Ecological Studies on Marine Algal-Dwelling Copepoda (Harpacticoida) from Wellington, New Zealand
A quantitative seasonal study has been made on aspects of the ecology of marine algal-dwelling harpacticoid copepods at Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand. Results are based on 154 samples collected from six species of macro-algae between April 1973 and March 1974 and is the first integrated research programme into the population dynamics of members of the phytal meiobenthos. Harpacticoid species collected are listed and brief taxonomic and zoogeographic notes on selected species is given. An analysis is made of the southern hemisphere zoogeographic relationships of the N. Z. marine harpacticoid fauna and this suggests distinct affinities with the Magellanic region of South America. The numerical contribution of harpacticoids to the total phytal meiofauna shows them to be the dominant taxon. Density comparisons are made with parallel studies on the sediment meiobenthos; in general the phytal is comparable with those from sandy bottoms. Species occurrence on each algal substrate, their specific association between each seaweed and within the rocky shore algal biotope as a whole is assessed. Seasonal periodicity in population .density is variable and is dependent on the reproductive activity of individual species. Breeding data are analysed for twenty species and reveal continuous or protracted breeding seasons, providing useful comparisons with interstitial and epibenthic representatives. Substrate preference for particular algae by truly phytal-dwelling harpacticoids is demonstrated for the first time.