Sublittoral sand dollar (Echinodiscus bisperforatus) communities in two bays on the South African south coast

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsBentley AC, Cockcroft AC
JournalSouth African Journal of Zoology
Accession NumberBacd199598357353
KeywordsEchinoidea [83300] Environmental Sciences Ecology, Ecology: environmental biology - Animal 07512, Ecology: environmental biology - Oceanography 13003, Environmental Sciences Ecology Marine Ecology Metabolism Physiology Soil Science Echinodermata Invertebrata Animalia 07508, experimental morpholo, Invertebrata: comparative, Metabolism - Energy and respiratory metabolism 52805, Soil science - Physics and chemistry 64048

Macrofaunal community assemblages associated with Echinodiscus bisperforatus beds were investigated at three relatively sheltered, sandy subtidal areas in Plettenberg Bay and St. Francis Bay on the South African south coast. Macrofauna, meiofauna and sediment parameters together with sand dollar abundance and distribution were recorded along transects with stations at 2 m depth intervals from 4 m to 12 m. A wave-induced, depth-related turbulence gradient was evident with both mean particle size and sediment sorting decreasing with depth, whereas macrofauna diversity and biomass increased. Macrofaunal species assemblages corresponded to those of subtidal transition zones of more exposed beaches along the southern Cape coast. No single abiotic variable could be identified as the dominant influence on community structure. Distribution of sand dollars within these sites was found to be extremely patchy with densities ranging from 1-10 m-2 over a depth range of 4-10 m.

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