Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Uncovering the environmental drivers of short-term temporal dynamics in an epibenthic community from the Western English Channel

  • Elizabeth Talbot (a1) (a2), Jorn Bruggeman (a1), Chris Hauton (a2) and Stephen Widdicombe (a1)

Abstract

Benthic communities, critical to the health and function of marine ecosystems, are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic impacts such as pollution, eutrophication and climate change. In order to refine predictions of likely future changes in benthic communities resulting from these impacts, we must first better constrain their responses to natural seasonality in environmental conditions. Epibenthic time series data (July 2008–May 2014) have been collected from Station L4, situated 7.25 nautical miles south of Plymouth in the Western English Channel. These data were analysed to establish patterns in community abundance, wet biomass and composition, and to link any observed patterns to environmental variables. A clear response to the input of organic material from phytoplankton blooms was detected, with sediment surface living deposit feeders showing an immediate increase in abundance, while predators and scavengers responded later, with an increase in biomass. We suggest that this response is a result of two factors. The low organic content of the L4 sediment results in food limitation of the community, and the mild winter/early spring bottom water temperatures allow the benthos to take immediate advantage of bloom sedimentation. An inter-annual change in community composition was also detected, as the community shifted from one dominated by the anomuran Anapagurus laevis to one dominated by the gastropod Turitella communis. This appeared to be related to a period of high larval recruitment for T. communis in 2013/2014, suggesting that changes in the recruitment success of one species can affect the structure of an entire community.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Elizabeth Talbot, E-mail: sat@pml.ac.uk

References

Hide All
Aktaş, M, Kumlu, M and Eroldogan, O (2003) Off-season maturation and spawning of Penaeus semisulcatus by eyestalk ablation and/or temperature–photoperiod regimes. Aquaculture 228, 361370.
Alunno-Bruscia, M, Bourlès, Y, Maurer, D, Robert, S, Mazurié, J, Gangnery, A, Goulletquer, P and Pouvreau, S (2011) A single bio-energetics growth and reproduction model for the oyster Crassostrea gigas in six Atlantic ecosystems. Journal of Sea Research 66, 340348.
Balogh, R, Wolfe, K and Byrne, M (2018) Gonad development and spawning of the vulnerable commercial sea cucumber, Stichopus herrmanni, in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0025315418000061
Barker, MF and Nichols, D (1983) Reproduction, recruitment and juvenile ecology of the starfish, Asterias rubens and Marthasterias glacialis. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 63, 745765.
Berthelin, C, Kellner, K and Mathieu, M (2000) Storage metabolism in the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) in relation to summer mortalities and reproductive cycle (West Coast of France). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 125, 359369.
Bowner, T (1982) Reproduction in Amphiura filiformis (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea): seasonality in gonad development. Marine Biology 69, 281290.
Buchanan, JB (1993) Evidence of benthic pelagic coupling at a station off the Northumberland coast. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 172, 110.
Buchanan, JB and Moore, JJ (1986) Long-term studies at a benthic station off the coast of Northumberland. Hydrobiologia 142, 121127.
Capasso, E, Jenkins, SR, Frost, M and Hinz, H (2010) Investigation of benthic community change over a century-wide scale in the western English Channel. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 90, 11611172.
Chamberlain, J, Fernandes, TF, Read, P, Nickell, TD and Davies, IM (2001) Impacts of biodeposits from suspended mussel (Mytilus edulis L.) culture on the surrounding surficial sediments. ICES Journal of Marine Science 58, 411416.
Chevene, F, Doléadec, S and Chessel, D (1994) A fuzzy coding approach for the analysis of long-term ecological data. Freshwater Biology 31, 295309.
Chikina, MV, Spiridonov, VA and Mardashova, MV (2014) Spatial and temporal variability of coastal benthic communities in the Keretsky Archipelago area and in the Velikaya Salma Strait (Karelian coast, the White Sea). Oceanology 54, 5465.
Clare, DS, Spencer, M, Robinson, LA and Frid, CLJ (2017) Explaining ecological shifts: the roles of temperature and primary production in the long-term dynamics of benthic faunal composition. Oikos 126, 11231133.
Coma, R, Ribes, M, Gili, J-M and Zabala, M (1998) An energetic approach to the study of life-history traits of two modular colonial benthic invertebrates. Marine Ecology Progress Series 162, 89103.
Daan, N, Richardson, K and Pope, JG (1996) Changes in the North Sea ecosystem and their causes: Aarhus 1975 revisited—Introduction. ICES Journal of Marine Science 53, 879883.
Dauwe, B, Herman, PMJ and Heip, HR (1998) Community structure and bioturbation potential of macrofauna at four North Sea stations with contrasting food supply. Marine Ecology Progress Series 173, 6783.
De Wolf, P (1973) Ecological observations on the mechanisms of dispersal of barnacle larvae during planktonic life and settling. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research 6, 1129.
Doherty, P and Fowler, A (1994) Demographic consequences of variable recruitment to coral reef fish populations: a congeneric comparison of two damselfishes. Bulletin of Marine Science 54, 297313.
Freeman, SM, Richardson, CA and Seed, R (2001) Seasonal abundance, spatial distribution, spawning and growth of Astropecten irregularis (Echinodermata: Asteroidea). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 53, 3949.
Frid, CLJ, Buchanan, JB and Garwood, PR (1996) Variability and stability in benthos: twenty-two years of monitoring off Northumberland. ICES Journal of Marine Science 53, 978980.
Frid, CLJ, Garwood, PR and Robinson, LA (2009 a) The North Sea benthic system: a 36 year time-series. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 89, 110.
Frid, CLJ, Garwood, PR and Robinson, LA (2009 b) Observing change in a North Sea benthic system: a 33 year time series. Journal of Marine Systems 77, 227236.
Gaines, S and Roughgarden, J (1985) Larval settlement rate: a leading determinant of structure in an ecological community of the marine intertidal zone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 82, 37073711.
Giangrande, A, Geraci, S and Belmonte, G (1994) Life-cycle and life-history diversity in marine invertebrates and the implications in community dynamics. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 32, 305333.
Gotelli, NJ and Colwell, RK (2001) Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecology Letters 4, 379391.
Graf, G, Bengtsson, W, Diesner, U, Schulz, R and Theede, H (1982) Benthic response to sedimentation of a spring phytoplankton bloom: process and budget. Marine Biology 67, 201208.
Greenwood, PJ (1980) Growth, respiration and tentative energy budgets for two populations of the sea urchin Parechinus angulosus (Leske). Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science 10, 347367.
Guillou, M and Michel, C (1993) Reproduction and growth of Sphaerechinus granularis (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) in southern Brittany. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 73, 179192.
Halpern, BS, Walbridge, S, Selkoe, KA, Kappel, CV, Micheli, F, D'Agrosa, C, Bruno, JF, Casey, KS, Ebert, C, Fox, HE, Fujita, R, Heinemann, D, Lenihan, HS, Madin, EM, Perry, MT, Selig, ER, Spalding, M, Steneck, R and Watson, R (2008) A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems. Science 319, 948952.
Herrmann, M, Alfaya, JEF, Lepore, ML, Penchaszadeh, PE and Laudien, J (2009) Reproductive cycle and gonad development of the Northern Argentinean Mesodesma mactroides (Bivalvia: Mesodesmatidae). Helgoland Marine Research 63, 207.
Highfield, JM, Eloire, D, Conway, DVP, Lindeque, PK, Attrill, MJ and Somerfield, PJ (2010) Seasonal dynamics of meroplankton assemblages at station L4. Journal of Plankton Research 32, 681691.
Hughes, TP (1990) Recruitment limitation, mortality, and population regulation in open systems: a case study. Ecology 71, 1220.
John, EH, Batten, SD, Harris, RP and Hays, GC (2001) Comparison between zooplankton data collected by the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey in the English Channel and by WP-2 nets at station L4, Plymouth (UK). Journal of Sea Research 46, 223232.
Josefson, AB, Jensen, JN and Ærtebjerg, G (1993) The benthos community structure anomaly in the late 1970s and early 1980s – a result of a major food pulse? Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 172, 3145.
Jumars, PA, Dorgan, KM and Lindsay, SM (2015) Diet of worms emended: an update of polychaete feeding guilds. Annual Review of Marine Science 7, 497520.
Kędra, M, Kuliński, K, Walkusz, W and Legeżyńska, J (2012) The shallow benthic food web structure in the high Arctic does not follow seasonal changes in the surrounding environment. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 114, 183191.
Kim, H, Kim, BH, Son, MH, Jeon, MA, Lee, YG and Lee, JS (2016) Gonadal development and reproductive cycle of cultured abalone, Haliotis discus hannai (Gastropoda: Haliotidae) in Korea: implications for seed production. Journal of Shellfish Research 35, 653659.
Kovala, PE and Larrance, JD (1966) Computation of phytoplankton cell numbers, cell volume, cell surface and plasma volume per litre, from microscopic count. University of Washington, no. 38.
Lewin, R (1986) Supply-side ecology: existing models of population structure and dynamics of ecological communities have tended to ignore the effect of the influx of new members into the communities. Science 234, 2527.
Lopez, GR and Levinton, JS (2011) Particulate organic detritus and detritus feeders in coastal food webs. In Wolanski, E and McLusky, DS (eds), Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science, 6. Waltham, MA: Academic Press, pp. 521.
Lozano, J, Galera, J, López, S, Turon, X, Palacín, C and Morera, G (1995) Biological cycles and recruitment of Paracentrotus lividus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) in two contrasting habitats. Marine Ecology Progress Series 122, 179191.
MarLIN (2006) BIOTIC – Biological Traits Information Catalogue. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.
Menden-Deuer, S and Lessard, EJ (2000) Carbon to volume relationships for dinoflagellates, diatoms, and other protist plankton. Limnology and Oceanography 45, 569579.
Mincks, SL, Smith, CR and DeMaster, DJ (2005) Persistence of labile organic matter and microbial biomass in Antarctic shelf sediments: evidence of a sediment ‘food bank’. Marine Ecology Progress Series 300, 319.
Neumann, H and Kröncke, I (2011) The effect of temperature variability on ecological functioning of epifauna in the German Bight. Marine Ecology 32(s1), 4957.
Neumann, H, Ehrich, S and Kröncke, I (2008) Effects of cold winters and climate on the temporal variability of an epibenthic community in the German Bight. Climate Research 37, 241251.
Neumann, H, Ehrich, S and Kröncke, I (2009 a) Variability of epifauna and temperature in the northern North Sea. Marine Biology 156, 18171826.
Neumann, H, Reiss, H, Rakers, S, Ehrich, S and Kröncke, I (2009 b) Temporal variability in southern North Sea epifauna communities after the cold winter of 1995/1996. ICES Journal of Marine Science 66, 22332243.
Nichols, D and Barker, MF (1984a) A comparative study of reproductive and nutritional periodicities in two populations of Asterias rubens (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) from the English Channel. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 64, 471484.
Nichols, D and Barker, MF (1984b) Reproductive and nutritional periodicities in the starfish, Marthasterias glacialis, from Plymouth Sound. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 64, 461470.
Nunes, CDAP and Jangoux, M (2004) Reproductive cycle of the spatangoid echinoid Echinocardium cordatum (Echinodermata) in the southwestern North Sea. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development 45, 4157.
Oksanen, J, Blanchet, FG, Friendly, M, Kindt, R, Legendre, P, McGlinn, D, Minchin, PR, O’Hara, RB, Simpson, GL, Solynes, P, Stevens, MHH, Szoecs, E and Wagner, H (2017) Vegan Community Ecology Package. Available at https://cran.r-project.org.
Olden, JD and Neff, BD (2001) Cross-correlation bias in lag analysis of aquatic time series. Marine Biology 138, 10631070.
Pearson, TH and Rosenberg, R (1986) Feast and famine: structuring factors in marine benthic communities. In Gee, JHR and Gill, PS (eds), Organization of Communities. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific, pp. 373398.
Peterson, CH (1979) Predation, competitive exclusion, and diversity in the soft-sediment benthic communities of estuaries and lagoons. In Livingston, RJ (ed.), Ecological Processes in Coastal and Marine Systems. Boston, MA: Springer, pp. 233264.
Peterson, CH and Fegley, SR (1986) Seasonal allocation of resources to growth of shell, soma, and gonads in Mercenaria mercenaria. Biological Bulletin 171, 597610.
Posey, M, Powell, C, Cahoon, L and Lindquist, D (1995) Top down vs. bottom up control of benthic community composition on an intertidal tideflat. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 185, 1931.
Probst, WN, Stelzenmüller, V and Fock, HO (2012) Using cross-correlations to assess the relationship between time-lagged pressure and state indicators: an exemplary analysis of North Sea fish population indicators. ICES Journal of Marine Science 69, 670681.
Queirós, AM, Stephens, N, Widdicombe, S, Tait, K, McCoy, SJ, Ingels, J, Rühl, S, Airs, R, Beesley, A, Carnovale, G, Cazenave, P, Dashfield, S, Hua, E, Jones, M, Lindeque, P, McNeill, CL, Nunes, J, Parry, H, Pascoe, C, Widdicombe, C, Smyth, T, Atkinson, A, Krause-Jensen, D and Somerfield, PJ (2019) Connected macroalgal-sediment systems: blue carbon and food webs in the deep coastal ocean. Ecological Monographs, e01366.
Quijón, PA and Snelgrove, PVR (2005) Predation regulation of sedimentary faunal structure: potential effects of a fishery-induced switch in predators in a Newfoundland sub-Arctic fjord. Oecologia 144, 125136.
Quijón, PA, Kelly, MC and Snelgrove, PVR (2008) The role of sinking phytodetritus in structuring shallow-water benthic communities. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 366, 134145.
Reiss, H and Kröncke, I (2004) Seasonal variability of epibenthic communities in different areas of the southern North Sea. ICES Journal of Marine Science 61, 882905.
Sastry, AN (1966) Temperature effects in reproduction of the bay scallop, Aequipecten irradians Lamarck. Biological Bulletin 130, 118134.
Sastry, AN and Blake, NJ (1971) Regulation of gonad development in the bay scallop, Aequipecten irradians Lamarck. Biological Bulletin 140, 274283.
Scrosati, RA and Ellrich, JA (2017) Recruitment and abundance of intertidal barnacles and mussels along the Atlantic Canadian coast: pelagic influences and relationships with predator abundance. Ecosphere, e02229.
Sköld, M and Gunnarsson, JSG (1996) Somatic and germinal growth of the infaunal brittle stars Amphiura filiformis and A. chiajei in response to organic enrichment. Marine Ecology Progress Series 142, 203214.
Smyth, T, Atkinson, A, Widdicombe, S, Frost, M, Allen, I, Fishwick, J, Queirós, AM, Sims, D and Barange, M (2015) The Western Channel observatory. Progress in Oceanography 137(Part B), 335341.
Stoffer, D (2016) astsa – Applied Statistical Time Series Analysis, R package. Available at https://github.com/nickpoison/astsa.
Sutherland, JP (1990) Recruitment regulates demographic variation in a tropical intertidal barnacle. Ecology 71, 955972.
Tait, K, Airs, RL, Widdicombe, CE, Tarran, GA, Jones, MR and Widdicombe, S (2015) Dynamic responses of the benthic bacterial community at the Western English Channel observatory site L4 are driven by deposition of fresh phytodetritus. Progress in Oceanography 137, 546558.
Thorson, G (1950) Reproductive and larval ecology of marine bottom invertebrates. Biological Reviews 25, 145.
Throndsen, J (1978) Productivity and abundance of ultra- and nanoplankton in Oslofjorden. Sarsia 63, 273284.
Thrush, SF (1999) Complex role of predators in structuring soft-sediment macrobenthic communities: implications of changes in spatial scale for experimental studies. Austral Ecology 24, 344354.
Trapletti, A, Hornik, K and LeBaron, B (2017) tseries – Time Series Analysis, R package. Available at https://cran.r-project.org/package=tseries.
Underwood, AJ and Fairweather, PG (1989) Supply-side ecology and benthic marine assemblages. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 4, 1620.
UNESCO (1968) Monographs on Oceanographic Methodology: Zooplankton Sampling. Paris: UNESCO.
Widbom, B and Frithsen, JB (1995) Structuring factors in a marine soft bottom community during eutrophication – an experiment with radio-labelled phytodetritus. Oecologia 101, 156168.
Widdicombe, S and Austen, MC (2001) The interaction between physical disturbance and organic enrichment: an important element in structuring benthic communities. Limnology and Oceanography 46, 17201733.
Widdicombe, CE, Eloire, D, Harbour, D, Harris, RP and Somerfield, PJ (2010) Long-term phytoplankton community dynamics in the Western English Channel. Journal of Plankton Research 32, 643655.
Wieking, G and Kröncke, I (2005) Is benthic trophic structure affected by food quality? The Dogger Bank example. Marine Biology 146, 387400.
Williams, DMCB (1980) Dynamics of the Pomacentrid community on small patch reefs in One Tree Lagoon (Great Barrier Reef). Bulletin of Marine Science 30, 159170.
Włodarska-Kowalczuk, M, Górska, B, Deja, K and Morata, N (2016) Do benthic meiofaunal and macrofaunal communities respond to seasonality in pelagial processes in an Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen)? Polar Biology 39, 21152129.
Woodin, SA (1999) Shallow water benthic ecology: a North American perspective of sedimentary habitats. Australian Journal of Ecology 24, 291301.
Zeileis, A, Grothendieck, G, Ryan, JA, Ulrich, JM and Andrews, F (2018) Zoo: S3 Infrastructure for Regular and Irregular Time Series (Z's Ordered Observations), R package. Available at http://zoo.r-forge.r-project.org/.
Zhang, Q, Warwick, RM, McNeill, CL, Widdicombe, CE, Sheehan, A and Widdicombe, S (2015) An unusually large phytoplankton spring bloom drives rapid changes in benthic diversity and ecosystem function. Progress in Oceanography 137(Part B), 533545.

Keywords

Uncovering the environmental drivers of short-term temporal dynamics in an epibenthic community from the Western English Channel

  • Elizabeth Talbot (a1) (a2), Jorn Bruggeman (a1), Chris Hauton (a2) and Stephen Widdicombe (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed