Effects of tidal inundation on benthic macrofauna associated with the eelgrass Zostera muelleri

Andrea Nicastro, Melanie J. Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Processes, such as sea level rise, that alter tidal inundation regimes have the potential to modify the structure of seagrasses and their dense and diverse faunal communities. This study tested the hypothesis that seagrass-dwelling invertebrate communities would vary across a tidal inundation gradient as a result of direct effects of tidal inundation and indirect effects, arising from changes in seagrass morphology across this gradient. First, we conducted mensurative sampling across tidal inundation gradients to assess how above- and below-ground seagrass biomass, and epi- and infaunal invertebrate communities co-varied with depth. Second, we ran a manipulative field experiment, utilising artificial seagrass rhizomes of varying morphologies, to separate out direct effects of tidal inundation on infaunal communities from indirect effects arising from changes in seagrass root morphology. Mensurative sampling revealed that the abundance and taxon richness of seagrass epi- and infauna, and the above- and below-ground biomass of seagrass each increased with depth across a tidal elevation gradient extending from the high intertidal to the shallow subtidal. The manipulative experiment revealed that the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of tidal inundation in determining the distribution and abundance of infauna were taxon-specific. In general, however, the facilitative effects of rhizome structure were more evident at the intertidal compared to the subtidal elevation. Our results indicate that changes to tidal inundation regime will affect seagrass-dwelling macroinvertebrates through a combination of direct and indirect effects. Therefore, future changes in tidal inundation should be taken into account in developing conservation plans for protecting seagrasses and the biodiversity they sustain.

LanguageEnglish
Pages238-247
Number of pages10
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume117
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2013

Fingerprint

Zostera
Zostera marina
seagrass
rhizomes
invertebrates
belowground biomass
macroinvertebrates
sea level
biodiversity
sampling
biomass
rhizome
invertebrate
seagrasses
effect
macroinvertebrate

Cite this

@article{69226c15fdc745748c96df8e86a54c76,
title = "Effects of tidal inundation on benthic macrofauna associated with the eelgrass Zostera muelleri",
abstract = "Processes, such as sea level rise, that alter tidal inundation regimes have the potential to modify the structure of seagrasses and their dense and diverse faunal communities. This study tested the hypothesis that seagrass-dwelling invertebrate communities would vary across a tidal inundation gradient as a result of direct effects of tidal inundation and indirect effects, arising from changes in seagrass morphology across this gradient. First, we conducted mensurative sampling across tidal inundation gradients to assess how above- and below-ground seagrass biomass, and epi- and infaunal invertebrate communities co-varied with depth. Second, we ran a manipulative field experiment, utilising artificial seagrass rhizomes of varying morphologies, to separate out direct effects of tidal inundation on infaunal communities from indirect effects arising from changes in seagrass root morphology. Mensurative sampling revealed that the abundance and taxon richness of seagrass epi- and infauna, and the above- and below-ground biomass of seagrass each increased with depth across a tidal elevation gradient extending from the high intertidal to the shallow subtidal. The manipulative experiment revealed that the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of tidal inundation in determining the distribution and abundance of infauna were taxon-specific. In general, however, the facilitative effects of rhizome structure were more evident at the intertidal compared to the subtidal elevation. Our results indicate that changes to tidal inundation regime will affect seagrass-dwelling macroinvertebrates through a combination of direct and indirect effects. Therefore, future changes in tidal inundation should be taken into account in developing conservation plans for protecting seagrasses and the biodiversity they sustain.",
author = "Andrea Nicastro and Bishop, {Melanie J.}",
year = "2013",
month = "1",
day = "20",
doi = "10.1016/j.ecss.2012.11.011",
language = "English",
volume = "117",
pages = "238--247",
journal = "Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science",
issn = "0272-7714",
publisher = "ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD",

}

Effects of tidal inundation on benthic macrofauna associated with the eelgrass Zostera muelleri. / Nicastro, Andrea; Bishop, Melanie J.

In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 117, 20.01.2013, p. 238-247.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effects of tidal inundation on benthic macrofauna associated with the eelgrass Zostera muelleri

AU - Nicastro, Andrea

AU - Bishop, Melanie J.

PY - 2013/1/20

Y1 - 2013/1/20

N2 - Processes, such as sea level rise, that alter tidal inundation regimes have the potential to modify the structure of seagrasses and their dense and diverse faunal communities. This study tested the hypothesis that seagrass-dwelling invertebrate communities would vary across a tidal inundation gradient as a result of direct effects of tidal inundation and indirect effects, arising from changes in seagrass morphology across this gradient. First, we conducted mensurative sampling across tidal inundation gradients to assess how above- and below-ground seagrass biomass, and epi- and infaunal invertebrate communities co-varied with depth. Second, we ran a manipulative field experiment, utilising artificial seagrass rhizomes of varying morphologies, to separate out direct effects of tidal inundation on infaunal communities from indirect effects arising from changes in seagrass root morphology. Mensurative sampling revealed that the abundance and taxon richness of seagrass epi- and infauna, and the above- and below-ground biomass of seagrass each increased with depth across a tidal elevation gradient extending from the high intertidal to the shallow subtidal. The manipulative experiment revealed that the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of tidal inundation in determining the distribution and abundance of infauna were taxon-specific. In general, however, the facilitative effects of rhizome structure were more evident at the intertidal compared to the subtidal elevation. Our results indicate that changes to tidal inundation regime will affect seagrass-dwelling macroinvertebrates through a combination of direct and indirect effects. Therefore, future changes in tidal inundation should be taken into account in developing conservation plans for protecting seagrasses and the biodiversity they sustain.

AB - Processes, such as sea level rise, that alter tidal inundation regimes have the potential to modify the structure of seagrasses and their dense and diverse faunal communities. This study tested the hypothesis that seagrass-dwelling invertebrate communities would vary across a tidal inundation gradient as a result of direct effects of tidal inundation and indirect effects, arising from changes in seagrass morphology across this gradient. First, we conducted mensurative sampling across tidal inundation gradients to assess how above- and below-ground seagrass biomass, and epi- and infaunal invertebrate communities co-varied with depth. Second, we ran a manipulative field experiment, utilising artificial seagrass rhizomes of varying morphologies, to separate out direct effects of tidal inundation on infaunal communities from indirect effects arising from changes in seagrass root morphology. Mensurative sampling revealed that the abundance and taxon richness of seagrass epi- and infauna, and the above- and below-ground biomass of seagrass each increased with depth across a tidal elevation gradient extending from the high intertidal to the shallow subtidal. The manipulative experiment revealed that the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of tidal inundation in determining the distribution and abundance of infauna were taxon-specific. In general, however, the facilitative effects of rhizome structure were more evident at the intertidal compared to the subtidal elevation. Our results indicate that changes to tidal inundation regime will affect seagrass-dwelling macroinvertebrates through a combination of direct and indirect effects. Therefore, future changes in tidal inundation should be taken into account in developing conservation plans for protecting seagrasses and the biodiversity they sustain.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84873714472&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.11.011

DO - 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.11.011

M3 - Article

VL - 117

SP - 238

EP - 247

JO - Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

T2 - Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

JF - Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

SN - 0272-7714

ER -