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Spatial variability of epifaunal communities from artificial habitat: shipwrecks in the Southern Bight of the North Sea
Zintzen, V.; Norro, A.; Massin, C.; Mallefet, J. (2007). Spatial variability of epifaunal communities from artificial habitat: shipwrecks in the Southern Bight of the North Sea, in: Zintzen, V. Biodiversity of shipwrecks from the Southern Bight of the North Sea. pp. 185-228
In: Zintzen, V. (2007). Biodiversity of shipwrecks from the Southern Bight of the North Sea. PhD Thesis. Institut Royal des Sciences Naturellles de Belgique/Université Catholique de Louvain: Louvain-la-Neuve. 343 pp., more

Also published as
  • Zintzen, V.; Norro, A.; Massin, C.; Mallefet, J. (2008). Spatial variability of epifaunal communities from artificial habitat: shipwrecks in the Southern Bight of the North Sea. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 76(2): 327-344. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2007.07.012, more

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Keywords
    Biomass; Underwater habitats; Wrecks; Metridium senile (Linnaeus, 1761) [WoRMS]; Metridium senile (Linnaeus, 1761) [WoRMS]; Tubularia Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; ANE, North Sea, Southern Bight [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    artificial substrata; epizoites; population density; biomass; Tubularia; Metridium senile; North Sea

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Abstract
    We investigated the cover, community structure and abiotic environment of nine shipwrecks lying at increasing distance from the Belgian coast. Results indicated that all shipwrecks were strongly dominated by cnidarians in terms of biomass and by amphipods in terms of abundances. Based on their epifaunal composition, three groups of shipwrecks could be determined. Metridium senile dominated a species poor community of the coastal sites. On the same sites, a Tubularia larynx community with a more species-rich assemblage was also developing. The T. larynx community had a lower biomass value (102 g AFDW m-2) and significantly lower species richness compared to the other sites. The coastal sites were characterized by periodic salinity decreases, large seasonal temperature fluctuation, high total suspended matter load and reduced current velocity. Channel water masses influence the offshore sites causing a more stable temperature and salinity environment, less turbid waters and high current speed. Tubularia indivisa dominated this community, with an average biomass of 229 g AFDW m-2. Intermediate sites were also dominated by T. indivisa, but a higher biomass (424 g AFDW m-2) was observed. They showed intermediate results for the abiotic parameters and fast current velocities. Hypotheses for the observed variation in community structures are discussed in the light of the abiotic characterization of the shipwrecks.

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