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Title: Indices, multispecies and synthesis descriptors in benthic assessments: Intertidal organic enrichment from oyster farming
Author: Quintino, V.
Azevedo, A.
Magalhães, L.
Sampaio, L.
Freitas, R.
Rodrigues, A. M.
Elliott, M.
Keywords: Oyster aquaculture
Organic enrichment
Biotic indices
Ria de Aveiro
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Intertidal off-bottom oyster culture is shown to cause organic enrichment of the shore and although there are two stressors of interest (the presence of a structure, the trestles, and also the sediment and organic waste from the oysters), these can be separated and their relative impacts determined using an appropriate nested experimental design and data treatments. Although no artificial food sources are involved, the oysters feeding activity and intensity of culture enhances biodeposition and significantly increases the sediment fines content and total organic matter. This in general impoverished the benthic community in culture areas rather than a species succession with the installation of opportunists or a resulting increase in the abundance and biomass of benthic species; the findings can be a direct consequence of the intertidal situation which is less-amenable recruitment of species more common to the subtidal environment. Thus the most appropriate biological descriptors to diagnose the effects associated with the organic enrichment were the multispecies abundance data as well as the primary biological variables species richness and abundance. The effects were however spatially and statistically significantly confined to the area located directly underneath the culture bags compared to the corridors located between the trestles, which do not show such enrichment effects. Synthesis biotic indices were much less effective to diagnose the benthic alterations associated with this organic enrichment. These results show that special attention must be paid when using indices in areas where the organic enrichment induces an impoverishment of the benthic community but not necessarily a species replacement with the installation of opportunists.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.05.028
ISSN: 0272-7714
Appears in Collections:CESAM - Artigos
DBio - Artigos
PT Mar - Artigos
Ria de Aveiro - Artigos

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