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Interplay between biology and sedimentology in a mudflat (Biezelingse Ham, Westerschelde, The Netherlands)
de Brouwer, J.F.C.; Bjelic, S.; de Deckere, E.M.G.T.; Stal, L.J. (2000). Interplay between biology and sedimentology in a mudflat (Biezelingse Ham, Westerschelde, The Netherlands). Cont. Shelf Res. 20(10-11): 1159-1177. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/S0278-4343(00)00017-0
In: Continental Shelf Research. Pergamon Press: Oxford; New York. ISSN 0278-4343, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Coastal morphology; Estuaries; Hydrodynamics; Mud flats; Phytobenthos; Polymers; Sediment analysis; ANE, Netherlands, Westerschelde, Biezelingse Ham Mud Flat [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    Estuary; Mudflat morphology; Extracellular polymeric substances; Sediment characteristics; Microphytobenthos; Hydrodynamics

Authors  Top 
  • de Brouwer, J.F.C., more
  • Bjelic, S.
  • de Deckere, E.M.G.T., more
  • Stal, L.J., more

Abstract
    The aim of this research was to investigate the importance of biological processes on the sediment characteristics and the morphology of a mudflat in the Westerschelde (The Netherlands). For this purpose, a transect in the Biezelingse Ham mudflat was sampled on a monthly basis. In spring, the muddy part of the mudflat was dominated by a biofilm of microphytobenthos that altered the morphology of the mudflat and resulted in a two-fold increase in sediment stability. The biofilm also bound fine-grained sediment that was deposited. From June onwards, wind generated waves dominated the conditions at the mudflat which resulted in the disappearance of diatom biofilms, and caused a gradual erosion of the mudflat. During this period, meio- and macrofauna densities increased from which it was concluded that the hydrodynamic forces did not have a big impact on these communities. Spatial variations in sediment characteristics, morphology and biology were observed between stations 1 and 2 on the one hand and station 3 on the other. This resulted in different responses to the changing conditions on the mudflat. In general, the results from this field study indicate that sedimentology and biology, interact in a complex manner with the hydrodynamic regime both on a temporal as well as on a spatial scale.

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