Things we do in CIMA 8: Meiofauna analysis

Meiofauna analysis

From CIMA (Centro de Investigaciones Medioambientales del Atlántico, S.L.) (Atlantic Environmental Research Center), we want to show you what we do in and out our offices.

On this page you can find a series of small videos called "Things we do in CIMA", which will help us to explain what we do and how we do it. All this to approach the world of marine biology and oceanography.

- "Things we do in CIMA" #8: Meiofauna analysis: In studies of the environmental impact on soft-bottom communities, usually you have to define the structure of the community in termes of 2 fractions: macrofauna or meiofauna. Macrofauna of the Canaries is characterized by high diversity and low abundance. This is due to presence of oligotrophic waters that impede the development of abundant macrofauna, so it is dominated by a limited number of species. For this reason, in recent years the use of the meiofaunal community as a bioindicator of anthropogenic alterations of the marine environment has gained a great importance.

Do you remember the video in which we talked about benthic sampling?

When these samples arrive at the laboratory, the meiofauna must be separated from the sediments. So, we mix the sample with water, shake up and let some of the sediments to be re-deposited. In this way we can separate what is left in suspension with a 0.063 mm mesh screen.

The “sorting” (“triado”) of the taxonomic groups is carried out with a high-power binocular microscope. The specimens belonging to different groups are separated, placed into conveniently codified containers and quantified.

Why study the meiofauna of an area?

The state of meiofauna is an important bioindicator of human-induced alterations of the marine environment. In areas with sewage outfalls or accidental spills, for example, it informs us of the damage caused and if the study area is recovering.

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