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Martijn Callens, Hendrik Gheerardyn, Simon Ndaro, Marleen De Troch and Ann Vanreusel (2012)

Harpacticoid copepod colonization of coral fragments in a tropical reef lagoon (Zanzibar, Tanzania)

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 92(7):1535-1545.

Colonization experiments were conducted in a tropical lagoon (Zanzibar Island, off the coast of Tanzania) to investigate the temporal dynamics and mode of colonization of the harpacticoid copepods community on dead coral fragments. There was fast colonization of the coral fragments attaining a substantial diversity after only two days. The ability to colonize dead coral fragments is thought to be related to the morphology and life style of different harpacticoid species. Phytal taxa (e.g. Tisbidae) were fast colonizers, reaching high abundances during the initial colonization phase. Sediment-associated and eurytopic taxa (e.g. Ameiridae, Miraciidae and Ectinosomatidae) showed lower colonization rates and became the dominant group during the later colonization phase. Most species are able to colonize the coral fragments through the water column. However, colonization along the substrate surface is also considered to be an important colonization mode, especially for sediment-associated taxa, which showed lower colonization rates when migration through the sediment was hindered.
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