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A comparison of the macrobenthic faunas of permanently open and temporarily open/closed Sout African estuaries
Teske, P.R.; Wooldridge, T. (2001). A comparison of the macrobenthic faunas of permanently open and temporarily open/closed Sout African estuaries. Hydrobiologia 464: 227-243
In: Hydrobiologia. Springer: The Hague. ISSN 0018-8158, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Benthos; Density; Ecological zonation; Estuaries; Intertidal environment; Species diversity; PSW, South Africa [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Teske, P.R.
  • Wooldridge, T., more

    Thirteen estuaries in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, were broadly categorised according to size and salinity distribution and were assigned to one of the following categories: permanently open estuaries having a strong salinity gradient between mouth and upper estuary, freshwater-deprived permanently open estuaries, medium-sized temporarily open/closed estuaries, and small, temporarily open/closed estuaries. The macrobenthos collected during surveys was then compared in terms of the following parameters: species composition, salinity, sediment mud content, density of macrobenthic animals, Hill's N0 (species richness), and Hill's N1 (diversity). Mud content was found to be the most important environmental variable responsible for biotic patterns found, and sites were consequently assigned to either a sand zone fauna, or a mud zone fauna. Both types of fauna are presenting all estuaries sampled, with upper sites of river dominated estuaries having an additional oligohaline fauna, and freshwater-deprived estuaries providing habitat for many marine species. Small, temporarily open/closed estuaries have the highest macrobenthic density, whereas N0 and N1 are highest in freshwater-deprived permanently open systems. River-dominated permanently open estuaries tend to have lower macrobenthic densities, species richness, and diversities compared to estuaries in the other categories. No seasonal differences in these ecological indices were found within any of the estuarine categories.

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