|Seasonal and spatial patterns of distribution of subtidal benthic invertebrate communities in the Mondego River, Portugal - a poikilohaline estuary|Chainho, P.; Costa, J.L.; Chaves, M.L.; Lane, M.F.; Dauer, D.M.; Costa, M.J. (2006). Seasonal and spatial patterns of distribution of subtidal benthic invertebrate communities in the Mondego River, Portugal - a poikilohaline estuary, in: Queiroga, H. et al. (Ed.) Marine biodiversity: patterns and processes, assessment, threats, management and conservation: Proceedings of the 38th European Marine Biology Symposium, held in Aveiro, Portugal, 8-12 September 2003. Developments in Hydrobiology, 183: pp. 59-74. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10750-005-1132-2
In: Queiroga, H. et al. (Ed.) (2006). Marine biodiversity: patterns and processes, assessment, threats, management and conservation: Proceedings of the 38th European Marine Biology Symposium, held in Aveiro, Portugal, 8-12 September 2003. Developments in Hydrobiology, 183. Springer: Dordrecht. ISBN 1-4020-4321-X. XV, 353 pp., more
In: Dumont, H.J. (Ed.) Developments in Hydrobiology. Kluwer Academic/Springer: The Hague; London; Boston; Dordrecht. ISSN 0167-8418, more
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|Document type: Conference paper|
Benthos; Gradients; Seasonal variations; Spatial variations; ANE, Portugal, Mondego Estuary [Marine Regions]; Marine
benthic condition; spatial patterns; seasonal variations; environmental gradients; Mondego River estuary; Venice salinity system
|Authors|| || Top |
- Chainho, P.
- Costa, J.L.
- Chaves, M.L.
- Lane, M.F.
- Dauer, D.M.
- Costa, M.J.
The use of benthic assemblages to assess ecological quality of estuarine environments is a major tool for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/CE) for European aquatic ecosystems. Benthic communities show spatially heterogeneous distributions and experience seasonal variations due to both natural and anthropogenic stresses. The major goal of this study was to quantify the relationships between environmental gradients and the spatial and temporal patterns of the benthic communities along a Portuguese estuary. Seasonal and spatial variations relating macrobenthic communities and measures of water and sediment quality along the northern branch of the Mondego River estuary were examined at seven sampling stations from July 2000 to June 2001. Cluster analysis of biological data indicated three major groups of communities based on spatial distribution patterns: (1) a lower sector with stronger marine influence and dominated by Streblospio shrubsolii and Cerastoderma glaucum; (2) a middle sector with dominance of S. shrubsolii and Corophium multisetosum; (3) and an upper sector where C. multisetosum dominates a community characterized by a lower number of species. Canonical correspondence analyses of biological and environmental data determined a major salinity gradient influencing benthic communities. Seasonal changes of benthic communities were mainly determined by freshwater input and salinity changes that imposed a strong decrease in densities and number of species during winter, followed by a recovery during spring. Benthic ecological structure and contaminant levels indicated that the Mondego northern branch is moderately disturbed, although opportunistic species dominated the benthic community, suggesting that natural and anthopogenic sources of stress may be acting together. The Mondego River estuary, a poikilohaline-type estuary, characterized by strong seasonal changes in water flow and salinity, cannot be consistently stratified into salinity regions based upon the Venice classification system. Biotic communities, exemplified here by the benthic communities, are seasonally displaced, compared to a homiohaline-type estuary where the Venice system can be applied without modification. Future identification of reference conditions and design of monitoring programs cannot be accomplished without understanding how interactions between biotic and physico-chemical dynamics differ between homiohaline and poikilohaline estuaries. Results obtained in this study could be used to assist future assessments in other Portuguese estuaries.