Comparative Meiofaunal Diversity of Three Sandy Areas in Eagle Cove
Vandepas, Lauren E
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Meiofauna are a diverse grouping of animals less than 2mm in size that live on and between sediment grains in all oceans at all depths. Though many studies have centered on the identification and description of species within particular meiofauna assemblages, few have focused on community structure or biodiversity within this interstitial ecosystem. San Juan Island, Washington, is surrounded by nutrient-rich waters that support high seasonal productivity. Novel species have been described from meiofaunal communities on and around San Juan Island, but whole meiofaunal community structures have not previously been examined in detail. This study compares the meiofaunal communities of three distinct areas on Eagle Cove beach, each of which is exposed to different physical conditions, particularly in the form of exposure to varying intensities of wave action. There are notable differences in community structure, though nematodes make up the majority of the meiofaunal population. This study provides morphospecies classifications and abundances, as well as measures biodiversity (species richness and evenness) using the Shannon-Wiener Index. Though each sample site has differing proportions of taxa, the differences in Shannon-Wiener values were not statistically significant.