Spatiotemporal variations in the population dynamics of a few prominent brittle star species (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) from the intertidal flat of the Veraval coast, Gujarat, India
The present communication reports the spatiotemporal variation in the population dynamics of three prominent Ophiuroidea species: Amphipholis squamata, Ophiactis savignyi and Ophiocomella sexradia at the rocky intertidal zone at Veraval (21°35’ N, 69°36’ E) Gujarat, off the Arabian Sea. The two sampling areas with different substratum and community structures were investigated from April 2019 to March 2020. Brittle stars were found inhabited in the coralline bed, zoanthid bed, algal holdfast, rock pool crevices and underneath rocks in the studied coastal areas. A. squamata was the most abundant species followed by O. savignyi and O. sexradia at the Veraval coast. The current study described a few remarkable revelations between the patches of coralline algae and Ophiuroidea abundance. Brittle star population revealed major spatial variations between both sampling sites. Cluster analysis and nMDS support population abundance in a seasonal pattern distribution.
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