, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 840-850

The distribution and abundance of soft-sediment macrobenthos around Casey Station, East Antarctica

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Grab samples of shallow (5–35 m) marine benthic sediments and epi- and infaunal assemblages were taken from nearshore regions around Casey Station, Windmill Islands, East Antarctica. A hierarchical, spatially nested sampling design was used with locations (kilometres apart), sites (hundreds of metres apart) and plots (tens of metres). Two potentially impacted, polluted locations (adjacent to a sewage outfall and an old garbage tip) were compared with two control locations in an asymmetrical design. Significant differences in assemblages were found between locations and between sites within locations. Significant differences in the abundances of taxa at several taxonomic levels (species, family, order, phylum) were found at all three spatial scales. Significant differences were also detected between the polluted and control locations. Compared with other Antarctic locations, the assemblages were dominated by crustaceans (90–97% of individuals) and there was a paucity of polychaete fauna at the locations sampled.