oa African Zoology - An ecophysiological study of the meiofauna of the Swartkops Estuary. 3. Partition of benthic oxygen consumption and the relative importance of the meiofauna

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Benthic oxygen demand was measured by dark and light bottle technique at two beaches in the Swartkops estuary, near Port Elizabeth. Respiration of nematodes was measured by polarographic micro-respirometer technique. Secondary production was 82 g C/m�/y in sandy areas and 863 g C/m�/y in muddy areas rich in the prawn Callianassa kraussi. Meiofauna production was 1,72 g C/m�/y in sand and 0,24 g C/m�/y in mud. The meiofaunal contribution to secondary production was 2,1% and 0,03% for these two areas respectively. The largest proportion of secondary production was due to micro-organisms: 92% in sand and 75,5% in mud. Macrofauna accounted for 5,75% and 24,4%. It is concluded that meiofauna in these exposed sand and mud flat areas is not quantitatively important, but the qualitative importance may be considerable.

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