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Title: Benthic biodiversity patterns in Ria de Aveiro, Western Portugal: Environmental-biological relationships
Author: Rodrigues, A. M.
Quintino, V.
Sampaio, L.
Freitas, R.
Neves, R.
Keywords: Macroinvertebrates
Transition waters
Ecological quality status
MOHID model
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: This study characterizes the macrobenthic gradients in Ria de Aveiro, Western Portugal. Ria de Aveiro is the meeting place of a number of river basins, resulting in a transition system of complex geometry, with channels running parallel to the coast line, north and south of the entrance, but also inland, creating an intricate system of navigation channels, islands and intertidal sand and mudflats. This renders unique characteristics to this system within the framework of transitional waters. The study was based on the analysis of samples from 248 sites, covering the full salinity gradient and the entire channel system. A total of 120 taxa in more than 76,350 specimens were identified. The most abundant and frequent taxa were all annelids, namely Alkmaria romijni, Streblospio shrubsolii, Tharyx sp., Tubificoides benedii, Nereis diversicolor, Capitella sp., Pygospio elegans, Polydora ligni and an unidentified oligochaete. The spatial distribution of the fauna was found to be mainly related to hydrodynamics and the salinity gradient, whereas sediment grain-size characteristics were much less important. Shear stress, flux, current velocity, salinity and sediment redox potential were the environmental variables which best related to the biological data. Benthic assemblages succeed from the euhaline pole, at the entrance, to the limnetic poles, located in the inner parts of the channels. In this succession, mean abundance increased from the outward to the inward assemblages but species richness and diversity were higher in intermediate assemblages. These descriptors decrease abruptly in the limnetic areas. Using the M-AMBI index, the ecological quality of Ria de Aveiro revealed moderate, poor and bad status. However, the ecological status spatial trend closely followed the benthic assemblages succession, their species richness and diversity, indicating the need for proper reference conditions and inter-calibration exercises in the transition waters before final assessment and conclusions about the use of such indices may be drawn.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2011.05.019
ISSN: 0272-7714
Appears in Collections:PT Mar - Artigos
Ria de Aveiro - Artigos

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