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Comparing efficacy of different taxonomic resolutions and surrogates in detecting changes in soft bottom assemblages due to coastal defence structures
Colangelo, M.A. (2009). Comparing efficacy of different taxonomic resolutions and surrogates in detecting changes in soft bottom assemblages due to coastal defence structures. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 58(5): 686-694.
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Author 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 147972 [ MOA ]

    Coast defences; Macrobenthos; Sufficiency (Statistics); Bivalvia [WoRMS]; Polychaeta [WoRMS]; MED, Adriatic Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    Taxonomic sufficiency; Coastal defence schemes; Macrobenthos;Polychaetes; Bivalves; Adriatic Sea

Author  Top 
  • Colangelo, M.A.

    Sandy shores on the West coast of the North Adriatic Sea are extensively protected by different types of defence structures to prevent coastal erosion. Coastal defence schemes modify the hydrodynamic regime, the sediment structure and composition thus affecting the benthic assemblages. This study examines the effectiveness in detecting changes in soft bottom assemblages caused by coastal defence structures by using different levels of taxonomic resolution, polychaetes and/or bivalves as surrogates and different data transformations. A synoptic analyses of three datasets of subtidal benthic macrofauna used in studies aimed at assessing the impact of breakwaters along the North Adriatic coast has been done. Analyses of similarities and correlations between distance matrices were done using matrices with different levels of taxonomic resolution, and with polychaetes or bivalves data alone. Lentidium mediterraneum was the most abundant species in all datasets. Its abundance was not consistently related to the presence of defence structures. Moreover, distribution patterns of L. mediterraneum were masking the structure of the whole macrofaunal assemblages. Removal of L. mediterraneum from the datasets allowed the detection of changes in benthic assemblages due to coastal defences. Analyses on different levels of taxonomic resolution showed that the level of family maintained sufficient information to detect the impacts of coastal defence structures on benthic assemblages. Moreover, the outcomes depended on the transformation used. Patterns of distribution of bivalves, used as surrogates, showed low correlations with the patterns of the total macrofaunal species assemblages. Patterns of polychaetes, if identified to the species or genus level showed higher correlations with the whole dataset. However, the identification of polychaetes to species and genus level is as costly as the identification of all macrobenthic taxa at family level.

    This study provided additional evidences that taxonomic sufficiency is a useful tool in environmental monitoring, also in investigations on the impacts of coastal defence structures on subtidal macrofauna. The use of coarser taxonomic level, being time-efficient, would allow improving sampling designs of monitoring programs by increasing replication in space and time and by allowing long term monitoring studies.

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