Use of nematode maturity index for the determination of ecological quality status: a case study from the Black Sea

Derya Ürkmez, Murat Sezgin, Levent Bat

Department of Hydrobiology, Faculty of Fisheries, Sinop University, 57000, Sinop, TURKEY


Free-living marine nematodes inhabiting the shallow waters (3m) of Sinop Bay were analyzed to evaluate their usage as biological indicators. Their functional diversity was studied seasonally (August 2009, October 2009, January 2010 and April 2010). Life history strategies (c─p scaling) of nematode assemblages were examined. The Maturity Index (MI) based on c─p scale was calculated to test if it may be used for the interpretation of the environmental conditions and the determination of the ecological quality status of benthic habitats in the Black Sea ecosystem. Highest MI value was found at station C1 in April where the lowest organic matter concentration was recorded. The results indicated a possible utilization of MI and c–p class percentages to identify the ecological quality status of benthic environments according to Water Framework Directive.

Keywords: Free-living marine nematodes, Water Framework Directive, maturity index, functional diversity, Sinop Bay

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