Molluscan assemblages associated with Gigartina beds in the Strait of Magellan and the South Shetland Islands (Antarctica): a comparison of composition and abundance
In this paper we evaluated the composition and abundance of molluscs associated with beds of the red algae Gigartina, located in the South Shetland Islands (Antarctic Peninsula) and the Strait of Magellan (southern Chile). During the summer season of 2013, samples were obtained by scuba diving using a 0.25 m2 quadrat, arranged randomly within the bed. We extracted a total of 15 quadrats per sampling site. For Antarctic Peninsula beds the most abundant species were the bivalve Lissarca miliaris (233 individuals) and the gastropod Laevilacunaria antarctica (94 individuals), while for Strait of Magellan beds the most abundant species was the polyplacophoran Callochiton puniceus (36 individuals). Comparative analysis between the two molluscan assemblages showed significant differences in the faunal composition between the Antarctic Peninsula and Strait of Magellan (f = 64.474; p = 0.0001). Therefore, molluscs reported in both areas are characteristic of their respective biogeographic area. Finally, Gigartina species play an important role in the formation of patterns of abundance and diversity of the communities associated with them.
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