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Revista Brasileira de Zoologia
Print version ISSN 0101-8175
MASI, Bruno P. and ZALMON, Ilana R.. Zonation of intertidal benthic communities on breakwaters of different hydrodynamics in the north coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rev. Bras. Zool. [online]. 2008, vol.25, n.4, pp. 662-673. ISSN 0101-8175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-81752008000400011.
The present study aims to compare the vertical distribution of intertidal benthic communities in two sites composed by granitic boulders with distint hydrodynamics due to different wave swells at Farol de São Tomé (Pier) and Barra do Furado beaches (Barra), both in northern state of Rio de Janeiro. Quadrats of 400 cm2 were overlapped along three vertical profiles on each site and were sampled by the photoquadrat method from 0.2 m of the tide level to the upper limit of Littorina spp. The upper limit of the marine organisms was higher at Barra site (3.8 m) than at Píer site (2.2 m). Nine species were common to both sites. Chaetomorpha sp., Chondracanthus teedii (Mertens ex Roth) Fredericq, and Grateloupia sp. were unique to Barra, whereas Tetraclita stalactifera (Lamarck, 1818), Fissurella clench, Gracilaria domingensis (Kützing) Sonder ex Dickie, and Hypnea musciformis (Wulfen in Jacqu.) Lamouroux occurred only at Píer boulders. On both sites species richness and diversity were superior at the intermediate quadrats of the intertidal zone. The highest values were recorded at Barra. The most pronounced assemblage differences between equivalent areas of either site occurred on the lower upper eulittoral band followed by the lower eulittoral and the sub-littoral fringe, respectively. The littoral fringe assemblage was the only one that did not show significant differences among the studied sites, yet a larger range of this fringe and the upper eulittoral band at Barra was quite evident. This site was mostly characterized by species of more exposed areas, such as Chaetomorpha sp. and Perna perna (Linnaeus, 1758) on upper and lower eulittoral bands, and by C. teedii and Ulva fasciata Delile, 1813 on the sub-littoral fringe. At Píer, the intertidal zone showed an even distribution, reflecting a less stressful environment. The differences on vertical distribution of the local benthic, particularly in the extent of the upper bands, indicate the variable conditions of wave exposure.
Keywords : Benthic assemblage; boulders; spatial variability; vertical distribution.