Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 15128

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, 119071 Moscow, Russia
Interests: Copepoda ecology, biogeography, and systematics; tropical brachyuran crabs; spatio-temporal patterns of meiofauna assemblages; science communication
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Guest Editor
Biological Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
Interests: Cladocera ecology, biogeography, and taxonomy; species diversity and structural composition of freshwater microcrustacean assemblages; Arctic islands and insular fauna; science communication
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Meiofauna, or more generally, the small benthic invertebrates, play a crucial role in all types of ecosystems: freshwater, estuarine and marine. Their complex interactions with their environment and other organisms affect a wide range of ecosystem processes. They facilitate biomineralization, bioturbation, engage interactions both in the water column and at the bottom layer, and affect a range of ecosystem processes, including those that are valued by society. Because of their high sensitivity to anthropogenic factors, meiobenthic organisms play an important role in pollution and climate-change monitoring. This Special issue titled “Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems” is devoted to the complex analysis of meiofauna, covering both species- and community-level studies, as well as ecosystem management and the sustainable use of the oceans, seas, and freshwater ecosystems.

This Special issue targets the following three main themes: 1. Advances in taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography. Significant developments in the taxonomy, phylogeny and evolutionary biology of meiofauna taxa, including phylogenetic systematics, will be considered. 2. Meiofauna biodiversity patterns and ecosystem interactions. Studies of spatial and temporal patterns of meiofauna across freshwater, estuarine coastal and ocean deep sea ecosystems are welcomed, including discussions of the drivers of these patterns, and how they affect organism interactions and important ecosystem processes. 3. Meiofauna in a changing world: response to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. We encourage the submission of research papers framed in studies that assess anthropogenic and climate-change impacts and the use of benthic infaunal monitoring to inform the management.

Thus, almost every aspect of the current marine, estuarine and freshwater meiobenthology can find its place in the pages of this Special Issue “Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems”.

Dr. Elena S. Chertoprud
Dr. Anna A. Novichkova
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Marine and brackish water meiofauna
  • Freshwater meiofauna
  • Taxonomy
  • Phylogeny
  • Ecology
  • Distribution patterns
  • Biogeography

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 194 KiB  
Editorial
Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Role in Ecosystems
by Elena Chertoprud and Anna Novichkova
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 987; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15090987 - 1 Sep 2023
Viewed by 991
Abstract
The meiofauna is currently considered to be a group of microscopic metazoans ranging in size from 30 to 1000–2000 μm, forming a distinct size class [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

22 pages, 2324 KiB  
Article
Species Diversity and Driving Factors of Benthic and Zooplanktonic Assemblages at Different Stages of Thermokarst Lake Development: A Case Study in the Lena River Delta (Middle Siberia)
by Elena S. Chertoprud, Anna A. Novichkova, Andrey N. Tsyganov, Lada V. Vorobjeva, Anton S. Esaulov, Sergey V. Krylenko and Yuri A. Mazei
Diversity 2023, 15(4), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15040511 - 2 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1820
Abstract
Global climate change might result in permafrost thaw and the formation of thermokarst landscapes that release long-term carbon stocks as greenhouse into the atmosphere, thereby initiating a positive climate feedback. These processes are mediated by biological activity, including by microbes, vascular plants and [...] Read more.
Global climate change might result in permafrost thaw and the formation of thermokarst landscapes that release long-term carbon stocks as greenhouse into the atmosphere, thereby initiating a positive climate feedback. These processes are mediated by biological activity, including by microbes, vascular plants and animals, whereas the role of invertebrates in thermokarst ecosystems remains poorly understood. We investigated the diversity and assemblage structures of zooplankton (mainly Copepoda, Cladocera), microbenthos (testate amoebae) and meio- (Copepoda and Cladocera) and macrozoobenthos (mollusks, crustaceans, insects and annelids) from a range of water bodies representing different stages of thermokarst lake formation in the southern part of the Lena River Delta (Central Siberia). Altogether, 206 species of testate amoeba, mollusk, crustacean, insect and annelid taxa were identified. A total of 60 species of macrozoobenthos (mainly insects) and 62 species of testate amoebae were detected in the water bodies of the Lena River Delta for the first time. The species richness of zooplankton and meio- and macrozoobenthos was greater in the large thermokarst lakes than in the polygonal ponds due to the freezing of the latter in the winter. In contrast, the species richness of protists was higher in the polygonal ponds, which was related to the habitat preferences of testate amoebae. Fish grazing strongly affected the macrobenthos assemblages but not the smaller-sized organisms. Water acidity and temperature were the main environmental drivers of the assemblage structure of testate amoeba and microcrustacean. The species structure of the macroinvertebrate assemblages was significantly explained by water acidity, permafrost depth and size of the water area. It means that small size organisms with their short generation times are sensitive to more dynamic factors such as temperature and may serve as indicators of ecosystem changes due to global climate warming. In contrast, large size organisms are affected by driven factors that appear during thermokarst lakes formation and permafrost degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems)
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18 pages, 2020 KiB  
Article
The First Data on Harpacticoid Copepod Diversity of the Deep-Water Zone of Lake Baikal (Siberia, Russia)
by Elena B. Fefilova, Tatyana Y. Sitnikova and Aleksandr A. Novikov
Diversity 2023, 15(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15010094 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2964
Abstract
Lake Baikal (LB) is the only freshwater ancient lake on Earth where animals inhabit all bathymetric zones down to the deepest sites (approximately 1640 m). However, there is very little data on the composition of their abyssal harpacticoid fauna. On the basis of [...] Read more.
Lake Baikal (LB) is the only freshwater ancient lake on Earth where animals inhabit all bathymetric zones down to the deepest sites (approximately 1640 m). However, there is very little data on the composition of their abyssal harpacticoid fauna. On the basis of the samples collected in LB in 2010–2017 at a depth of 270–1632 m, analysis of the fauna composition and species diversity of harpacticoids in the deep-water zone is presented. Studies were conducted in all parts of the lake, including areas of a hydrothermal, oil–methane seeps, and mud volcanoes. Nineteen Baikal endemic morphological species of the genera Bryocamptus, Attheyella, and Moraria (Baikalomoraria) were found. A brief description of the taxa morphology is presented. The genus Bryocamptus was the richest by species number at the studied sites, and Bryocamptus smirnovi Borutzky was the most frequent. The most diverse (8 species) was the fauna of the Saint Petersburg methane seep. Studies have shown that the taxonomic diversity of harpacticoid copepods in the deep-water zone of LB is lower than in its littoral zone. According to two non-parametric species estimators (Chao 2 and Jackknife 1), a 1.5-fold increase of species richness of harpacticoids of the LB abyssal is expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems)
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28 pages, 8646 KiB  
Article
Acanthopharynx Marine Nematodes (Nematoda, Chromadoria, Desmodoridae) Dwelling in Tropical Demosponges: Integrative Taxonomy with Description of a New Species
by Alexei Tchesunov, Patricia Rodríguez García, Ulyana Simakova and Vadim Mokievsky
Diversity 2023, 15(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15010048 - 1 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1691
Abstract
In the exploration of the meiofauna associated with sponges and corals in the shallows of Cuba, we investigated nine species of sponges (Demospongia), wherein 26 nematode species were revealed. Most nematode specimens (50–95% of all individuals) in all sponge samples belonged to the [...] Read more.
In the exploration of the meiofauna associated with sponges and corals in the shallows of Cuba, we investigated nine species of sponges (Demospongia), wherein 26 nematode species were revealed. Most nematode specimens (50–95% of all individuals) in all sponge samples belonged to the family Desmodoridae (order Desmodorida), followed by the family Chromadoridae (order Chromadorida). A major part of Desmodoridae is constituted by the genus Acanthopharynx. A statistical morphometric analysis (principal component analysis and multidimensional scaling with testing via analysis of similarities) revealed two close cohorts that differed in size and pharynx shape. Molecular genetic analyses (COI, 18S, and 28S) also distinguished two groups of specimens that corresponded to morphometric cohorts. Based on the morphometry and molecular genetics, the larger-sized group was defined as Acanthopharynx micans (Eberth, 1873), while the smaller-sized group was considered A. parva sp. n. In light of the taxonomic review of the Acanthopharynx, emended generic diagnosis, and the annotated list of ten valid species, A. parva sp. n. differed from other Acanthopharynx species by its peculiar shape of the pharynx (gradually widened to cardia), smaller body size, and pattern of precloacal organs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems)
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36 pages, 39925 KiB  
Article
Deep-Sea Tardigrades from the North-Western Pacific, with Descriptions of Two New Species
by Anastasiia A. Saulenko, Anastassya S. Maiorova, Pedro Martínez Arbizu and Vladimir V. Mordukhovich
Diversity 2022, 14(12), 1086; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14121086 - 8 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2102
Abstract
Three deep-sea tardigrade species were identified from the sediment samples collected during the four German–Russian joint deep-sea cruises that were conducted in the North-Western Pacific: Coronarctus sonne sp. nov., Moebjergarctus okhotensis sp. nov., and Angursa cf. bicuspis. Specimens of those species were [...] Read more.
Three deep-sea tardigrade species were identified from the sediment samples collected during the four German–Russian joint deep-sea cruises that were conducted in the North-Western Pacific: Coronarctus sonne sp. nov., Moebjergarctus okhotensis sp. nov., and Angursa cf. bicuspis. Specimens of those species were collected at depths between 1700 and 5410 m. The new species Coronarctus sonne sp. nov. belongs to the Cor. tenellus group of species on the basis of morphological traits such as the short cephalic appendages and heteromorphic claws. The structure of the secondary clavae and two points, with an accessory point and a primary point simultaneously on the internal and external claws on legs IV, are significant characteristics distinguishing Coronarctus sonne sp. nov. from other described species. Moebjergarctus okhotensis sp. nov. is characterized by having cephalic cirri with the long smooth portion of the scapus and annulated scapus only in the basal portion, the structure of the male and female reproductive system, and differences in the sizes of some structures compared to the other described species. An analysis of the results of four deep-sea expeditions indicates a patchy distribution of tardigrades in the North-Western Pacific. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems)
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15 pages, 8436 KiB  
Article
A New Species of Free-Living Nematodes (Desmodorida, Desmodoridae) in the Romanian Black Sea Waters
by Mihaela Mureșan, Rozalia Motoc, Selma Menabit, Adrian Teacă and Tatiana Begun
Diversity 2022, 14(11), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14110933 - 31 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1957
Abstract
The paper reports the record of Pseudochromadora gomoi sp.n. in circalittoral habitats (at depths of 47–59 m) of the Romanian Black Sea waters. The species is characterized by a unispiral amphidial fovea, the presence of lateral alae stretching from the posterior end of [...] Read more.
The paper reports the record of Pseudochromadora gomoi sp.n. in circalittoral habitats (at depths of 47–59 m) of the Romanian Black Sea waters. The species is characterized by a unispiral amphidial fovea, the presence of lateral alae stretching from the posterior end of the cardia to the level of the cloacal opening, but also shows unique features found in other Desmodorida genera (i.e., the presence of a precloacal ventral ala in males similar to several Desmodora or Echinodesmodora species and eight subcephalic setae on the head capsule). The presence of a constrictor cuticle ring and orange elongated ducts in the anterior body part as in Pseudodesmodora lacrima, Leduc and Wharton, 2010, were also noted. The morphometric measurements of our species differ from most of the Pseudochromadora species reported in specialty literature. We extracted and counted all desmodorid individuals from 9 meiobenthic samples collected in June 2020, and performed a detailed morphological analysis of 12 individuals (5 females and 7 males) belonging to our species, also highlighting the dissimilarities with the related desmodorid species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems)
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22 pages, 2286 KiB  
Article
Assemblages of Meiobenthic and Planktonic Microcrustaceans (Cladocera and Copepoda) from Small Water Bodies of Mountain Subarctic (Putorana Plateau, Middle Siberia)
by Elena S. Chertoprud, Anna A. Novichkova, Aleksandr A. Novikov, Elena B. Fefilova, Lada V. Vorobjeva, Dmitry S. Pechenkin and Aleksandr I. Glubokov
Diversity 2022, 14(6), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14060492 - 16 Jun 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2188
Abstract
The Putorana Plateau (Krasnoyarsk Territory, Russia) is one of the largest mountainous regions of subarctic Eurasia. Studies of aquatic ecosystems of this are far from complete. In particular, microcrustaceans (Cladocera и Copepoda) of the Putorana Plateau are poorly investigated, although they are one [...] Read more.
The Putorana Plateau (Krasnoyarsk Territory, Russia) is one of the largest mountainous regions of subarctic Eurasia. Studies of aquatic ecosystems of this are far from complete. In particular, microcrustaceans (Cladocera и Copepoda) of the Putorana Plateau are poorly investigated, although they are one of the main components of meiobenthic and zooplanktonic communities and a target for monitoring of the anthropogenic influence and climate change. An open question is a biogeographical status of the crustacean fauna of the plateau. Additionally, it is unknown which environmental factors significantly affect benthic and planktonic crustacean assemblages? Based on the samples collected in tundra and forest tundra ponds in the western and central parts of the plateau, analysis of the composition of crustacean fauna and factors regulating the assemblage structure was performed. In total, 36 Cladocera and 24 Copepoda species were found. Of these, 23 taxa are new for the region, and four are new to science. Species richness of Copepoda is higher in the central part and on the western slopes of the plateau than in foothills, while number of the Cladocera species in contrast decreases in mountainous areas. Variations in meiobenthic assemblages are due to the research area, type of water supply and less affected by altitude above sea level. For planktonic assemblages the size of the water body and, to a lesser degree, by macrophytes species composition was significant. Almost 12.8% of microcrustacean species of the Putorana Plateau can be attributed to glacial relics. Crustacean fauna of the Putorana Plateau has a high species richness and distinguishes significantly from the fauna of both western and eastern regions of the Arctic. The specifics of faunal composition of the region are connected to the climatic features of Middle Siberia and the retaining of the Pleistocene fauna in some glacial refugia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meiofauna: Biodiversity, Ecology and Role in Ecosystems)
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