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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 673:17-28 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13816

Impact of mechanical Arenicola dredging on the benthic fauna communities: assessed by a morphological and molecular approach

Lise Klunder1,*, Judith D. L. van Bleijswijk2, Loran Kleine Schaars1, Henk W. van der Veer1, Pieternella C. Luttikhuizen1

1Department of Coastal Systems, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg Texel, The Netherlands
2Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg Texel, The Netherlands
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Lugworm Arenicola spp. dredging affects the intertidal benthic community in the Dutch Wadden Sea. Previous studies have found contradicting results regarding the recovery rates of targeted and non-targeted macrozoobenthic species, and meiobenthic communities have been neglected in these studies. The current study explores the short-term effects of dredging on both the macrofaunal and the meiofaunal communities using both a morphological and molecular approach. Benthic samples were collected right before and regularly after dredging for up to 1.5 yr at both control and fished transects. Significant differences between the control and fished transects were found by morphological and molecular approaches. Ordination analysis suggests distinct community compositions between control and fished transects in the first months after dredging. Opportunistic species with short life cycles, typically more than 1 generation yr-1, thrived more in the fished transects during the spring/summer season compared to these species in the control transects in the same season, whereas recovery for long-lived species was slow. Both approaches showed similar results; however, compared to the morphological approach, the molecular approach was more sensitive to the effects due to a larger set of benthic taxa.


KEY WORDS: Anthropogenic effects · Metabarcoding · Intertidal · Lugworm dredging · 18S rDNA


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Cite this article as: Klunder L, van Bleijswijk JDL, Kleine Schaars L, van der Veer HW, Luttikhuizen PC (2021) Impact of mechanical Arenicola dredging on the benthic fauna communities: assessed by a morphological and molecular approach. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 673:17-28. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13816

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