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Nematode Community Analysis for Monitoring Meiofaunal Response to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands Restoration Project

Abstract

The Bolsa Chica Wetlands have undergone extensive engineering works in 2004-2007 to restore different levels of tidal action in different sectors of the wetlands. Different properties of nematode communities can be used to make management decisions and evaluate restoration success. Published studies have shown among others that nematode abundance increases, while their diversity and evenness decrease, in conditions of nutrient enrichment. From past observations we hypothesize that the following spatial and temporal patterns will occur in Bolsa Chica:

- From the beginning of our sampling efforts, we expect to find that Outer Bolsa Bay harbors fewer nematodes, but more species and more equitable numbers per species, compared to Inner Bolsa Bay.

- As the effects of tidal restoration kick in, we expect to find progressively more species and evenness but lower abundance in the full tidal restoration area.

- As the effects of tidal restoration kick in, we expect to find a more moderate increase in species and evenness versus a moderate drop in abundance in the muted tidal restoration area.

- Additionally, we expect a significant change in the taxonomic composition of nematodes in the two restoration sectors.

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