Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1185–1195 | Cite as

Influence of land use on macrobenthic communities in nearshore estuarine habitats

  • D. M. BilkovicEmail author
  • M. Roggero
  • C. H. Hershner
  • K. H. Havens


Macrobenthic community indices were examined for their ability to characterize the influence of shoreline alteration and watershed land use in nearshore estuarine environments of the Chesapeake Bay, U.S.A. Twenty-three watersheds were surveyed in 2002 and 2003 for nearshore macrobenthic assemblages, environmental parameters (i.e., dissolved oxygen, pH, total suspended solids, salinity, and sediment composition), shoreline condition, and land use. Two indices of macrobenthic biological integrity, benthic index of biological integrity in the nearshore (B-IBIN) and abundance biomass comparison (W-value), were evaluated for associations with environmental and shoreline condition, and riparian and watershed land use. Comparisons between nearshore measures of the B-IBI with offshore values (>2 m; Chesapeake Bay benthic index of biological integrity [B-IBICB]) were conducted to assess the ability of the index to reflect land use patterns at near and far proximities to shore. Nearshore macrobenthic communities were represented by a total of 94 species (mean number of species =9.2 ± 0.4 sample−1), and were dominated by the phyla Arthropoda, Annelida, and Mollusca. Temporal variability in environmental conditions and macrobenthic abundance and biomass may be attributable to the notable increase in precipitation in 2003 that led to nutrient influxes and algal blooms. For the biotic indices applied in the nearshore, the highest scores were associated with forested watersheds (W-value, B-IBIN). Ecological thresholds were identified with nonparametric change-point analysis, which indicated a significant reduction in B-IBIN and W-value scores when the amount of developed shoreline exceeded 10% and developed watershed exceeded 12%, respectively.


Biotic Integrity Submerse Aquatic Vegetation Macrobenthic Community Biotic Index National Land Cover Database 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. M. Bilkovic
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Roggero
    • 1
  • C. H. Hershner
    • 1
  • K. H. Havens
    • 1
  1. 1.Virginia Institute of Marine ScienceGloucester Point

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