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AME 87:61-77 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01971

Spatio-temporal variation of microphytobenthos biomass, diversity and assemblage structure in the Loire Estuary, France

Lourenço Ribeiro1,2,*, Ismaïl Benyoucef1, Michel Poulin3, Bruno Jesus1, Philippe Rosa1, Vona Méléder1, GuoYing Du4, Laurent Barillé1

1Laboratoire Mer Molécules Santé (EA 2160), Faculté des Sciences et des Techniques, Université de Nantes, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes cedex 3, France
2MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
3Recherche et collections, Musée canadien de la nature, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6P4, Canada
4Key Laboratory of Marine Genetics and Breeding Ministry of Education, College of Marine Life Sciences, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Diatom-dominated microphytobenthos (MPB) communities of 4 intertidal mudflats along the meso- and polyhaline reaches of the Loire Estuary, France, were investigated during a year cycle. They were analysed in terms of biomass, diversity, species composition and growth form distribution. The assemblages of the 2 upstream sites were characterised by high biomass and lower diversities and were mostly dominated by epipelon. The 2 downstream, most haline sites had lower biomass and higher diversities and were dominated by both epipelon and tychoplankton. Diversity did not exhibit a clear seasonal signal in the upstream mudflats, but it was higher during the first half of the study in the downstream sites. The coexistence of 2 growth forms seems to increase diversity of the mudflat assemblages. Species distribution was mainly linked to changes in sediment texture and salinity, both with a marked seasonal variability. MPB biomass was inversely related to MPB diversity and positively related to both mud content and the epipelon. MPB diversity was not, however, significantly correlated with mud content. Slight changes in sediment texture, even if causing variations in assemblage composition, did not change overall diversity. The existence of an important and even dominant tychoplanktonic fraction could be considered a distinctive feature of these benthic environments in the Loire, as well as in other macrotidal estuaries.


KEY WORDS: Diatoms · Growth form · Tychoplankton · Navicula phyllepta · Macrotidal estuary


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Cite this article as: Ribeiro L, Benyoucef I, Poulin M, Jesus B and others (2021) Spatio-temporal variation of microphytobenthos biomass, diversity and assemblage structure in the Loire Estuary, France. Aquat Microb Ecol 87:61-77. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01971

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