chapter  14
22 Pages

Patterns of Abundance, Diversity, and Genus Assemblage Structure of Meiofaunal Nematodes in the Seine (Pont de Normandie) and Authie (Authie Port) Estuaries

The meiofauna or meiobenthos are classified as animals of intermediate size that can pass though a sieve with a mesh aperture size of 1000 to 500 μm and be retained on a mesh of 32 to 63 μm. This classification was originally intended as a means to differentiate the meiobenthos from the macrobenthos and microbenthos (Mare 1942) but also reflects separate ecological and evolutionary histories (Warwick 1989). Of the 34 recognised phyla comprising the Kingdom Animalia, 20 are mainly meiofaunal or have meiofaunal representatives, and 5 are only known as meiofaunal organisms (Higgins and Thiel 1988; Giere 1993).