Usefulness of meiofauna at high taxonomic levels as a tool to assess harbor quality status. Marina del Este Harbor (Granada, Spain) as a case study

  • Francisco Sedano Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
  • Daniel Marquina Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
  • Free Espinosa Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
Keywords: Harbor, meiofauna, Alboran Sea, environmental quality, environmental monitoring


Meiofaunal communities from a harbor with low levels of disturbance (Marina del Este Harbor) and a control area (Galera Beach) at the subtropical coast of Almuñecar (Spain) were compared to evaluate the usefulness of meiofauna as a tool for environmental monitoring at high taxonomic levels in harbors. Three sites were sampled at the control area with different granulometries (Fine, Medium and Coarse). A mixture of fine and medium sands were found in the Medium granulometry site, which had the same granulometric composition as the Harbor Site. Al, Ba, Ca, Mg, Mn and Ni concentrations at the harbor site were twice as high as those found in the Medium Control Site, which correlates with the highest organic content. Results of the one-way ANOVA and the multivariate analysis showed significant differences regarding the meiofauna abundance
between the Medium and Harbor Sites. In conclusion, the study of meiofaunal communities at high taxonomic levels can detect low levels of disturbance in harbors, which makes it a useful tool for preliminary assessment of environmental quality and, therefore, can be implemented in management policies.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Francisco Sedano, Universidad de Sevilla

Laboratorio de Biología Marina,Avda. Reina Mercedes 6. 41012. Sevilla

Daniel Marquina, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Departamento de Zoología y Antropología Física, Ciudad Universitaria.28040. Madrid.

Free Espinosa, Universidad de Sevilla

Laboratorio de Biología Marina, Avda. Reina Mercedes 6. 41012. Sevilla


Clarke, K. R. (1993). Non-parametric multivariate analyses of changes in community structure. Aust. J. Eco., 18, 117-143. DOI:

Conrad, J. E. (1976). Sand grain angularity as a factor affecting colonization by marine meiofauna. Vie Milieu B., 26, 81-198.

Coull, B. C. & Chandler, G. T. (1992). Pollution and meiofauna: field, laboratory, and mesocosms studies. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev., 30, 191-271.

Giere, O. (2009). Meiobenthology. The microscopic motile fauna of aquatic sediments. (2nd ed.). Berlin, Germany: Springer.

Goodsell, P. J., Underwood, A. J. & Chapman, M. G. (2009). Evidence necessary for taxa to be reliable indicators for environmental conditions or impacts. Mar. Pollut. Bull., 58(3), 323-331. DOI:

Green, R. H. & Montagna, P. (1996). Implications for monitoring: study designs and interpretation of results. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 53(11), 2629-2636. DOI:

Guerra-García, J. M. & García-Gómez, J. C. (2005). Assessing pollution levels in sediments of a harbor with two opposing entrances. Environmental implications. J. Environ. Manage., 77, 1-11. DOI:

Guitián, F. & Carballas, T. (1976). Técnicas de análisis de suelos (2nd ed.). Santiago de Compostela, Spain: Pico Sacro.

Heip, C., Warwick, R. M., Carr, M. R., Herman, P. M. J., Huys, R., Smol, N. & Holsbeke, K. V. (1988). Analysis of community attributes of the benthic meiofauna of Frierfjord/Langesundfjord. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., (46), 171-180. DOI:

Heip, C., Vincx, M. & Vranken, G. (1985). The ecology of marine nematodes. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev., 23, 399-489.

Hesse, P. R. (1971). A Textbook of soil chemical analysis. London, United Kingdom: John Murray.

Higgins, R. P. & Thiel, H. (1988). Introduction to the study of meiofauna. Washington, D. C. USA.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Kennedy, A. D. & Jacoby, C. A. (1999). Biological indicators of marine environmental health: meiofauna - a neglected benthic component? Environ. Monit. Assess., 54, 47-68. DOI:

Kruskal, J. B. & Wish, M. (1978). Multidimensional Scaling. Sage University paper series on quantitative applications in the social sciences. Beverly Hills and London, USA. & U.K.: Sage Publications.

Mirto, S., Bianchelli, S., Gambi, C., Krzelj, M., Pusceddu, A., Scopa, M., Holmer, M. & Danovaro, R. (2010). Fish-farm impact on metazoan meiofauna in the Mediterranean Sea: Analysis of regional vs. habitat effects. Mar. Environ. Res., 69(1), 38-47. DOI:

Moreno, M., Semprucci, F., Vezzulli, L., Balsamo, M., Fabiano, M. & Albertelli, G. (2011). The use of nematodes in assessing ecological quality status in the Mediterranean coastal ecosystems. Ecol. Indic., 11(2), 328-336. DOI:

Moreno, M., Vezzulli, L., Marin, V., Laconi, P., Albertelli, G. & Fabiano, M. (2008). The use of meiofauna diversity as an indicator of pollution in harbors. ICES J. Mar. Sci., 65(8), 1428-1435. DOI:

Navarro-Barranco, C., Guerra-García, J. M., Sánchez-Tocino, L. & García-Gómez, J. C. (2012). Soft-bottom crustacean assemblages in Mediterranean marine caves: the cave of Cerro Gordo (Granada, Spain) as case study. Helgol. Mar. Res., 6(4), 567-576. DOI:

Platt, H. M. & Warwick, R. M. (1980). The significance of free-living nematodes to the littoral ecosystem. In J. H. Price, D. E. G. Irvine & W. F. Farnham (Eds.), The shore environment: Ecosystems (pp. 729-759). New York, USA.: Academic Press.

SPSS. (2006). Statistical Package for the Social Sciences for Windows, version 15.0. Chicago, USA.: SPSS Inc.

Templado, J., Calvo, M., Moreno, D., Flores-Moya, A., Conde, F., Abad, R., Rubio, J., López-Fé, C. M. & Ortiz, M. (2006). Flora y fauna de la reserva marina y reserva de pesca de la isla de Alborán. Madrid, Spain: Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación. Secretaría General de Pesca Marítima.

The Foundation for Environmental Education. (1987). Blue Flag Programme. Retrieved on May 4, 2013 available at

Walkley, A. & Black, I. A. (1934). An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Sci., 37, 29-38. DOI:

Warwick, R. M. (1987). Meiofauna: their role in marine detrital systems. In D. J. W Moriarty & R. S. V. Pullin (Eds.), Detritus and microbial ecology in aquaculture (pp. 282-295). Manila, Philippines: ICLARM Contribution.

Warwick, R. M. (1988). The level of taxonomic discrimination required to detect pollution effects on marine benthic communities. Mar. Pollut. Bull., 19(6), 259-268. DOI:

Warwick, R. M. (1993). Environmental impact studies on marine communities: pragmatic considerations. Aust. J. Ecol., 18, 63-80. DOI:

Wieser, W. (1959). The effect of grain size on the distribution of small invertebrates inhabiting the beaches of Puget Sound. Limnol.Oceanogr., 4(2), 181-194. DOI:

How to Cite
Sedano, F., Marquina, D., & Espinosa, F. (2014). Usefulness of meiofauna at high taxonomic levels as a tool to assess harbor quality status. Marina del Este Harbor (Granada, Spain) as a case study. Journal of Marine and Coastal Sciences, 6, 103-113.
Scientific articles

Comentarios (ver términos de uso)