MEPS 128:51-59 (1995)  -  doi:10.3354/meps128051

Spatial structure and ecological variation of meroplankton on the Belgian-Dutch coast of the North Sea

Belgrano A, Legendre P, Dewarumez JM, Frontier S

Spatial structure and the spatial autocorrelation of meroplankton compositional patterns were investigated by canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) and complementary Mantel statistics to contribute to the understanding of the complex biological fluxes in the coastal waters between the Belgian coast and the Scheldt estuary region. The use of covariables in a partial ordination method allows the partitioning of environmental and spatial variation in order to test meroplankton successional patterns. The direction and intensity of wind was responsible for a northeasterly transport of larvae. Reverse wind conditions allowed for a southwesterly larval dispersal. The spatial pattern of the species comes from the spatial pattern of the environmental variables, and is completely explained by them, so that no significant spatial pattern remains in the species data after controlling for the effect of the environmental variables. The spatial structure therefore can be regarded as an explanatory variable in ecological studies.

North Sea . Meroplankton . Spatial heterogeneity . Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) . Constrained ordination . Mantel statistics . Environmental control model

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