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Six decades of change in pollution and benthic invertebrate biodiversity in a southern New England estuary
Hale, S.S.; Buffum, H.W.; Hughes, M.M. (2018). Six decades of change in pollution and benthic invertebrate biodiversity in a southern New England estuary. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 133: 77-87. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.05.019
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X; e-ISSN 1879-3363, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Marine benthic invertebrates; Biodiversity; Taxonomic distinctness; Temporal trends; Pollution; Narragansett Bay

Authors  Top 
  • Hale, S.S.
  • Buffum, H.W.
  • Hughes, M.M.

Abstract
    Pollution has led to a decline of benthic invertebrate biodiversity of Narragansett Bay, raising questions about effects on ecosystem functions and services including shellfish production, energy flow to fishes, and biogeochemical cycles. Changes in community composition and taxonomic distinctness (biodiversity) were calculated from the 1950s—when quantitative benthic invertebrate data first became available—to 2015. Change in community composition of the bay was correlated with changes in dissolved inorganic nitrogen, dissolved oxygen, and sediment contaminants. A mid-bay reference site showed moderate changes in community composition but no change in biodiversity. In contrast, a more impacted site in the upper bay showed substantial differences in community composition over time and a decline in taxonomic distinctness. Bay-wide, as inputs of some stressors such as nutrients and sediment contaminants have declined, there are signs of recovery of benthic biodiversity but other stressors such as temperature and watershed development are increasing.

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