whalebone bay bermuda       Meiofauna Of The Atlantic Shores
Ecology of Atlantic Shores
Introduction to Meiofauna

Bermuda Project
Materials &
Methods

Observations &
Results

Discussion

Nahant,Gloucester
Project
Materials &
Methods

Observations &
Results

Discussion


Meiofauna Movies


Ecology Of Alantic Shores Class Homepage


References(Works Cited)

Introduction:
    Meiofauna are the tiny invertebrates living within the sediment of the sea. The term Meiofauna is derived from the Greek word "meio" meaning smaller (Funch,2002). The size of Meiofauna ranges between 50um and 500um as compared to the size of macro or large fauna.Copepod

Meiofauna can be found in a wide diversity of habitats. They can occur in both freshwater and marine habitats, from high on the beach to the deep sea. Meiofauna is found in sediments of all kinds from the softest of muds to the coarsest  gravels, and all those sediments in between. Meiofauna also can occupy several above sediment habitats like rooted vegetation, moss, macroalgae fronds, sea ice and various animal structures( coral crevices, worm tubes, echinoderm spines)(Funch, 2002).

     Sediment size is a factor that affects tMeiofaunahe abundance and species composition of meiofauna organisms (Funch, 2002).  Nematodes and Harpacticoid Copepods are usually the most abundant meiofauna occurring in the sediment. Nematodes usually dominate the meiofauna in "sediment biotopes comprising greater than 50% of the total meiofauna. Harpacticoid copepods are usually second in abundance but may dominate in some coarse grained sediments (Funch, 2002)."

Five main species that were looked at in Bermuda and Massachusettes were Nematodes, Harpacticoid Copepods, Flatworms, Ostracoda, and Polychetes.  Nematodes are the most numerous multicellular animals on earth that have a clear skin and tend to move in a sideways like motion.  Harpacticoid Copepods are small crustaceans in the sediment. Flatworms are flat or round and move along by gliding on silia.  Ostracods are Metazoa and belong to the phylum Arthropoda. An important distinguishing feature Ostracods share with other arthropods is that they are bilaterally symmetric. Polychetes are bristle worms with long bristle like hairs hanging off of the worms.

These species were chosen because they were the most abundant species of meiofauna present, and the easiest to identify.  The diversity of meiofauna was examined to see which of the beaches was the most diverse, Whalebone vs. Tobacco(Bermuda), and Nahant vs. Niles(Massachusettes). Due to time and equipment availability sediment sizes were only looked at in Massachusettes in order to compare meiofauna distribution to sediment size.

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