Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Novel observations of benthic enrichment in contrasting flow regimes with implications for marine farm monitoring and management

1 January, 2013
CITATION

Keeley NB, Forrest BM, Macleod CK 2013. Novel observations of benthic enrichment in contrasting flow regimes with implications for marine farm monitoring and management. Marine Pollution Bulletin 66(1-2): 105-116.

ABSTRACT

We examine macrofaunal and physico-chemical responses to organic enrichment beneath salmon farms in contrasting flow environments, and reveal pronounced flow-related differences in the magnitude and spatial extent of effects. Total macrofaunal abundances at high flow sites were nearly an order of magnitude greater than at comparable low flow sites, representing a significant benthic biomass. These very high abundances occurred in conjunction with moderate-to-high species richness, and were evident in the absence of appreciable organic matter accumulation. Biological responses to increasing sulfide were variable; however a significant biological threshold was evident at 1500 mu M. Macrofaunal responses at high flow sites differed substantially from the Pearson-Rosenberg model. The atypical ecological conditions were attributed to (i) limited accumulation of fine sediments, (ii) maintenance of aerobic conditions in near-surface sediments, and (iii) an abundant food supply. Thus, enhanced resilience to organic waste at well-flushed sites appears related to both biological and physical processes.

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