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Benthos-epibenthos interactions in the Dutch Wadden Sea
van der Veer, H.W.; Witte, J. IJ. (1998). Benthos-epibenthos interactions in the Dutch Wadden Sea, in: de Jong, P.D. et al. Associations between fish species of the Dutch coast and estuaries. Benthos-epibenthos interactions in the Dutch Wadden Sea. BEON Rapport = BEON-report, 98(16): pp. 1-18
In: de Jong, P.D.; van der Veer, H.W.; Witte, J. IJ. (1998). Associations between fish species of the Dutch coast and estuaries. Benthos-epibenthos interactions in the Dutch Wadden Sea. BEON Rapport = BEON-report, 98(16). RIKZ: Den Haag. 31 pp., more
In: BEON Rapport = BEON-report. Programma Bureau BEON: Den Haag. ISSN 0924-6576, more

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Document type: Project report

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Authors  Top 
  • van der Veer, H.W.
  • Witte, J. IJ.

Abstract
    In this paper, the 'distribution hypothesis' is studied for the common epibenthic species in the Dutch Wadden Sea area. A total of 38 sampling stations, distributed over the intertidal and subtidal of the Dutch Wadden Sea, were visited in August-September 1987 and simultaneously sampled for benthic infauna and epibenthic predators. The benthic fauna consisted of in total 26 different species, of which 15 belonged to the Polychaetes, 6 to the Molluscs and 5 to the group of Crustaceans. No clear difference between intertidal and subtidal areas could be observed. All species were found in the intertidal and only Corophium volutator did not occur in the sublittoral. Biomass values were on average higher in the intertidal than in the sublittoral. The mean biomass in the intertidal amounted about 75 g AFDW.m-2, while in the sublittoral values were on average about 28 g AFDW/m-2. Most biomass consisted of bivalves and the very high values were mainly caused by mussel beds in the intertidal. At all stations, crustaceans hardly contributed to the total biomass figure. In the epibenthic survey, in total 21 epibenthic species were caught among which 18 fish species. Almost all species did occur in the sublittoral, except for the butterfish Pholis gunellus. The sea-snail Liparis liparis and the scad Trachurus trachurus were only found in the sublittoral and did not occur in the intertidal. With respect to the relative freqency of occurrence and biomass of a species, 5 species could be considered as characteristic for the intertidal. The sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus, the brown shrimp Crangon crangon and the shore crab Carcinus maenas were present at all stations, and also the plaice Pleuronectes platessa and the Nilsson's pipefish Syngnathus rostellatus could be found at more than 75% of the stations. In the sublittoral, two other species were common: the sandeel Ammodytes tobianus and the bul rout Myoxocephalus scorpius. Also the starfish Asterias rubens and the dab Limanda limanda were more frequently observed in the sublittoral. A few significant relationships between epibenthic and benthic species were found. The dab Limanda limanda showed a negative relationship with the bivalve Macoma balthica. The abundance of the whiting Merlangius merlangius was positively related to the biomass of the polychaete Magelone papilliformis. The sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus showed a positive relationship to the biomass of Capitella capitata and the brown shrimp Crangon crangon showed a relationship with Heteromastus filiformis. In the present analysis this 'distribution hypothesis' could not be validated. The main reason was a too low number of sampling stations. The validation should be repeated with a much larger number of sampling stations, including very muddy areas. Another improvement would be a more frequent sampling in time, instead of August-September only.

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