|Gulf of Mexico outer continental shelf benthos: macroinfaunal-environmental relationships|In: Biological Oceanography. Crane, Russak: New York. ISSN 0196-5581, more
Subtropical outer continental shelf macroinfauna off the south Texas coast were studied seasonally over a two-year period. Ordination of the original 25 study sites distinguished five major groupings of stations with respect to infaunal assemblages and a group of stations representing a transition zone between mid-shelf and deep-water communities. Based upon frequency of occurrence for infaunal species that comprised greater than 1% abundance for any sample, six species groups were identified for the station groupings. Multiple discriminant analysis was used to test the biological model (species/station groupings), with environmental parameters measured during the study. The results suggested that the null hypothesis of no environmental difference between infaunal station groups should be rejected. Several environmental variables were identified that may be influencing the distribution of macroinfauna. These variables included water depth and the sediment characteristics of sand/mud ratio, percent silt, and grain size deviation. The results of this investigation indicated that sediment structure played a major role in structuring the benthos. Superimposed upon the sediment dynamics, however, were factors representing a food source to the benthos as well as factors involved in producing variability of the bottom hydrologic environment such as temperature.