DIVERSITY OF MARINE INVERTEBRATES ASSOCIATED TO GAS PLATFORMS IN LA GUAJIRA (COLOMBIAN CARIBBEAN SEA)
The industrial and economic development of Colombia has expanded its limits towards the territorial sea in the search for new resources. The prospection and construction of infrastructures in the sea challenge new alternatives for the sustainable development of the country. The main goal of this study was to build a baseline inventory of the marine invertebrates associated to two gas platforms located offshore in La Guajira, at the northeastern Colombian Caribbean Sea: platforms A and B, sitting on sandy bottoms at 18 and 33 m depth, respectively. This inventory includes a total of 116 species of marine invertebrates that were collected by Scuba diving. Crustaceans had the greatest richness with 50 species, from which the infraorder Brachyura was the best represented with 10 families including approximately 44% of species. Mollusks comprised the second largest group with 29 species, followed by annelids with 14 species, sponges with 12 species, cnidarians with 7 species, and finally echinoderms with 4 species. Filter-feeding and sessile organisms dominated in abundance, while mobile species showed a larger number of species. The barnacles complex (Balanus spp.), the octocoral Carijoa riisei and sponges were the main components of the fouling fauna on the structures. Although there are no previous studies for the study area and the southern Caribbean, it is considered that the invertebrates community associated to gas platforms in La Guajira exhibit both high species richness and a large abundance of organisms.
Artificial substrates; biofouling; Colombian Caribbean; macrofauna; inventory of species
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