The Role of Seagrass Biomass in the Organization of Benthic Macrofaunal Assemblages
A one year survey of benthic macrofauna was conducted over a series of subtidal sites characterized by different standing crops of benthic macrophytes. Since the stations had similar granulometric properties, the role of seagrass biomass in regulating community organization of benthic macrofauna could be tested independently, unlike earlier studies. The density of macrobenthic animals (N/m2) was directly related to mean macrofloral biomass as was the number of species taken over the sampling period. The unvegetated site was characterized by the highest degree of faunal dominance and a species composition distinct from that found at vegetated sites. The relative abundances of epifaunal amphipods and epifaunal polychaetes were directly related to macrophyte biomass. Abundance of deposit feeding and omnivorous polychaetes decreased as a function of macrophyte standing crop, whereas suspension feeding and carnivorous polychaetes increased with vegetation. Biomass of benthic macrophytes, independent of sediment granulometry and hydrodynamic effects, was an important regulator of species abundances, dominance, diversity, and trophic organization in macrofaunal assemblages.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1980-07-01
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