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The Benthic Macrofauna of Coastal Lagoons of Iceland: a Survey in a Sub-Arctic Macrotidal Region

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Data on macrobenthic animals from 54 coastal lagoons in Iceland larger than 0.1 km2 were analysed in order to characterize biologically different lagoonal types defined on the basis of physiographical features and to correlate the fauna with environmental variables. In total, 204 taxa were recorded, but 154 of these were only found in one or more of four species-rich lagoons, the remaining 50 lagoons yielding 50 taxa among them. Only one possible lagoonal specialist was recognized, the priapulid Halicryptus spinulosus, other species having been recorded commonly from other habitat types in Iceland as well. DECORANA and TWINSPAN analyses on species data only group lagoons approximately in accordance with their classification into physiographical types. Salinity is the most important factor influencing species composition, while the degree of tidal fluctuation and the mode of seawater influx have additional effects. Coastal lagoons in Iceland have often been altered by human activities, sometimes resulting in drastic changes in community structure.
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Keywords: Lagoons; benthic macrofauna; salinity; Iceland

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Biology, University of Iceland, Grensásvegur 12, IS-108 Reykjavík, Iceland

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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