MEPS 157:119-137 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps157119

On the structure of the neritic suprabenthic communities from the Portuguese continental margin

M. R. Cunha1,*, J. C. Sorbe3, C. Bernardes2

1Departamento de Biologia, 2Departamento de Geociências, Universidade de Aveiro, P-3810 Aveiro, Portugal
3Laboratoire d'Océanographie Biologique, CNRS URA 197, 2 rue Jolyet, F-33120 Arcachon, France

This work presents the investigations made on the neritic suprabenthic communities of the Portuguese margin (continental shelf and upper slope) exposed to seasonal upwelling. These communities were sampled during the AVEIRO-94 cruise at 5 sites located along an E-W bathymetric transect from 21 to 299 m depth using a suprabenthic sled with superposed nets. In the 0 to 100 cm water layer, the total densities ranged from 700.2 to 13591.7 ind. 100m-2. During daytime, the motile fauna was mainly concentrated within the 0 to 50 cm water layer (76.2 to 97.2% of the total abundance). The night-time sample at the shallower site showed a more even distribution of the fauna in the near-bottom water layers (nocturnal migratory behaviour of some motile species).The Shannon diversity (H')values ranged from 1.84 to 3.54 for the shelf sites and increased at the upper slope site (4.15). Mysids and amphipods were generally dominant except for at the middle part of the shelf where the latter was replaced by euphausiids. The suprabenthic fauna off Aveiro was compared with similar data from the same bathymetric sampling levels off Arcachon (Bay of Biscay). Multivariate analysis showed that differences in faunal composition between the 2 geographic areas were smaller than depth-related variations within geographic areas. The results were discussed in relation to other suprabenthic communities from the northeastern Atlantic.


Suprabenthos · Portuguese continental margin · Community structure


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