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01.04.2014 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 4/2014

Biodiversity and Conservation 4/2014

Sediment-benthos relationships as a tool to assist in conservation practices in a coastal lagoon subjected to sediment change

Zeitschrift:
Biodiversity and Conservation > Ausgabe 4/2014
Autoren:
Carl Van Colen, Dominique Verbelen, Koen Devos, Laure Agten, Joke Van Tomme, Magda Vincx, Steven Degraer
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Elizabeth Masden.

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10531-014-0638-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

This study explores the relation between sediment composition and intertidal macrobenthos populations in the Zwin nature reserve (Belgium and The Netherlands), a tidal lagoon that is included in the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance and has been designated as Natura 2000 area, among others due to its function as wintering habitat for shorebirds that feed upon macrobenthic invertebrates. Species response models show highest biomass of these prey species in organically enriched cohesive sediments and a distinct decline in probability of occurrence for most species in coarse sediments. Further, the biomass of macrobenthos declined between 2003 and 2010 in the extensive low intertidal inlet channel concurrent with the coarsening of the sediment over time in this hydrodynamically stressed habitat. In contrast, macrobenthos biomass increased in a sheltered shallow intertidal habitat that acted as a catchment area for finer sediments, therefore facilitating the succession towards a higher elevated habitat with salt marsh vegetation establishment. Hence, spatio-temporal sediment dynamics decreased site quality for intertidal predators due to a reduction in feeding areas over time, and a change in physical sediment properties that alter the macrobenthos species occurrence and population biomass. This study thus illustrates that sediment transport dynamics may affect the functioning of coastal shallow soft-sediment habitats, like coastal lagoons. The presented macrobenthos species response models provide a tool to assist in management actions that enable the conservation of cohesive low intertidal habitats that provide a high food supply to shorebirds, fish and macrocrustaceans.

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Zusatzmaterial
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 89 kb)
10531_2014_638_MOESM1_ESM.doc
Literatur
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