Marine meiobenthic and nematode community structure in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong upon recovery from sewage pollution.
ABSTRACT Sediment quality, meiofaunal and nematode communities were monitored across six time points at two inside-harbour and three outside-harbour sites over a three-year period in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, after the implementation of a sewage treatment project. Twenty-one meiofaunal groups comprising mainly free-living nematodes and harpacticoid copepods and 188 species of free-living nematodes were identified. The outside-harbour area had a more diverse and significantly different nematode community structure as compared to that in the inside-harbour area. Such spatial difference was highly correlated with the total Kjeldahl nitrogen content of the sediments. Over the study period, there was no significant improvement in sediment quality within the harbour. However, in the last sampling time, an increase in meiofaunal abundance and a closer similarity in nematode composition between one of the inside- and outside-harbour sites suggested signs of recovery of the meiofauna as a response to abatement of sewage pollution.