Spatio-temporal variation of hydroids and polychaetes associated with Cystoseira amentacea (Fucales : Phaeophyceae) Academic Article uri icon


  • The temporal and spatial distribution of hydroids (sessile fauna) and polychaetes (vagile) on the brown alga Cystoseira amentacea (Fucales: Phaeophyceae) have been studied in the mid-littoral zone of the Apulian coast (Italy). Samplings were carried out in February and July 1997, ar 1.5 m depth, at three sites (Gargano, Costa Merlata and Otranto), about 200 km apart from each other. Three replicates per site were collected for polychaetes, and another three, for hydroids. Samples yielded 142,426 polyps belonging to 20 hydroid species and 3,088 polychaete specimens belonging to 58 species. Seasonal variations in abundance and number of species were evident in hydroids. The only species probably exclusive of Cystoseira (the hydroid Clytia viridicans) was present only in the summer. Polychaetes showed marked seasonal differences only at the Gargano site. Multivariate techniques were used to compare, in both periods, assemblages within and among sites. Analysis of similarity testing revealed that, for both polychaetes and hydroids, assemblage structures significantly differed among sites and between seasons. Thus, the null hypothesis that the distribution in rime and space of the epifauna on the same algal species is homogeneous over a wide geographical scale has been rejected, in spite of the homogeneity of the substrate. In both groups, quantitative differences of a few species seemed to be more important than qualitative ones in determining the spatial separation of sites, the species pool remaining rather consistent. A small-scale variability among replicates was also detected, especially at Gargano, for hydroids. Since the epifauna can allow better comparisons among sites than the actual distribution of the algal species, both sessile and vagile epiphytes of Cystoseira can be considered valid tools for evaluating environmental changes on coastal hard-bottom communities.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Fraschetti, S., Giangrande, A., Terlizzi, A., Miglietta, M. P., DellaTommasa, L., & Boero, F.

citation count

  • 46

complete list of authors

  • Fraschetti, S||Giangrande, A||Terlizzi, A||Miglietta, MP||DellaTommasa, L||Boero, F

publication date

  • January 2002