Community Structure and Spatial Patterns of Soft-Bottom Macrozoobenthos in Oualidia Lagoon, Moroccan Atlantic

El Asri, FatimaMartin, Daniel Errhif, AhmedTamsouri, Mohamed-NaoufalMaanan, MohamedZidane, Hakima.

Thalassas: An International Journal of Marine Sciences : doi:10.1007/s41208-020-00263-3 (2020)

The paper analyses the composition, structure and spatial organization of the soft-bottom macrozoobenthos inhabiting Oualidia lagoon (Moroccan Atlantic coasts), as well as their relationships with the main environmental variables. Material for the study was collected from 43 stations in winter 2013. A total of 56 taxa belonging to 6 phyla were recorded. Species diversity showed the highest values for molluscs, crustaceans and polychaetes. We used a Hierarchical Ascending Classification and a non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling to characterize the macrozoobenthos of the lagoon.We identified three groups of stations according to the outer, middle and inner part of the lagoon, hosting arranged from the outer -most to inner-most areas of the lagoon. The trophic structure of the macrozoobenthos was dominated in density by deposit-feeders (88.1%) and species richness by carnivores (20%) and detritivorous (20%). The BIO-ENV analysis showed that the combination of granulometry, salinity and temperature were the major factors controlling the spatial distribution of the macrozoobenthos in the Oualidia Lagoon.