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Using macrofaunal communities to inform estuarine classification


Beard, JM and Moltschaniwskyj, NA and Crawford, CM and Gibson, JAE and Ross, DJ, Using macrofaunal communities to inform estuarine classification, Marine and Freshwater Research, 70, (3) pp. 371-381. ISSN 1323-1650 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/MF17372


Worldwide, geomorphological classifications of estuaries are often used to guide the design of monitoring programs and management strategies. However, if classifications do not reflect biotic patterns, the effectiveness of monitoring and management is potentially reduced. In this study, we consider the effectiveness of one classification scheme in describing biotic patterns by examining and comparing spatial variation of macrofaunal assemblages and their relationship with the environment in 12 estuaries of 2 geomorphological types (mesotidal river dominated and permanently open barrier estuaries). Estuaries were sampled at three locations (upper, mid and lower) for macroinvertebrates and environmental characteristics. Differences in macrofaunal assemblages occurred between the estuary types at the lower and mid locations, but not the upper. Similarities in the upper locations were related to sediment, whereas at the mid and lower locations differences were linked to salinity, dissolved oxygen concentrations and seagrass area. Within estuaries, location effects were definitive and unique within each estuary type, correlating to changes in sediment particle size, nitrogen concentration, microphytobenthos and percentage organic carbon. These results suggest that estuarine classification based on physical attributes alone does have the potential to capture important biological attributes if the biological scales of variability within these systems are well understood.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:distribution, environmental, estuaries, macroinvertebrates, management
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental assessment and monitoring
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Beard, JM (Mr Jason Beard)
UTAS Author:Crawford, CM (Dr Christine Crawford)
UTAS Author:Gibson, JAE (Dr John Gibson)
UTAS Author:Ross, DJ (Associate Professor Jeff Ross)
ID Code:131122
Year Published:2019 (online first 2018)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2019-03-04
Last Modified:2020-08-06

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