Does richness of Oligochaeta (Annelida) follows a linear distribution with habitat structural heterogeneity in aquatic sediments?
Sediment of aquatic environments supports several local communities, among them aquatic invertebrates. Habitat structural heterogeneity in sediments of aquatic ecosystems is related to a number of factors, including variability in the particle size of the substrate and availability of different food resources, the two structures that comprise the aquatic sediment. These structures are necessary for the stability of zoobenthic community, including the Oligochaeta assemblage, favoring richness as habitat heterogeneity increases. To analyze the habitat structural heterogeneity, we use these following structures: granulometric composition and organic matter composition, and we tested these structures together (habitat heterogeneity) and separately (granulometric and organic matter heterogeneity). This study investigated the relationship between habitat structural heterogeneity and richness of the Oligochaeta assemblage. We hypothesized that there is a positive linear relationship between habitat structural heterogeneity and richness of Oligochaeta, and predicted that the granulometric composition is more important than organic matter composition for increasing richness. There was no linear relationship between Oligochaeta richness and habitat heterogeneity; but the analysis showed an asymmetric triangular dispersion pattern, being granulometric heterogeneity more important than organic matter heterogeneity for richness of Oligochaeta. These results indicated that habitat structural heterogeneity was beneficial for richness of Oligochaeta until certain threshold and after this, the relationship between structural heterogeneity of habitats and richness of Oligochaeta is negative with decrease of diversity due to the filling of interstitial spaces which gradually reduces the ability to colonize these habitats.
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Copyright (c) 2014 Flávio H. Ragonha, Alice M. Takeda
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