Theses and Dissertations

Defense Date

1-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Charles Messing

Second Advisor

Chris Blanar

Third Advisor

Jose Leal

Abstract

Caecidae is a widespread family of minute gastropod snails. Although a few species have previously been found in abundance in a few localized studies in Broward County waters, little is known about their richness, diversity, abundance and distribution in different habitats throughout local waters. This project examined species assemblages both qualitatively and quantitatively in a range of benthic habitats across Broward County. Samples were collected from five different habitat types from northern and southern Broward Country, and included two of each of the following five sites: mangrove, Intracoastal Waterway, creek, reef and rubble. Caecid specimens were removed from general samples, separated by species or developmental stage and preserved in 95% ethanol. Also, as artificial substrates have become an increasingly important resource enhancement technique, this project also compared Caecidae assemblages on artificial vs. natural substrates using a large dataset previously used primarily to examine amphipod crustacean assemblages. Species recorded in Broward County include Caecum pulchellum, C. imbricatum, C. floridanum, C. textile and Meioceras nitidum. Published records exist for 14 additional species collected elsewhere in South Florida (e.g., Palm Beach County). Descriptions, distributional data and synonymies summarizing available information are given for all 19 species. Nearly 97% of the specimens, including Caecum pulchellum, Caecum floridanum and Meioceras nitidum, were found on the reef and rubble habitats; approximately 2.5% percent were found in the Intracoastal; approximately 0.5% were found in the creek, and all taxa were absent in both mangrove habitats. A repeated measures MANOVA indicated no significant differences among any of the factors (reef type, substrate or genus) over time; (RM MANOVA, F=0.112, 2.596, 0.018, 4.604), p values = 0.769, 0.248, 0.906, 0.141) suggesting that there were no preferences in substrate material among the species investigated.

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