Meiofauna versus macrofauna: Secondary production of invertebrates in a lowland chalk stream

Tod, S. P., J. M. Schmid-Araya

Limnol. Oceanogr., 54(2), 2009, 450-456 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2009.54.2.0450

ABSTRACT: The whole metazoan community inhabiting macrophyte stands and gravel beds of the English chalk stream River Lambourn were sampled for 1 yr. Secondary production estimates for specific taxa of macrofauna and meiofauna, usually at species or genus level, were made using the size-frequency method. Annual standing biomass and production to biomass ratios were also estimated. Total annual secondary production was as high as 64.99 g m-2 yr-1 in the macrophyte stands while within the gravel beds total annual secondary production was 22.55 g m-2 yr-1. Macrofauna contributed >91% to secondary production in both habitats. A corresponding standing biomass of 11.87 g m-2 in the macrophyte stands was also higher than within gravel beds of 5.13 g m-2. Macrofauna contributed >97% to standing biomass in both habitats. A large number of meiofauna and some macrofauna species displayed annual production-to-biomass (P : B) values in both habitats significantly higher than 9 or 10. Despite higher densities and turnover rates within the benthos of the River Lambourn, there was a minimal contribution of the meiofauna to total secondary production dominated by the macrofauna.

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