Seasonal composition and spatial distribution of hyperbenthic communities along estuarine gradients in the Westerschelde
Mees, J.; Dewicke, A.; Hamerlynck, O. (1992). Seasonal composition and spatial distribution of hyperbenthic communities along estuarine gradients in the Westerschelde, in: Herman, P.M.J. (Ed.) JEEP 92: Major biological processes in European tidal estuaries: report of the workshop held in Plymouth, January 29 - February 1, 1992. pp. 93-107
The hyperbenthic fauna of the Westerschelde estuary was sampled in spring, summer and winter of 1990 at 14 stations along the salinity gradient. Mysids dominated the hyperbenthos in each season. Other important species, either permanently (e.g. amphipods and isopods) or temporarily (e.g. fish larvae and decapod larvae) hyperbenthic, belong to a variety of faunistic groups. Spatial structure was stable through time: the estuary could be divided in the same geographically defined zones in each season. Each zone had a characteristic fauna. Gradients in salinity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity correlated strongly with the observed variation in community structure. The spatial patterns dominated over the temporal patterns, especially in the brackish part of the estuary. In the marine part, seasonal differences in the communities were more pronounced due to the occurrence of a series of temporary hyperbenthic species in spring and summer. In each season, the upstream (brackish) communities were characterized by few species occurring in very high numbers, whereas the downstream (marine) communities were composed of many species but at lower densities.
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