Distributional overlap rather than habitat differentiation characterizes co-occurrence of bivalves in intertidal soft sediment systems

Compton, Tanya J.; Troost, Tineke A.; van der Meer, Jaap; Kraan, Casper; Honkoop, Pieter J. C.; Rogers, Danny I.; Pearson, Grant B.; de Goeij, Petra; Bocher, Pierrick; Lavaleye, Marc S. S.; Leyrer, Jutta; Yates, Mick G.; Dekinga, Anne; Piersma, Theunis. 2008 Distributional overlap rather than habitat differentiation characterizes co-occurrence of bivalves in intertidal soft sediment systems. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 373. 25-35.

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Diverse species assemblages are often associated with a diversity of habitat structures. Sedimentary systems seem to be no exception, as within sedimentary systems benthic species diversity within a sample point appears to correlate with sediment grain size complexity. However, it remains to be shown whether total benthic species diversity relates to a system’s sediment heterogeneity across multiple systems. In the present paper we examined whether bivalve diversity is associated with: (1) sediment heterogeneity across systems and (2) sediment grain size complexity within systems, at 9 temperate and tropical tidal flat systems. Although bivalve life-history strategies, like post-settlement habitat selection, might suggest that sediment heterogeneity should be important for bivalve species, bivalve diversity and sediment heterogeneity were not associated across systems. Interestingly, the association between total benthic diversity and sediment heterogeneity was also not significant, suggesting that changing species composition across systems does not account for the lack of a correlation between bivalve diversity and sediment heterogeneity. Instead of habitat differentiation, bivalve diversity within a sample point was highest in ‘complex’ fine-grained sediments and bivalve distributions showed a large degree of distributional overlap in all systems. The results of this study at both smaller and larger spatial scales suggest that coexistence between bivalve species in diverse tidal flats is not associated with increased sediment heterogeneity

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
ISSN: 0171-8630
Additional Keywords: Sediment diversity, Banc d’Arguin, Roebuck Bay, The Wash, Wadden Sea, Mont Saint-Michel Bay, Marennes-Oléron Bay, Aiguillon Bay
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 03 Mar 2009 16:02 +0 (UTC)

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