Ecological Distribution and Community Analysis of Tardigrada From Choccolocco Creek, Alabama

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A seasonal survey of tardigrade populations in the riparian zone of the Choccolocco Creek, Alabama, was undertaken from August 1994 through December 1995. Six sites within the riparian zone were sampled in different portions of the creek. At each site, 3 trees with cryptogams were sampled six times during survey period. From a total of 108 samples, 1,588 tardigrades were extracted and individually mounted on slides in Hoyer's medium. The community was dominated (86%) by specimens in the genus Macrobiotus. One species of Echiniscus was new to science and will be described in a separate paper. No significant difference was found between tardigrade occurrence (total number of individuals) and season, moss genera, or three species. However, there was a significant relationship between the number of tardigrades and sites, indicating the need for additional replicate samples. Simpson's and Shannon-Wiener's species diversity indicated indicated that species richness and evenness were low. Jaccard's and Standard's community similarity indices suggested that the communities within the riparian zone were dissimilar along Choccolocco Creek.