Multi-decadal changes in the megabenthos of the Bay of Fundy: The effects of fishing

Ellen Kenchington, Trevor Kenchington, LeaAnne Henry, S Fuller, P Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Analysis of presence / absence records from two comparable megabenthic surveys of scallop grounds in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, in 1966-67 and 1997 showed profound change over three decades. There were no indications that any species were lost and the average number of taxa per station remained steady. However, spatial heterogeneities in the community were reduced and species composition changed significantly. Some taxa widespread in 1966-67 declined while others expanded, with frequencies of occurrence of individual taxa changing by up to 71%. The whelks Buccinum undatum and Colus spp., the bivalves Astarte spp. and Cylocardia borealis, the toad crabs Hyas spp., the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis and the brittle stars (Ophiurida) showed particular increases. Corresponding declines were seen in the boring sponges Cliona spp., the horse mussel Modiolus modiolus, the scallop Chlamys islandica. the fan worm Pseudopotamilla reniformis and the stalked tunicate Boltenia ovifera. Replacement of attached, fragile, epifaunal, filter-feeding taxa by a combination of motile scavengers, motile filter-feeders and robust, burrowing filter-feeders suggests that the primary cause of the temporal change was physical impacts by fishing gear, even though trawling and scallop dragging in the area were neither intense nor new developments. Secondary causes of change may have included other ecosystem effects of fishing (supply of discards and bait), a mass mortality of scallops and a range expansion of a bryozoan (Flustra foliacea). Crown Copyright (C) 2007 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-240
Number of pages21
JournalJ SEA RES
Volume58
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • NORTH-SEA
  • SANDY BOTTOM ECOSYSTEM
  • SUBTIDAL WADDEN SEA
  • BENTHIC INVERTEBRATE COMMUNITIES
  • MUSSEL MODIOLUS-MODIOLUS
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology
  • MACROFAUNA STANDING STOCK
  • Oceanography
  • LONG-TERM CHANGES
  • SOUTHERN NEW-ZEALAND
  • COMMERCIAL SCALLOP GROUNDS
  • CO-INERTIA ANALYSIS

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