Local demographics of the polychaete Chaetopterus pergamentaceus within the lower Chesapeake Bay and relationships to environmental gradients
Chaetopterus pergamentaceus is an abundant and functionally important species within the soft sediment, subtidal benthic community of lower Chesapeake Bay. The present study elucidates spatial relationships in density, individual ash-free dry weight, total station ash-free dry weight and growth rates for juveniles and adults from 2 yrs of sampling (1994, 1995) at 12 stations in the lower Chesapeake Bay. A strong inverse relationship (r2 = 0.69) was observed between growth rates and total density for juveniles when data from a low (1994) and high (1995) recruitment year were considered. Common parameters among stations characterized by high density/low growth were: (1) depth (maximum for region); (2) proximity to the center of a major circulation eddy; (3) proximity to a channel; (4) higher food concentration (indexed by chl-a in surface sediment layer); and (5) higher physical energy in the benthic boundary layer region. The study provides evidence that spatial variation in population processes, concordant with major environmental gradients, strongly influences population dynamics. The effects of these environmental parameters on the population dynamics of this polychaete cannot yet be clearly resolved because the parameters are confounded.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 July 2000
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