Taxonomic diversity and identification problems of oncaeid microcopepods in the Mediterranean Sea.

Boettger-Schnack, Ruth and Schnack, Dietrich (2009) Taxonomic diversity and identification problems of oncaeid microcopepods in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biodiversity, 39 . pp. 131-145. DOI 10.1007/s12526-009-0013-8.

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The species diversity of the pelagic microcopepod
family Oncaeidae collected with nets of 0.1-mm mesh
size was studied at 6 stations along a west-to-east transect
in the Mediterranean Sea down to a maximum depth of
1,000 m. A total of 27 species and two form variants have
been identified, including three new records for the
Mediterranean. In addition, about 20, as yet undescribed,
new morphospecies were found (mainly from the genera
Epicalymma and Triconia) which need to be examined
further. The total number of identified oncaeid species was
similar in the Western and Eastern Basins, but for some cooccurring
sibling species, the estimated numerical dominance
changed. The deep-sea fauna of Oncaeidae, studied
at selected depth layers between 400 m and the near-bottom
layer at >4,200 m depth in the eastern Mediterranean
(Levantine Sea), showed rather constant species numbers
down to ∼3,000 m depth. In the near-bottom layers, the
diversity of oncaeids declined and species of Epicalymma
strongly increased in numerical importance. The taxonomic
status of all oncaeid species recorded earlier in the
Mediterranean Sea is evaluated: 19 out of the 46 known
valid oncaeid species are insufficiently described, and most
of the taxonomically unresolved species (13 species) have
originally been described from this area (type locality). The
deficiencies in the species identification of oncaeids cast
into doubt the allegedly cosmopolitan distribution of some
species, in particular those of Mediterranean origin. The
existing identification problems even of well-described
oncaeid species are exemplified for the Oncaea mediacomplex,
including O. media Giesbrecht, O. scottodicarloi
Heron & Bradford-Grieve, and O. waldemari Bersano &
Boxshall, which are often erroneously identified as a single
species (O. media). The inadequacy in the species identification
of Oncaeidae, in particular those from the Atlantic
and Mediterranean, is mainly due to the lack of reliable
identification keys for Oncaeidae in warm-temperate and/or
tropical seas. Future efforts should be directed to the
construction of identification keys that can be updated
according to the latest taxonomic findings, which can be
used by the non-expert as well as by the specialist. The
adequate consideration of the numerous, as yet undescribed,
microcopepod species in the world oceans, in
particular the Oncaeidae, is a challenge for the study of the
structure and function of plankton communities as well as
for global biodiversity estimates.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Copepoda, Oncaeidae, Mediterranean Sea, Species diversity, Deep-sea, Oncaea media-complex
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Marine Evolutionary Ecology
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s12526-009-0013-8
ISSN: 1867-1616
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2009 10:46
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 07:17

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