Research output

Spatio-temporal patterns in benthic macrofauna on a brackish mudflat (Schelde estuary, NW-Europe): results of ten years monitoring

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContribution to book not published by INBO



Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECSA Local Meeting: ecological structures and functions in the Scheldt Estuary: from past to future, Antwerp, Belgium October 7-10, 2002: abstract book.
Number of pages1
Publication date2002
Publication statusPublished - 2002


Estuarine ecosystems are charac­terized by largely varying physicochemi­cal condi­tions, especially in the meso-/oligohaline zones. Knowledge of the environmental variability and related population effects on a range of spatio-temporal scales is fundamental to a better understanding of their functioning, stability, resilience and the way they are influenced by human impacts. This study combines spatial and temporal variations in macrobenthic populations (and their environment) on a brackish mudflat in the Schelde estuary (NW-Europe). From 1990 to 1999, long -term year-to-year variations were monitored on 24 sites, short -term monthly variations on two sites. The variation in macrobenthos and the physicochemical environment due to seasonal dynamics, spatial pattern, and annual as well as long-term trends, was quantified. The macrobenthic community on the mudflat was characterized by a few dominant species (Corophium, Heteromastus, Nereis, Oligochaeta), with spatial distributions related to sediment characteristics. Considerable year-to-year variation was observed and seasonality was evident for all species. It is argued that in the meso-/oligohaline zone, where salinity shows large seasonal fluctuations, benthic communities change frequently during the year, resulting in communities that seldom progress beyond early benthic-community succession. Annual variations are less pronounced. The impact of the construction of a containerterminal (1994), adjacent to the mudflat, on the macrobentic species distributions is discussed.

Thematic List 2020

EWI Biomedical sciences

Geographic list

Research output (related by authors)
Shopping cart
Add to cart Saved citations

Copy the text from this field...



  • 283398

    Final published version, 271 KB, PDF document

View graph of relations