Long-term change of meiofaunal species composition in a sandy beach, with description of 7 new species of Platyhelminthes

Werner.Armonies [ at ] awi.de


Climate change and species introductions strongly changed macrobenthic community composition in the North Sea during past decades. To find out whether there was a similar change in meiofauna, I re-examined a semi-exposed sandy beach of the Island of Sylt that had been intensively studied between 1965 and 1975. These previous studies provide the baseline for temporal change. As before, the analysis of species composition focused on Platyhelminthes. Minor change in the physical properties of the beach during the past decades was compensated for by including two adjoining beaches, one slightly more sheltered and the other slightly more exposed. In due consideration of somewhat differing sample size, platyhelminth species richness barely changed over the past 50 years, and the numerical dominant species were still the same. However, roughly 10% of the 220 species found during this study were not previously recorded from the Island of Sylt. Thirteen are new to science though unpublished records indicate that half of them already occurred previously. Seven species described from elsewhere were recorded for the first time in the Sylt area. Based on their known geographical range, none of these can be unambiguously assigned an immigrant or introduced species. I conclude that (1) the platyhelminth fauna displayed high temporal stability over the past 50 years, and (2) though this beach is among the best studied in the world, a rate of 10% new species indicates our knowledge on the diverse meiofauna is still relatively poor. Seven new species of Platyhelminthes are described and three re-described: Coelogynopora multispina n. sp., Pseudostomum gracilis Westblad 1955, Nesite ptychoperoides n. gen. n. sp., Haplovejdovskya scilliensis Faubel & Warwick 2005, Haloplanella magnarhabdita n. sp., Haloplanella spiralis n. sp., Moevenbergia oculifagi n. sp., Coronhelmis inaequalis n. sp., Proxenetes inflatus den Hartog 1966, and Diascorhynchus falconis n. sp.

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DOI 10.1186/s10152-017-0492-0

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Armonies, W. (2017): Long-term change of meiofaunal species composition in a sandy beach, with description of 7 new species of Platyhelminthes , Helgoland Marine Research, 71 (12), pp. 1-33 . doi: 10.1186/s10152-017-0492-0

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