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BENTHIC MACROFAUNA-HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS IN WILLAPA BAY, WASHINGTON, USA
FERRARO, S. P. AND F. A. COLE. BENTHIC MACROFAUNA-HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS IN WILLAPA BAY, WASHINGTON, USA. ESTUARINE, COASTAL AND SHELF SCIENCE. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 71:491-507, (2007).
To determine benthic macrofauna-habitat associations in Willapa Bay, Washington, for 4 habitats
Estuary-wide benthic macrofauna-habitat associations in Willapa Bay, Washington, United States, were determined for 4 habitats (eelgrass [Zostera marina], Atlantic cordgrass [Spartina alterniflora], mud shrimp [Upogebia pugettensis], ghost shrimp [Neotrypaea californiensis]) in 1996 and 7 habitats (eelgrass, Atlantic cordgrass, mud shrimp, ghost shrimp, oyster [Crassostrea gigas], bare mud/sand, subtidal) in 1998. Most benthic macrofaunal species inhabited multiple habitats; however, 2 dominants, a fanworm, Manayunkia aestuarina, in Spartina, and a sand dollar, Dendraster excentricus, in subtidal, were rare or absent in all other habitats. Benthic macrofaunal Bray¿Curtis similarity varied among all habitats except eelgrass and oyster. There were significant differences among habitats within- and between-years on several of the following ecological indicators: mean number of species (S), abundance (A), biomass (B), abundance of deposit (AD), suspension (AS), and facultative (AF) feeders, Swartz's index (SI), Brillouin's index (H), and jackknife estimates of habitat species richness (HSR). In the 4 habitats sampled in both years, A was about 2.5× greater in 1996 (a La Niña year) than 1998 (a strong El Niño year) yet relative values of S, A, B, AD, AS, SI, and H among the habitats were not significantly different, indicating strong benthic macrofauna¿habitat associations despite considerable climatic and environmental variability. In general, the rank order of habitats on indicators associated with high diversity and productivity (high S, A, B, SI, H, HSR) was eelgrass = oyster ¿ Atlantic cordgrass ¿ mud shrimp ¿ bare mud/sand ¿ ghost shrimp = subtidal. Vegetation, burrowing shrimp, and oyster density and sediment %silt + clay and %total organic carbon were generally poor, temporally inconsistent predictors of ecological indicator variability within habitats. The benthic macrofauna¿habitat associations in this study can be used to help identify critical habitats, prioritize habitats for environmental protection, index habitat suitability, assess habitat equivalency, and as habitat value criteria in ecological risk assessments in Willapa Bay.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION
PACIFIC COASTAL ECOLOGY BRANCH