Substantial abundance and diversity of intertidal invertebrates known as meiofauna are evident on a sandy beach of Sapelo Island, Georgia. Meiofauna are small, benthic, nearly ubiquitous animals. They consume microbes and detritus and are a food source for juvenile fish and ghost shrimp. Meiofauna were manually separated from sand samples collected from three intertidal zones and two depths during low tide in January, March, June, and October, 2017. Fifteen major meiofaunal clades were identified in June, while only eight were observed in January; in all, there were sixteen clades observed. Highest meiofauna densities were found in the middle intertidal zone and in the top 5 cm of sand. Abundance was high year round, and highest in the summer and fall months. Temperature, sand grain size, slope of the beach, and weathering processes may influence this meiofaunal variation. This research could contribute future insight into metazoan food webs and beach disturbances.


We thank John Baxter, Timothy Hernandez, Kendall Maze, Sharon Schmidt, and Logan Young for assistance with sample collection and processing, and Tracy Foor for assistance with sample collection and meiofauna identification. We also thank the University of Georgia Marine Institute (UGAMI) on Sapelo Island for generous use of their facilities.