This study documents the spatiotemporal distribution of free-living nematodes in glacial-fed river reaches (Möll River, Austrian Alps), which is a widely neglected topic in glacial-fed stream research. Benthic nematodes of the meta- and hypokryal, in a lotic reach within a glacially formed floodplain and in the glacio-rhithral, were investigated in spring, summer, and autumn 2005. The overall nematofauna was diverse and dense with 77 species, H′ of 2.7, and mean abundance of 86 individuals per 10 cm2. Nematode community parameters were significantly influenced by sites, but not by seasons. At the kryal sites, nematode overall mean abundances slightly increased from the metakryal (8 ind. per 10 cm2) to the hypokryal (11 ind. per 10 cm2), but species number decreased (from 15 species to 6 species). Nematodes became more dense and diverse in both the glacio-rhithral (overall mean: 49 ind. per 10 cm2; 52 total species) and the floodplain reach (overall mean: 251 ind. per 10 cm2; 65 total species). Species composition and dominant species differed among the four sites. Deposit feeders represented the dominant feeding type at each site. The lowest maturity index reflected the harsh character of the recently deglacierized meta- and hypokryal sites.
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