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Macrobenthic community structure and distribution in the Zwin nature reserve (Belgium and the Netherlands)
Van Colen, C.; Snoeck, F.; Struyf, K.; Vincx, M.; Degraer, S. (2009). Macrobenthic community structure and distribution in the Zwin nature reserve (Belgium and the Netherlands), in: Van Colen, C. (2009). Tidal flat macrobenthos ecology, recolonisation and succession = Ecologie, herkolonisatie en successie van het macrobenthos in slikken. pp. 211-226
In: Van Colen, C. (2009). Tidal flat macrobenthos ecology, recolonisation and succession = Ecologie, herkolonisatie en successie van het macrobenthos in slikken. PhD Thesis. Universiteit Gent; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Afdeling Mariene Biologie: Gent. ISBN 978-90-902416-6-1. 300 pp., more

Also published as
  • Van Colen, C.; Snoeck, F.; Struyf, K.; Vincx, M.; Degraer, S. (2009). Macrobenthic community structure and distribution in the Zwin nature reserve (Belgium and the Netherlands). J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 89(3): 431-438. dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0025315409003257, more

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Keywords
    Community composition; Habitat selection; Intertidal environment; Macrobenthos; ANE, Belgium, Zwin [Marine Regions]; ANE, Netherlands, Zwin [Marine Regions]; Belgium, Het Zwin natuurreservaat; Marine
Author keywords
    macrobenthic community structure and habitat preferences; Zwin nature reserve; intertidal habitat

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Abstract
    Distribution and structure of intertidal macrobenthic communities in the Zwin nature reserve, a lagoonal inlet consisting of marsh and tidal flat habitats, was investigated using univariate and multivariate analyses. Macrobenthos community structure was related to environmental characteristics and discussed in the framework of the implemented extension of the nature reserve.

    Based on explorative multivariate techniques, five different sample groups (SGs) were distinguished, which were, in general, located in different habitats of the Zwin nature reserve. The ecologically most important SGs consisted of the highest macrobenthic density, diversity and highest densities of Nereis diversicolor and Scrobicularia plana; these important prey species for wading birds and fish occurred in the deep tidal inlet channels. This habitat was characterized by fine to medium sand sediment and strong tidal currents, guaranteeing water renewal at each high tide. Other SGs were found in less and erratically submersed and thus stressed areas (i.e. tidal pond, salt pans and shallow flats). These assemblages were characterized by typical r-strategists (i.e. Capitella capitata and Polydora cornuta) and typical supralittoral, mobile species (i.e. Orchestia gammarellus and Collembola spp.). Being ecologically most important, the extension of wide, tidal creeks should be a prime target within the future development and management of the nature reserve.

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