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Long-term changes in muddy fine sand community of the Rance Basin: role of recruitment

  • Nicolas Desroy (a1) and Christian Retière (a1)

Abstract

Dynamics of the Abra alba muddy fine sand community of the Rance Basin (western English Channel), initially sampled in one station by Retière at the beginning of the 1970s after the tidal power station built at the mouth of the estuary went into service, was reassessed from 1995 to 1997. Results showed a more ‘mature’ community in 1995–1997 with an increase in the number of species. After a short period, in spring 1995, during which the structure of the community was comparable to those described in 1972–1973, the assemblage was characterized by a great interannual structural stability. Densities of dominant species seem to fluctuate around a mean value comparable to the carrying capacity of the biota for these species. The recruitment of the dominant species with a long life span appears low compared to the densities of adults but seems sufficient to assure the replacement of individuals. Our results suggest that the pattern of massive recruitment followed by high mortality rates could not be the general rule and that a pattern of moderate recruitment followed by low post-settlement mortality of recruits should be more frequent.

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present address: Station Marine de Wimereux, Université de Lille I, CNRS UPRES A ELICO, BP 80, 28 avenue Foch, 62930 Wimereux, France. E-mail: Nicolas.Desroy@univ-lille1.fr

Long-term changes in muddy fine sand community of the Rance Basin: role of recruitment

  • Nicolas Desroy (a1) and Christian Retière (a1)

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