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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 458:53-68 (2012)  -  DOI:

Spatial and temporal interaction between sediment and microphytobenthos in a temperate estuarine macro-intertidal bay

F. Orvain1,2,*, S. Lefebvre1,3, J. Montepini1, M. Sébire1, A. Gangnery4, B. Sylvand5,6

1Université de Caen Basse-Normandie − FRE3484 BIOMEA CNRS, Esplanade de la Paix, BP 5186, 14032 Caen Cedex, France
2CNRS, UMR 7208 BOREA, Muséum d’histoire Naturelle, CRESCO, 38 Rue du Port Blanc, 35800 Dinard, France
3Université de Lille1 Sciences et Technologies- CNRS, UMR 8187 Laboratoire d’Océanologie et Géosciences, Station Marine de Wimereux, 28 Avenue Foch, 62930 Wimereux, France
4Ifremer-Laboratoire Ressources Halieutiques, Station de Port-en-Bessin, Avenue du Général de Gaulle, 14520 Port-en-Bessin, France
5GEMEL-Normandie, Station Marine de Luc-sur-Mer, B.P. 49, 54 rue du Dr Charcot, 14530 Luc-sur-Mer, France
6M2C-Morphodynamique Continentale et Côtière, 2-4 Rue des Tilleuls, Université de Caen, 14032 Caen Cedex, France

ABSTRACT: Intertidal flats of the estuarine macro-intertidal Baie des Veys (France) were investigated to identify spatial features of sediment and microphytobenthos (MPB) in April 2003. Gradients occurred within the domain, and patches were identified close to vegetated areas or within the oyster-farming areas where calm physical conditions and biodeposition altered the sediment and MPB landscapes. Spatial patterns of chl a content were explained primarily by the influence of sediment features, while bed elevation and compaction brought only minor insights into MPB distribution regulation. The smaller size of MPB patches compared to silt patches revealed the interplay between physical structure defining the sediment landscape, the biotic patches that they contain, and that median grain-size is the most important parameter in  explaining the spatial pattern of MPB. Small-scale temporal dynamics of sediment chl a content and grain-size distribution were surveyed in parallel during 2 periods of 14 d to detect tidal and seasonal variations. Our results showed a weak relationship between mud fraction and MPB biomass in March, and this relationship fully disappeared in July. Tidal exposure was the most important parameter in explaining the summer temporal dynamics of MPB. This study reveals the general importance of bed elevation and tidal exposure in muddy habitats and that silt content was a prime governing physical factor in winter. Biostabilisation processes seemed to behave only as secondary factors that could only amplify the initial silt accumulation in summer rather than primary factors explaining spatial or long-term trends of sediment changes.

KEY WORDS: Benthic diatoms · Benthos · Coastal ecosystems · Intertidal flats · Baie des Veys · Normandie · Spatial pattern · Geostatistics · Kriging

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Cite this article as: Orvain F, Lefebvre S, Montepini J, Sébire M, Gangnery A, Sylvand B (2012) Spatial and temporal interaction between sediment and microphytobenthos in a temperate estuarine macro-intertidal bay. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 458:53-68.

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