Echinoderes komatsui (Kinorhyncha: Cyclorhagida) is a meiobenthic animal inhabiting the interstitial spaces of the sediment on a subtropical tidal flat along the Oura River, Japan. This species mostly occurred within 0–10 mm from the surface of the sediment, and the dispersion pattern was significantly patchy. The population dynamics of E. komatsui were investigated by monthly surveys from January 2014 to May 2016 at four sites along the river, and from April 2015 to May 2016 at one site in the mangrove forest. Echinoderes komatsui occurred all year round; however, the population density showed different patterns among the sampling sites in response to seasonal changes. On the tidal flat, the population density was high in winter, but very low in summer. In the mangrove forest, the density was high (or not low) throughout the year. As was shown in laboratory experiments, E. komatsui survived in 1–44 salinity seawater but died at 0 (salinity experiments), and died within 4.5 days at 40°C (temperature experiments). Therefore, the low population density recorded in summer on the tidal flat was likely caused by high temperature and fresh water. The shade offered by the mangrove forest suppressed the increase in temperature of the sediment in the summer, probably resulting in the higher population density at this site relative to the tidal flat population. Mangrove forests may also mitigate the disturbance of the sediment by summer typhoons and serve as stable environments that are fundamental in the sustainability of estuarine meiobenthic fauna.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science