Unlike the soft bottom meiofauna, meiofauna associated wo hard substrata is poorly studied, despite its ecological relevance.
This study investigated sessile macrobenthos and the associated meiofaunal assemblages of two sites of Portofino (NW Mediterranean), in order to assess the abundance, diversity and composition of the meiofauna and the factors structuring its assemblages.
The results show that macroalgae dominated the sessile microbenthic assemblages, while Nematoda and Copepoda were the main meiofaunal groups. Meiofaunal higher-taxa richness and diversity resulted very high, due to the large number of different microhabitats offered by macroalgae. In addition, the meiofaunal abundance and composition changed significantly with the season, consistently with the sessile macrobenthic assemblages.
The authors conclude that the study provides suggestive evidence that some sessile macrobenthic groups act as ecosystem engineers for the meiofauna, influencing its abundances, higher-taxa diversity and community structure.
Losi et al. (2018) Sessile macrobenthos (Ochrophyta) drives seasonal change of meiofaunal community structure on temperate rocky reefs. Marine Environmental Research 142:295-305.