Macrobenthic communities of southeastern United States Tidal Creeks

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Date
2014-08-20
Authors
Washburn, Travis William
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Abstract
Macrobenthic communities in tidal creeks with various levels of watershed development and along a longitudinal gradient (i.e., 1st, 2nd and 3rd orders) were sampled in NC, SC and GA to determine how development affected these communities. Several taxa had higher densities in more heavily developed systems (suburban and urban) while other taxa reached higher densities in more pristine systems (forested and salt marsh), and community measures generally differed as well, suggesting that macrobenthic communities may be used as indicators of development in tidal creeks. Furthermore, a separate study was performed to assess the distributions of dominant macrobenthic organisms within a creek system. The macrobenthic communities of four SC tidal creeks were sampled to examine distribution. Samples were collected in 1st and 2nd/3rd orders of these creeks along perpendicular transects in three locations (marsh, intertidal, and subtidal). Samples were analyzed to determine macrobenthic distributions, particularly the oligochaete Monopylephorus rubroniveus and the polychaete Streblospio benedicti. While M. rubroniveus was primarily found intertidally in the 1st orders, S. benedicti was found throughout the creeks. Communities also appeared similar in the marsh microhabitat throughout the length of the creek while communities in the intertidal and subtidal microhabitats differed between the 1st and 2nd/3rd orders. Thus it is important to take into account longitudinal position when sampling these communities.
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Runoff -- Environmental aspects; Water -- Pollution; Coastal zone management
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