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Similar diversity-disturbance responses to different physical impacts: Three cases of small-scale biodiversity increase in the Belgian part of the North Sea
De Backer, A.; Van Hoey, G.; Coates, D.; Vanaverbeke, J.; Hostens, K. (2014). Similar diversity-disturbance responses to different physical impacts: Three cases of small-scale biodiversity increase in the Belgian part of the North Sea. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 84(1-2): 251–262. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.05.006
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors | Datasets 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 299926 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Macrobenthos; Marine
Author keywords
    Soft sediments; Sand extraction; Dredge disposal; Offshore wind energy exploitation; Diversity-disturbance response

Authors  Top | Datasets 
  • Vanaverbeke, J., more
  • Hostens, K., more

Abstract
    Human activities at sea are still increasing. As biodiversity is a central topic in the management of our seas, it is important to understand how diversity responds to different disturbances related with physical impacts. We investigated the effects of three impacts, i.e. sand extraction, dredge disposal and offshore wind energy exploitation, on the soft-bottom macrobenthic assemblages in the Belgian part of the North Sea. We found similar diversity-disturbance responses, mainly related to the fact that different impacts caused similar environmental changes. We observed a sediment refinement which triggered a shift towards a heterogenic, dynamic (transitional) soft-bottom macrobenthic assemblage, with several species typically associated with muddy sands. This led to a local unexpected biodiversity increase in the impacted area. On a wider regional scale, the ever increasing human impacts might lead to a homogenization of the sediment, resulting in a more uniform, yet less diverse benthic ecosystem.

Datasets (2)
  • Macrobenthos monitoring in function of aggregate extraction activities in the Belgian part of the North Sea, more
  • Macrobenthos monitoring in function of dredge disposal monitoring in the Belgian part of the North Sea, more

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