Buck, K. R.. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, buku@mbari.org
Barry, J. R.. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, barry@mbari.org
Rabalais, N. N.. Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, nrabalais@lumcon.edu
Bernhard, J. M.. Dept. of Environmental Health Sciences, jmbernha@sophe.sph.sc.edu

 
MEIOFAUNA FROM LOW OXYGEN MARINE ENVIRONMENTS
 
Meiofauna (2-1000 Ám) are a cosmopolitan and presumably important component of the marine benthos. Living in a myriad of marine benthic environments characterized by low oxygen levels and concomitant high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide imposes potential stresses on small eukaryotes that live in the sediment in these habitats. On the other hand, these habitats may also offer meiofauna sanctuary from grazing pressure by macrofauna. We have begun the process of examining meiofauna from a variety of low oxygen sedimentary environments. These include cold seeps from 600 to 3200m in depth in Monterey Bay, California, the 1200m deep cold seeps of Sagami Bay, Japan, whale carcasses located off Southern California, the silled Santa Barbara Basin (depth=475-610m) and the shallow hypoxic zone off the Mississippi River. Samples from these low oxygen sites, as well as associated control samples from similar depths but higher oxygen levels, have been analyzed for major meiofaunal components (flagellates, ciliates, foraminifera and nematodes). While considerable variability exists within sites, there are marked increases in abundance, diversity and presence of symbiotic associations between low oxygen sites and the comparable control sites. Clearly these environments are not detrimental to meiofauna.
 
Day: Tuesday, Feb. 2
Time: Poster
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS27TU1458S