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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 2:117-131 (2012)  -  DOI:

Influence of ‘bouchot’ mussel culture on the benthic environment in a dynamic intertidal system

Cindy Grant1, Philippe Archambault1,*, Frédéric Olivier1,2, Christopher W. McKindsey3

1Laboratoire d’écologie benthique, Institut des sciences de la mer, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 310 Allée des Ursulines, CP 3300, Rimouski, Québec G5L 3A1, Canada
2Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département Milieux et Peuplements Aquatiques, Unité Mixte de Recherche, BOREA CNRS/P6/MNHN/IRD, 38 rue du Port Blanc, 35800 Dinard, France
3Ocean and Environmental Sciences Division, Maurice-Lamontagne Institute, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, PO Box 1000, Mont Joli, Québec G5H 3Z4, Canada

ABSTRACT: The present study examines the influence of mussel aquaculture structures (bouchots) in the intertidal zone of the Chausey Archipelago (Normandy, France) where strong tidal currents are predicted to disperse biodeposits. Six sites were sampled to determine the spatial variability of organic matter content, sediment grain size, and benthic infaunal community characteristics. The influence of bouchots on the benthic environment was evident at both the meso-scale (i.e. km-scale, between farm and reference sites) and small-scale (i.e. m-scale, spatial structure within farms but not reference sites). This influence was also apparent for sediment grain size distribution and most metrics of macrobenthic community structure, but not for sediment organic matter. Mussel culture structures likely modify natural flow patterns within farm sites, which increases shear stress around individual bouchots, thereby increasing the heterogeneity of benthic communities, altering the dominance of particular species within farms and differentiating them from reference sites.

KEY WORDS: Mussel aquaculture · Bouchot · Benthic community · Coarse sediment · Intertidal · Dynamic system · Chausey Archipelago

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Cite this article as: Grant C, Archambault P, Olivier F, McKindsey CW (2012) Influence of ‘bouchot’ mussel culture on the benthic environment in a dynamic intertidal system. Aquacult Environ Interact 2:117-131.

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