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Long-term changes in the diversity and faunal structure of benthic communities in the northern North Sea: natural variability or induced instability?
Pearson, T.H.; Mannvik, H.-P. (1998). Long-term changes in the diversity and faunal structure of benthic communities in the northern North Sea: natural variability or induced instability? Hydrobiologia 375-376: 317-329
In: Hydrobiologia. Springer: The Hague. ISSN 0018-8158, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Pearson, T.H.; Mannvik, H.-P. (1998). Long-term changes in the diversity and faunal structure of benthic communities in the northern North Sea: natural variability or induced instability?, in: Baden, S. et al. (Ed.) Recruitment, Colonization, and Physical-Chemical Forcing in Marine Biological Systems: Proceedings of the 32nd European Marine Biology Symposium, held in Lysekil, Sweden, 16-22 August 1997. Developments in Hydrobiology, 132: pp. 317-329, more

Available in Authors 
Document type: Conference paper

Keywords
    Benthos; Biological production; Climatic changes; Development projects; Dominance hierarchies; Ecosystem disturbance; Environmental impact; Oil and gas fields; Species diversity; ANE, North Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Pearson, T.H., more
  • Mannvik, H.-P.

Abstract
    Changes in benthic sedimentary communities in many areas of the northern North Sea in the vicinity of oil and gas fields have been monitored intermittently over the past three decades, in most cases triennially but in some areas annually for short periods. Accumulating evidence from these surveys suggests that large scale temporal variability occurs in both the diversity and structure of these communities on time scales varying from years to decades. A recent change to regional, rather than field based, surveys in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea has provided evidence that spatially such changes occur on broad scales and are not local responses to field based environmental disturbance. The possible factors inducing such changes are reviewed and the relative temporal and spatial stability of benthic infaunal communities in response to fluctuating pelagic conditions and levels of sedimentary disturbance are discussed. It is suggested that broad scale temporal and spatial variability in these benthic communities is driven by climatic forces influencing the overlying water masses but that there may have been some increase in pelagic productivity and/or in benthic pelagic coupling in the area in recent years.

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