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Free Content Differential responses of two nearshore infaunal assemblages to experimental petroleum additions

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Empirical support is provided for the hypothesis that benthic communities found in relatively constant and predictable environments are less stable (resistant and resilient) following unusual disturbances than lower-diversity communities found in more inconstant and unpredictable environments. A less diverse benthic community (i.e., the Streblospio-Tubificoides assemblage) inhabiting an inconstant and unpredictable, shallow marsh cove was disturbed less and recovered faster from an experimental addition of No. 2 fuel oil, than the more diverse benthos (i.e., the Nucula-Mediomastus assemblage) inhabiting a relatively more constant and predictable, deeper coastal embayment. Disturbed sediment had a stimulatory effect on most populations in the marsh and an inhibitory effect on most populations in the bay. Initial amount and subsequent behavior of oil were similar in the two environments. Thus, differential responses of the two communities are attributable to intrinsic biological properties rather than differences in levels or composition of oil.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1985-05-01

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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