Meiobenthic fauna is complex and essential part of the stream benthos and it is known as intermediaries from bacteria to higher trophic levels. However, the dynamics and mechanisms regulating this community at small-scale largely have been neglected. This study was carried out to determine meiofaunal dynamics in a small scale-patterns influenced by flow velocity and other abiotic and biotic factors. We examined meiofauna within bryophytes on a tufa barrier in Plitvice Lakes National Park using a detailed taxonomic approach of various meiofaunal groups and their feeding guilds. We choose three microhabitats (slow, medium, fast) differing significantly in flow velocity above bryophytes. Bdelloid rotifers were the most abundant group in microhabitat with highest flow velocity, while in other two microhabitats nematodes and monogonont rotifers prevailed in abundance. Data on environmental variables and main meiofaunal taxa and feeding guilds were analyzed using redundancy analysis. This analysis indicated that microfilter feeding guild (e.g. bdelloid rotifers) was strongly affected by interaction of flow velocity and POM fractions. Other feeding guilds were influenced by temperature, oxygen and/or pH and did not prefer high flow velocity. Suction-feeder nematodes and microfilter-feeder rotifers were dominant on temporal and spatial scale, indicating their good adaptations on frequently disturbed conditions that prevailed on bryophyte covered tufa barrier. Our results provide comprehensive survey of diversity, density as well as trophic structure of meiofauna in aquatic bryophytes. Differences in meiofaunal composition and density between three microhabitats suggest that the meiofauna is relevant indicator of environmental changes even at small-scale pattern. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH.
Dražina, T., Špoljar, M., Primc, B., & Habdija, I. (2013). Small-scale patterns of meiofauna in a bryophyte covered tufa barrier (Plitvice Lakes, Croatia). Limnologica, 43(6), 405–416. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2013.01.004