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Sediment cores were collected inside and outside of a bed of a bromophenol-producing marine polychaete, Notomastus lobatus, and examined for impact of the bromophenols on sediment microflora and meiofauna around N. lobatus burrows. No significant differences were found between microbial parameters measured inside and outside of the N. lobatus bed. Integrated 6 cm cores taken adjacent to N. lobatus burrows contained 1.2 x 109 bacteria ml-1. Cell numbers were similar at control sites within the bed, but away from burrows, and not significantly different from cell numbers (1.0 X 109 cells ml-1) at a nearby site. [3H]-acetate net assimilation rates were 12.7 ± 5.0 pmol mm-1 h-1 adjacent to burrows and 11.9 ± 1.4 pmol ml-1 h-1 in non-burrow control cores. Microalgal biomass was 20.1 ± 1.2 mg chl a m-2 adjacent to burrows and 24.3 ± 1.0 mg chl a m-2 in non-burrow control cores. Microalgal production was 4.17 ± 0.31 mmol O2 m-2 h-1 near burrows and 5.84 ± 0.97 mmol O2 m-2 h-1 in nonburrow controls. Distribution of bacteria, microalgae, and meiofauna showed no consistent effects of proximity to the worm burrows. These data indicate that the concentrations of bromophenols found inside of the N. lobatus worm bed are not inhibitory to sediment microflora and that the microbial populations found there are adapted to exposure to these toxic compounds.

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