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A detailed ecological study was conducted for three years (2001-03) on a 5 km stretch of well-developed coral reef facing an industrial site in the southernmost section of the Jordanian coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea. The degree of modification associated with the prevailing ecological factors was assessed with respect to species diversity and abundance of the major groups of the macrobenthic community: corals, bivalves, hydrozoans, echinoderms, sponges and macroalgae. Three locations of two depths each - 6 and 12 m - were selected and surveyed using the visual census point-intercept method. The actual area of the survey covered about 2250 m2. Macrobenthic communities occurring close to the industrial jetty were characterized by low diversity and the obvious dominance of soft coral (16-30% cover). In the deep transects (12 m) hard coral cover was higher than that in the shallow transects (30-55%). Correlation analyses indicated that species richness increased with increasing distance from the industrial jetty. Species richness of other macrobenthos was also higher as depth increased. The results revealed that the distribution and abundance of coral, echinoderms, hydrozoans and macroalgae were correlated with the relative importance of bottom modification within the various locations in the entire study area. However, no distinct influence of location or depth on the identities of most macrobenthic species was indicated.
Content available remote Zonation of macrofauna across sandy beaches and surf zones along the Dutch coast
On nine beaches and two transects in the surf zone along the Dutch coast the presence of benthic macrofauna was studied in relation to basic abiotic characteristics. According to Short's classification system, Dutch beaches are mesotidal and dissipative (? = 8.6), and the RTR is low (1.52-1.27), which means that they are not tide-dominated. BSI ranged from 1.4 to 1.1 for the northern and western Dutch coasts respectively and had an overall value of 1.2. The rates of exposure of the beaches varied between 8 and 12, and are therefore regarded as sheltered to moderately exposed. The Dutch beaches display a geographical trend in beach types. Those of the Wadden Sea islands in the northern part of the Netherlands are dissipative, flat, fine-grained, and host high densities of many species of benthic macrofauna. The beaches along the western Dutch coast are less dissipative, steeper, with a higher mean grain size; the species diversity and abundance there are lower. Species diversity and abundance on the beaches increase from the high- to the low-water line. The maximum number of species was found between 0 and -1 m relative to the mean tidal level. The abundance peaks just above the mean tidal level, while the biomass reaches a maximum at the mean tidal level. Species diversity and abundance are low in the surf zone, but increase towards deeper water. Species numbers are high and the abundance is very high in the trough between the two bars. The relation between the diversity and abundance of macrobenthic species on the one hand, and the sediment composition, water column depth, and position between the bars on the other show a clear pattern of zonation for the beach, surf zone and near-shore: (1) a supralittoral zone with insects and air-breathing crustaceans, (2) a midshore zone, with intertidal species, (3) a lower shore zone, whose species extend into the shallow surf zone, and (4) a zone of sublittoral fauna in the trough between the two breaker bars within the surf zone.
Long-term series of hydrographic and biological data show the Slupsk Furrow to be the only Baltic deep area devoid of H2S, its bottom being inhabited by a number of marine species not found in other Baltic deeps (Bornholm, Gdansk, and Gotland Deeps). For this reason, it is necessary to grant the Slupsk Furrow the status of a marine protected area as a habitat and refuge of species absent in other Baltic Proper deeps.
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