Project CONA C24F 18-07. “Diversity and abundance of dinoflagellate cysts in northwest Patagonia; evaluating the effects of physico-chemico factors and biological interactions”
At first glance the title of this project does not appear to have much to do with meiofauna, the research I will be conducting is relevant to the “biological interactions” component of the study. I have theory that meiofaunal organisms may feed on dinoflagellate cysts in the sediments and thus may contribute in determining cyst abundance in the sediments, I have written an essay on the theme. In the context of this study I will be looking at how, if at all, the meiofaunal assemblages change in relation to the abundance of dinoflagellate cysts in the sediment.
Sampling of sediments from the fjords, channels and continental shelf of the Los Lagos and Aysen regions was carried out during the CIMAR 24 cruise, aboard the Chilean Navy’s research vessel Cabo de Hornos (above), between the 24th of September and the 18th of October 2018. The sampling sites are indicated in the map of the cruise, as is usual on these types of cruises, not all the planned sampling sites yielded samples, typically because of sampling being abandoned due to bad weather. I did not travel on this cruise due to teaching commitments, so the samples were collected by two PhD students Camilo Rodríguez and Angie Baldrich.
Two types of meiofaunal samples were collected at the majority of stations. Firstly, qualitative samples which will be used for mounting up individual specimens in order to generate a comprehensive species list. Second, five replicate 50 ml quantitative samples at each station. These will be analysed using my standard methodology of mounting the entire sample on large glass slides and analysing both diversity and abundance. In addition, via other components of the project and other projects that were also sampling on the cruise I will have available data on dinoflagellate cyst abundance, sediment granulometry, sediment redox, temperature, and salinity for each sampling station.