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The role of scallop-dredge disturbance in long-term changes in Irish Sea benthic communities: a re-analysis of an historical dataset
Bradshaw, C.; Veale, L.O.; Brand, A.R. (2002). The role of scallop-dredge disturbance in long-term changes in Irish Sea benthic communities: a re-analysis of an historical dataset. J. Sea Res. 47(2): 161-184
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Benthos; Dredges; Ecosystem disturbance; Long-term changes; Scallop fisheries; ANE, Irish Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    Long-term; Historical data

Authors  Top 
  • Bradshaw, C., correspondent
  • Veale, L.O.
  • Brand, A.R.

Abstract
    Benthic community data collected between 1938 and 1950 by N.S. Jones were compared with modern samples from seven sites in the Irish Sea. Multivariate and univariate methods were used to compare community change over time and examine the possible impact of scallop dredging over the 60 year time period. A conservative approach to data analysis ensured that observed differences in faunal composition between time periods were not due to differences in sampling methodologies or taxonomic identification. The community composition changed at all sites, though to different degrees. The amount of change was related to how long a site had been fished, rather than fishing intensity. Mobile, robust and scavenging taxa have increased in abundance, while slow-moving or sessile, fragile taxa have decreased. Differences between historical and modern samples were greater than could be accounted for by the natural variability of the system (as indicated by spatial and temporal replication at three sites) and indicate real long-term change. This study emphasises that, in the absence of good-quality data series and experiments, the use of `fuzzy' historical data is often the only possible way to judge long-term change and can yield valuable results.

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