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Spatial patterns of benthic macroinvertebrates in intertidal areas of a southern European estuary: the Tagus, Portugal
Rodrigues, A.M.; Meireles, S.; Pereira, T.; Gama, A.; Quintino, V. (2006). Spatial patterns of benthic macroinvertebrates in intertidal areas of a southern European estuary: the Tagus, Portugal, 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. 99-113. dx.doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-4697-9_9
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

Available in Authors 
Document type: Conference paper

Keywords
    Benthos; Intertidal environment; Portugal, Tagus R. [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    spatial patterns; benthic macroinvertebrates; intertidal; Tagus estuary

Authors  Top 
  • Rodrigues, A.M.
  • Meireles, S.
  • Pereira, T.
  • Gama, A.
  • Quintino, V.

Abstract
    This study characterizes the composition and spatial distribution patterns of the benthic macrofauna in the intertidal mudflats of the Tagus estuary, western Portugal. A total of 68 species, more than 226,000 specimens with a total wet weight biomass of approximately 1170 g were identified in 380 sites. The species Streblospio shrubsolii, Cyathura carinata, Tharyx sp., Hydrobia ulvae and Tubificids were the most common and abundant. Scrobicularia plana strongly dominated the biomass. The invertebrate macrofauna of the Tagus estuary shows similarities to what is known from other temperate mudflats. The diversity of species, their overall abundance and the ratio of Molluscs plus Crustaceans to Polychaete species corroborate the distinctiveness between temperate and tropical mudflats and sandflats. The spatial distribution of the fauna reflects the sediment characteristics but the relationship between the environmental and the biological data is not as strong as obtained for sublittoral areas. This relationship diminishes from the sublittoral shelf to sublittoral estuarine areas, showing minimum values in this study, suggesting that such a relationship is less straightforward as natural disturbance increases. Nevertheless, a mixture of grain-size, elevation (inundation time) and particular habitats (relic oyster beds) form the best explanatory factors for the spatial distribution patterns of the intertidal benthic macrofauna of the Tagus estuary.

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