Similar Diversity-Disturbance Responses to Different Physical Impacts: Three Cases of Small-Scale Biodiversity Increase in the Belgian Part of the North Sea

Journal Article

Title: Similar Diversity-Disturbance Responses to Different Physical Impacts: Three Cases of Small-Scale Biodiversity Increase in the Belgian Part of the North Sea
Publication Date:
July 01, 2014
Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume: 84
Number: 1-2
Pages: 251-262
Publisher: Elsevier
Stressor:

Document Access

Website: External Link

Citation

De Backer, A.; Van Hoey, G.; Coates, D.; Vanaverbeke, J.; Hostens, K. (2014). Similar Diversity-Disturbance Responses to Different Physical Impacts: Three Cases of Small-Scale Biodiversity Increase in the Belgian Part of the North Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 84, 251-262.
Abstract: 

Human activities at sea are still increasing. As biodiversity is a central topic in the management of our seas, it is important to understand how diversity responds to different disturbances related with physical impacts. We investigated the effects of three impacts, i.e. sand extraction, dredge disposal and offshore wind energy exploitation, on the soft-bottom macrobenthic assemblages in the Belgian part of the North Sea. We found similar diversity-disturbance responses, mainly related to the fact that different impacts caused similar environmental changes. We observed a sediment refinement which triggered a shift towards a heterogenic, dynamic (transitional) soft-bottom macrobenthic assemblage, with several species typically associated with muddy sands. This led to a local unexpected biodiversity increase in the impacted area. On a wider regional scale, the ever increasing human impacts might lead to a homogenization of the sediment, resulting in a more uniform, yet less diverse benthic ecosystem.

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