|Spatio-temporal distribution patterns of the epibenthic community in the coastal waters of Suriname|Willems, T.; De Backer, A.; You, K.; Vincx, M.; Hostens, K. (2015). Spatio-temporal distribution patterns of the epibenthic community in the coastal waters of Suriname. Cont. Shelf Res. 108: 25-40. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2015.08.006
In: Continental Shelf Research. Pergamon Press: Oxford; New York. ISSN 0278-4343, more
Suriname; Tropical; Soft-bottom; Coastal waters; Epibenthos;Xiphopenaeus kroyeri
This study aimed to characterize the spatio-temporal patterns of the epibenthic community in the coastal waters of Suriname. Data were collected on a (bi)monthly basis in 2012–2013 at 15 locations in the shallow (<40 m) coastal area, revealing three spatially distinct species assemblages, related to clear gradients in some environmental parameters. A species-poor coastal assemblage was discerned within the muddy, turbid-water zone (6–20 m depth), dominated by Atlantic seabob shrimp Xiphopenaeus kroyeri (Crustacea: Penaeoidea). Near the 30 m isobath, sediments were much coarser (median grain size on average 345±103 µm vs. 128±53 µm in the coastal assemblage) and water transparency was much higher (on average 7.6±3.5 m vs. 2.4±2.1 m in the coastal assemblage). In this zone, a diverse offshore assemblage was found, characterized by brittle stars (mainly Ophioderma brevispina and Ophiolepis elegans) and a variety of crabs, sea stars and hermit crabs. In between both zones, a transition assemblage was noted, with epibenthic species typically found in either the coastal or offshore assemblages, but mainly characterized by the absence of X. kroyeri. Although the epibenthic community was primarily structured in an on-offshore gradient related to depth, sediment grain size and sediment total organic carbon content, a longitudinal (west-east) gradient was apparent as well. The zones in the eastern part of the Suriname coastal shelf seemed to be more widely stretched along the on-offshore gradient. Although clear seasonal differences were noted in the environmental characteristics (e.g. dry vs. rainy season), this was not reflected in the epibenthic community structure. X. kroyeri reached very high densities (up to 1383 ind 1000 m-²) in the shallow coastal waters of Suriname. As X. kroyeri is increasingly exploited throughout its range, the current study provides the ecological context for its presence and abundance, which is crucial for an ecosystem approach and the sustainable management of this commercially important species and its habitat.