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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

The meiofaunal community structure of a Mediterranean lagoon (Gialova lagoon, Ionian Sea)

  • V. E. McArthur,
  • D. Koutsoubas,
  • N. Lampadariou and
  • C. Dounas
Helgoland Marine Research54:00540007.10152


The higher taxonomic structure of a meiofaunal community was investigated in an Eastern Mediterranean lagoon (Gialova lagoon, Ionian Sea). Seven stations were sampled on a seasonal basis during 1995–1996. Stations within the lagoon were found to support a maximum of 14 meiofaunal taxa with densities ranging from 17 to over 2000 individuals per 10 cm2. Nematodes were not always the most abundant taxa, although they dominated about half of the total 28 samples. Uni- and multivariate analyses were employed to study the community structure. The distribution pattern of the meiofaunal community varied both across the lagoon and over the seasons. On the basis of the spatial differences a meiofaunal coenocline, correlated with the degree of isolation, was observed, composed of mainly two zones: one defined by the area close to the marine channel and the other the more isolated area in the inner lagoon. Meiofaunal distribution pattern was not clearly correlated to one environmental variable, but rather to many, and spatial and seasonal effects could be seen.

Key words MeiobenthosCoastal lagoonsPopulation structure and dynamicsIonian SeaEastern Mediterranean