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A survey of epifauna among macrophytes in a southwest Florida estuary



A survey of epifauna among macrophytes in a southwest Florida estuary



Florida Scientist. Summer; 663: 168-183



A study was conducted by dipnet to compare community structure and abundance of major taxa of epifauna among Halodule wrightii, Thalassia testudinum, Syringodium filiforme, drift algae, and unvegetated bottom in Tarpon Bay, Sanibel, FL. Sampling was conducted roughly once per week from January, 1999, through January, 2000. Samples from unvegetated bottom contained a significantly lower average number of total organisms than any of the four macrophytes. On average, gastropods were the most abundant taxa collected from each species of seagrass, caridean shrimps were the most abundant taxa collected from drift algae, and mysids were the most abundant taxa collected from unvegetated bottom. Among the five habitats, Halodule contained the highest average number of gastropods, mysids and pink shrimp, Farfantopenaeus duorarum. Thalassia contained the highest average number of pagurid crabs and syngnathid fish. Drift algae contained the highest average number of amphipods, caridean shrimps, and the isopod, Harrieta faxoni. For each macrophyte, regression did not reveal consistent relationships between abundances of major taxa, salinity, or percent macrophyte cover. Community composition differed significantly among all five habitats. Numbers of specimens from major taxa were generally found in greater abundance in summer than in winter.

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