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Cold winter effects on benthic macrofauna communities in near- and offshore regions of the North Sea
Reiss, H.; Meybohm, K.; Kröncke, I. (2006). Cold winter effects on benthic macrofauna communities in near- and offshore regions of the North Sea. Helgol. Mar. Res. 60(3): 224-238. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10152-006-0038-3
In: Helgoland Marine Research. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 1438-387X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Benthic communities; Cold season; Long-term records; Temporal variations; Zoobenthos; ANE, Germany, German Bight [Marine Regions]; ANE, North Sea [Marine Regions]; ANE, North Sea, Dogger Bank [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Reiss, H.
  • Meybohm, K.
  • Kröncke, I., more

Abstract
    In order to investigate the effect of severe winters on the long-term variability of benthic macrofauna communities four stations from the inner German Bight towards the Dogger Bank (North Sea) were sampled in March 1990 and from May 1995 to 2002. The stations were chosen to reflect a gradient in the hydrographic regime, temperature and organic matter supply. We initially hypothesized that the effect of severe winters on benthic communities will be more pronounced in the offshore more stable environment than in the nearshore regions. Our results clearly showed the opposite pattern. The benthic communities at the nearshore stations in the German Bight changed dramatically in species abundance and community structure after the severe winter 1995/1996. But the community structure in the German Bight returned to the previous stage within 2 years. In contrast, the offshore stations in the Oyster Ground and at the Dogger Bank remained rather unaffected by the severe winter and changed gradually during the study period. The results are discussed concerning the ecological importance of severe winters for benthic communities and the utility of our results for interpreting long-term changes.

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