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Title: The dynamics of invasion and use of riches by meiobenthic harpacticoid copepods
Author: Hockin, D. C.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1981
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Field and laboratory experiments were conducted to test the predictions of several models of diversity maintenance applied to intertidal communities of estuarine harpacticoid copepod (Crustacea). Colonisation experiments, making use of artificially isolated volumes of sand, showed that the community structure was modified by isolation of the fauna: the more isolated a sediment matrix, the lower the number of species to be found there, inferred to result from a lower immigration rate, and the lower the log series diversity, but the greater the dominance diversity. The results were consistent with those predicted by the equilibrium theory of island biogeography. The colonisation of artificial, monometric sediments of defined particle diameter was studied in both the estuarine beach and in microcosm culture, using a technique developed that was shown to allow the maintenance of replicable, diverse communities. It was established that species were not distributed throughout the sediments at random: generally, endopsammic species were recorded from the coarsest sediments, mesopsammic species from intermediate, and epipsammic species from the finest. Somatically-similar, numerically abundant mesopsammic species tended to be found in sediments of differing particle size. A nutrient suitable for heterotrophic sediment-dwelling bacteria, the food of many meiobenthic copepods, was applied to the sediment at two frequencies of application, to investigate the effects of nutrient enrichment. At the greater frequency of application, displacement, presumably of a competitive nature, of the numerically dominant species by two other mesopsammic species resulted in a decrease in the dominance diversity, and an increase in the log series diversity. However, it seemed inevitable that the diversity of the community would eventually decrease with the extinction of some species as a competitive equilibrium was approximated. It is proposed that diversity is maintained in the intertidal meiobenthic copepod community by reduction of the effects of interspecific competition, through the aggregation of species populations, so forming a patchy community, the fluctuating competitive ability of each species in an inconstant environment and the periodic density-independent reduction of all species populations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available