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Exploring interactions among intertidal macrozoobenthos of the Dutch Wadden Sea using population growth models
Williams, I.D.; van der Meer, J.; Dekker, R.; Holmes, S.P. (2004). Exploring interactions among intertidal macrozoobenthos of the Dutch Wadden Sea using population growth models. J. Sea Res. 52(4): 307-319. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2004.03.002
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Interactions; Intertidal environment; Macrobenthos; Models; Population dynamics; Zoobenthos; ANE, Netherlands [Marine Regions]; ANE, Wadden Sea [Marine Regions]; Denmark, Wadden Sea; Netherlands, Wadden Sea; Marine
Author keywords
    Intertidal; Intertidaal; Macrozoobenthos; Macrozoöbenthos

Authors  Top 
  • Williams, I.D.
  • van der Meer, J., more
  • Dekker, R.
  • Holmes, S.P.

Abstract
    Using data taken from three long-term monitoring programs, we modelled the population dynamics of 13 common macrozoobenthic species of the Balgzand, an approximately 50 km2 intertidal area in the Dutch part of the Wadden Sea. In order to identify likely interactions among species, while accounting as much as possible for other factors influencing population dynamics, models included both ‘environmental’ (water temperature, and phytoplankton concentration) and ‘biological’ (biomass of potentially interacting species) variables. This approach appeared to be effective at identifying certain types of interactions acting over relatively short time-frames, such as predation and competition for food. Among the species we considered, the strongest effects of this kind appeared to be from what we presume to be predation by Nephtys hombergii, and from competition for food among bivalves. Several of the strongest results of our analysis corroborated expectations derived from previous small-scale surveys or experimental studies, but there were also a number of highly significant results indicating possible interactions which were not immediately explicable, including the apparent positive effect of Macoma balthica on Arenicola marina, and the apparent negative effect of Nephtys hombergii on Mya arenaria. Our results also suggest that year to year changes in Cerastoderma edule and Arenicola marina populations did not have substantial and widespread influences on the population dynamics of the majority of other common infauna, which is not to deny the likely critical importance of recruitment effects and biogenic transformation of the intertidal environment by these species over longer time frames. Our modelling approach could be applied to other long-term data sets, and will become more useful as longer time series become available.

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