Are taxonomy details of relevance to ecologists? An example from microcopepods of the Red Sea

Böttger-Schnack, Ruth, Lenz, Jürgen and Weikert, H. (2004) Are taxonomy details of relevance to ecologists? An example from microcopepods of the Red Sea Marine Biology, 144 . pp. 1127-1140. DOI 10.1007/s00227-003-1272-8.

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The marine microcopepod family Oncaeidae in the Red Sea has been the subject of comprehensive ecological studies over the past 15 years, providing for the first time insights into their community structure, vertical distribution and feeding ecology. Owing to taxonomic problems in species identification, however, many of the earlier ecological results were based on provisionally named species or morphotypes. A recent, ongoing taxonomic study of Red Sea Oncaeidae resulted in a considerable increase in the estimated numbers of species, since many of the species had not been described before. The present paper focuses on the potential significance of an improved taxonomic resolution of oncaeids with respect to various ecological aspects in this area, such as indicator species, community analysis and vertical distribution. The progress in our knowledge of the diversity of Red Sea Oncaeidae is summarized, including latest findings on the taxonomy and zoogeography of very small species (<0.5 mm), and the importance of sibling species in the family is pointed out. The south–north gradient in species diversity of Oncaeidae within the Red Sea appears to be greater than previously assumed, since several of the newly described species were restricted to the southern part. The number of endemic species among Red Sea oncaeids is very low, however, most of the new species being also recorded outside the Red Sea. New quantitative data on the abundance and vertical distribution of selected oncaeid siblings obtained during a recent cruise in the northern Red Sea are provided to exemplify the changes in the knowledge of oncaeid community structure attributable to the improved taxonomic resolution. The potential ecological importance of a more differentiated consideration of oncaeid species in marine microcopepod communities is discussed

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s00227-003-1272-8
ISSN: 0025-3162
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:52
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2013 09:13

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