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Examination of harpacticoid copepod morphology was conducted to determine whether morphological resemblance provides a reasonable index of habltat utilization and movement. Discriminant analysis was used to explore the relationship between body form and habitat utilization for copepod species collected from 3 subhabitats within seagrass beds in Tampa Bay, Florida. To examine the accuracy of our procedure the discriminant function derived for Tarnpa Bay copepods was applied to copepods collected in worldwide studies. Three morphological characteristics - ratio of the length of Pereopod 1 first endopod segment to the remaining endopod segments, area of the cephalosome, and length of the first antennule - significantly contributed to variation in habitat utilization by identifiable groups. Habitat utilization suggested from the literature corresponded well to that predicted by the discriminant function derived for Tampa Bay harpacticoids. Our findings will be useful to suggest which copepods should (1) be associated with vegetation (2) display active migration and (3) be linked to sediment processes.

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Marine Ecology - Progress Series, v. 35, p. 59-64.

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