Benthic fauna in tropical tidal flats of Hinchinbrook Channel, NE Australia: Diversity, abundance and their spatial and temporal variation

Sabine Dittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A survey of the benthic infauna (macro- and mesofauna) in tidal flats of Hinchinbrook Channel, north-east Australia, was carried out to assess the species diversity and individual abundances as well as their temporal variations. Two sites were surveyed at five occassions from November 1988 to October 1991. In addition, spatial distributions over the intertidal gradient were investigated once in May 1990. During the entire survey, over 200 species were recorded, with 53 species found on average at each sampling occassion. Species densities ranged from 4.0 to 8.2 species 177 cm-2 for macrofauna and from 4.1 to 11.8 species 10 cm-2 for mesofauna, but varied little between sites. The average infaunal diversity (H') was 2.53. Individual abundances reached median values of 14.0 individuals 177 cm-2 for macrofauna and 14.5 individuals 10 cm-2 for mesofauna. Changes in total abundances were not related to season and inconsistent at the two study sites, with significantly higher abundances occurring either at site A or B on single sampling dates. Transects sampled in May 1990 showed varying species compositions and abundances in the upper, mid and lower intertidal, but no defined benthic communities were revealed by multivariate analyses. Temporal variations in the benthic assemblages of the two tidal flats in Hinchinbrook Channel were higher than variations between sites, with a separation of assemblages before and after 1989. Problems to assess and interpret temporal changes in species rich tropical benthic communities are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-333
Number of pages11
JournalWetlands Ecology and Management
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Benthic communities
  • Distribution patterns
  • Macrofauna
  • Mesofauna
  • Tidal flats
  • Tropics

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