o que parece relacionado com os sedimentos mais finos e a disponibilidade de alimento. Durante a primavera e o verão o tanaidaceo Apseudes latreillii foi a espécie dominante, atingindo os valores mais elevados de densidade no limite superior do infralitoral.


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