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Benthic community and biological trait composition in respect to artificial coastal defence structures: a study case in the northern Adriatic Sea

June 21, 2013

Biological Traits Analysis (BTA) is a method for addressing ecological functioning based on traits exhibited by members of biological assemblages. This study explores and compares species and biological trait patterns on either side (landward and seaward) of coastal breakwater structures in northwestern Adriatic Sea (Italy), with the aim of giving insights and knowledge for management of sandy beach systems affected by coastal development. Eight ecological traits of 96 benthic species were considered. Taxon composition evidenced differences in benthic assemblages across time and exposure: landward and seaward communities shared less than 50% of the total number of species. BTA suggested a no-management effect in the functioning of benthic assemblages. Dominant traits modalities were deposit-feeding, short life, small body size, short life span, iteroparity, gonocorism, with plankto-planktotrophic larvae. The results of BTA highlighted similarities and stability in trait composition contrary to species composition, suggesting a possible persistence in benthic functioning despite the occurrence of species replacements. To best of my knowledge, this study is one of the first attempts to investigate the effects of a management measure (submerged shore-parallel barriers with groynes) in a shallow marine system by means of BTA.

Munari C, in press. Benthic community and biological trait composition in respect to artificial coastal defence structures: a study case in the northern Adriatic Sea, Marine Environmental Research, 2013, doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2013.05.011. Article.

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