Biogenic reefs affect multiple components of intertidal soft-bottom benthic assemblages: the Lanice conchilega case study

TitreBiogenic reefs affect multiple components of intertidal soft-bottom benthic assemblages: the Lanice conchilega case study
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuteursDe Smet, B, D'Hondt, ASophie, Pieterjan, V, Fournier, J, Godet, L, Desroy, N, Rabaut, M, Magda, V, Jan, V
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Date Published01/2015
Mots-clésbeaches, benthos, biogenic reefs, community composition, Lanice conchilega, tidal flats

Biogenic reefs composed of the tube-building polychaete Lanice conchilega are important from a conservation point of view because they noticeably increase the biodiversity in otherwise species poor
environments. However, up to now, little or no attention has been paid to the intertidal epi- and hyperbenthic communities associated with the reefs. Therefore, this is the first study which focuses on
the effect of L. conchilega reefs on the entire bentho-pelagic community at two different locations. Environmental variables were measured and macro-, epi- and hyperbenthic communities were sampled
within a L. conchilega reef and a control area at two locations in France: the bay of the Mont Saint-Michel (BMSM) and Boulogne-sur-Mer (Boulogne). The effect of the reef presence on the benthic community
was studied with a 3-factor (Reef, Location and Period) Permanova. In addition, the relationship between the benthic community and the environmental variables was investigated using Distance-based linear
models (DistLM). Most collected organisms were sampled in the reef area (macrobenthos: 91%, epibenthos: 81% and hyperbenthos: 78.5%) indicating that, independent of the location, the L. conchilega
reefs positively affect all three associated benthic communities. However, the extent of the effect seems to be most pronounced for the macrobenthos and less distinct in case of the hyperbenthos. The macro-,
and epibenthos are mainly structured by biotic variables (L. conchilega density and macrobenthic food availability respectively), while the hyperbenthos is rather structured by environmental variables. In
general, L. conchilega reefs do not only affect abundances and diversity but they substantially steer the structure of the intertidal benthic sandy beach ecosystem.