Coarse Particulate Organic Matter: A habitat or food resource for the meiofaunal community of a recently formed stream?

Anne Robertson, A. M. Milner

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We examined the role of CPOM as food and/or habitat for lotic meiofauna in Wolf Point Creek, a recently formed stream in Glacier Bay, south-eastern Alaska. Meiofaunal communities in the stream substratum and those colonising mesh bags containing leaf or plastic substrata were compared on 3 occasions during the summer of 1997. mANOVA indicated that the communities of the stony and mesh bag substrata were significantly different but there were no significant differences between the communities occupying the plastic or leaf substrata. Measures of FPOM and biofilm were significantly higher on the leaf than on the plastic substrata. The responses of meiofaunal densities to date and substratum type were taxon specific. CPOM availability in this recently formed stream has had a marked impact on the meiofaunal community; densities increased significantly with CPOM enhancement and its main role appeared to be as habitat. This finding differs from those of similar studies on lotic macroinvertebrate communities. Future increases in allochthonous inputs and stream retention in Wolf Point Creek (following vegetation succession) will lead to an increase in meiofaunal densities. It is likely that the establishment of the riparian zone adjacent to new streams formed following press disturbances will be a significant influence in the succession of resident meiofaunal communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-541
JournalArchiv fur Hydrobiologie
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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