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Free Content Environmental Gradients and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Distributions in a Shallow North Carolina Estuary

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Multivariate statistical analyses were employed to identify environmental gradients and describe distributional patterns of benthic macroinvertebrates (numbers, biomass and species composition) in subtidal sediments of a shallow, southeastern United States estuary. Biomass and numbers of individuals increased significantly along a major estuarine gradient from fine anaerobic sediments, rich in organic matter and pheopigment (upper estuary) to coarse aerobic sediments, high in ATP and chlorophyll (lower estuary). A second environmental gradient within the lower estuary linked high numbers of invertebrates to depositional areas near salt marshes and low numbers to turbulent regions adjacent to deep, tidally-scoured channels. Invertebrate species composition was spatially associated with both environmental gradients.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1983-04-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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