The value of enduring environmental surrogates as predictors of estuarine benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages

The value of enduring environmental surrogates as predictors of estuarine benthic... This study tested the extent to which spatial differences in the benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages of a temperate microtidal estuary were ‘explained’ by the enduring (biophysical) vs non-enduring (water and sediment quality) environmental attributes of a diverse range of habitats, and thus the potential of those environmental surrogates to support faunal prediction. Species composition differed significantly among habitats in each season, with the greatest differences occurring in winter and spring and the least in summer. The pattern of habitat differences, as defined by their enduring environmental characteristics, was significantly and well matched with that in the fauna in each season. In contrast, significant matches between the non-enduring environmental and faunal data were only detected in winter and/or spring, and to a lesser extent. Field validation of the faunal prediction capacity of the biophysical surrogate framework at various ‘test’ sites throughout the estuary showed good agreement between the actual vs predicted key species. These findings demonstrate that enduring environmental criteria, which can be readily measured from mapped data, provide a better and more cost-effective surrogate for explaining spatial differences in the invertebrate fauna of this system than non-enduring criteria, and are thus a promising basis for faunal prediction. The approaches developed in this study are also readily adapted to any estuary worldwide. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science Elsevier

The value of enduring environmental surrogates as predictors of estuarine benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0272-7714
eISSN
1096-0015
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.ecss.2017.08.006
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study tested the extent to which spatial differences in the benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages of a temperate microtidal estuary were ‘explained’ by the enduring (biophysical) vs non-enduring (water and sediment quality) environmental attributes of a diverse range of habitats, and thus the potential of those environmental surrogates to support faunal prediction. Species composition differed significantly among habitats in each season, with the greatest differences occurring in winter and spring and the least in summer. The pattern of habitat differences, as defined by their enduring environmental characteristics, was significantly and well matched with that in the fauna in each season. In contrast, significant matches between the non-enduring environmental and faunal data were only detected in winter and/or spring, and to a lesser extent. Field validation of the faunal prediction capacity of the biophysical surrogate framework at various ‘test’ sites throughout the estuary showed good agreement between the actual vs predicted key species. These findings demonstrate that enduring environmental criteria, which can be readily measured from mapped data, provide a better and more cost-effective surrogate for explaining spatial differences in the invertebrate fauna of this system than non-enduring criteria, and are thus a promising basis for faunal prediction. The approaches developed in this study are also readily adapted to any estuary worldwide.

Journal

Estuarine Coastal and Shelf ScienceElsevier

Published: Oct 15, 2017

References

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