Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 134, Issue 1–3, pp 397–410 | Cite as

Intertidal macrofaunal communities in an intensely polluted estuary

  • M. Bustamante
  • F. J. Tajadura-Martín
  • J. I. Saiz-Salinas
Article

Abstract

The Bilbao estuary (northern Spain) has suffered a serious environmental deterioration due to industrial and domestic discharges during decades. A total of 21 sampling stations were selected in order to: (1) study the intertidal fauna distribution on both hard and soft bottoms; (2) link this information with the prevalence of certain environmental variables at the sampling sites; and (3) define distinct biological zones with all the information gathered. Up to 50 taxa were identified mainly in the outer estuary with an abrupt decrease upstream. In general, fauna on hard substrates was more diverse, while soft bottom communities exhibited a more consistent structure. Sporadic hypoxic events were recorded in the water column of all the sites studied, which affects the distribution of species. Three major biotic zones are proposed in the estuary. This provides a reliable biomonitoring tool for assessing the effectiveness of a sewerage and remediation scheme ongoing on the river and evaluating the future use of each area in the urban development of the city of Bilbao and conurbation.

Keywords

Macrozoobenthos Hard and soft substrates Estuary Pollution Biomonitoring Hypoxia Bilbao estuary 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Andrews, M. J., Aston, K. F. A., Rickard, D. G., & Steel, J. E. (1982). The macrofauna of the inner Thames estuary. London Naturalist, 61, 30’2.Google Scholar
  2. Attrill, M. J. (1998). The benthic macroinvertebrate communities of the Thames estuary. In M. J. Attrill (Ed.), A rehabilitated estuarine ecosystem (pp. 85’13). London: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  3. Boaden, P. J. S., & Seed, R. (Eds.) (1996). An introduction to coastal ecology. London: Blackie Academic & Professional.Google Scholar
  4. Borja, A., Galparsoro, I., Solaun, O., Muxika, I., Tello, E. M., Uriarte, A., et al. (2006a). The European water framework directive and the DPSIR, a methodological approach to assess the risk of failing to achieve good ecological status. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 66, 84’6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borja, A., Muxica, I., & Franco, J. (2006b). Long term (1989’003) soft-bottom benthos recovery, following urban and industrial sewage treatment in the Nervion estuary (Basque Country, northern Spain). Marine Ecology. Progress Series, 313, 43’5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bilyard, G. R. (1987). The value of benthic infauna in marine pollution monitoring studies. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 18, 581’85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cearreta, A., Irabien, M. J., Leorri, E., & Yusta, I. (2000). Recent anthropogenic impacts on the Bilbao estuary, northen Spain: Geochemical and microfaunal evidence. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 50, 571’92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cearreta, A., Irabien, M. J., Onaindía, M., Saiz, J. I., Amezaga, I., González, J. A., et al. (1997). Cambios ambientales en el litoral cantábrico oriental duarnte el Holoceno. Cuaternaria Ibérico, 47’4.Google Scholar
  9. Cearreta, A., Irabien, M. J., & Pascual, A. (2004). Human activities along the Basque coast during the last two centuries: Geological perspective of recent anthropogenic impact on the coast and its environmental consequences. In A. Borja & M. Collins (Eds.), Oceanography and marine environment of the Basque Country (pp. 27’0). Amsterdam: Elsevier Oceanography Series. doi: 10.1016/S0422-9894(04)80040-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chapman, M. G. (1999). Improving sampling designs for measuring restoration in aquatic habitats. Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery, 6, 235’51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapman, P. M., & Wang, F. (2001). Assessing sediment contamination in estuaries. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 20, 3’2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clark, R. B. (Ed.) (1992). Marine pollution. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  13. Clarke, K. R., & Gorley, R. N. (Eds.) (2001). PRIMER v5 user manual/tutorial. Plymouth routines in multivariate ecological research. Plymouth: PRIMER-E.Google Scholar
  14. Clarke, K. R., & Warwick, R. M. (Eds.) (1994). Change in marine communities. An approach to statistical analisys and interpretation. Plymouth: PRIMER-E.Google Scholar
  15. Franco, B., Aspillaga, E., Muxica, I., Pérez, V., Solaun, O., & Borja, A. (2002). Hypoxia and anoxia in small temperate estuaries: Patterns of oxygen deficency, effects and recovery. Paper presented at the 6th International Symposium Fish Physiology, Toxicology & Water Quality, Mexico. Thurston (Ed.) EPA/600/R-02/097 US.Google Scholar
  16. García-Barcina, J. M., González-Oreja, J. A., & De la Sota, A. (2006). Assesing the improvement of the Bilbao estuary water quality in response to pollution abatement measures. Water Research, 40, 951’60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gaston, G. R., Rakocinski, C. F., Brown, S. S., & Cleveland, C. M. (1998). Trophic function in estuaries: Response of macrobenthos to natural and contaminant gradients. Marine and Freshwater Research, 49, 833’46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gibbs, P. E., & Saiz-Salinas, J. I. (1996). The occurrence of the estuarine polychaete Lycastopsis littoralis (Namanereidinae: Nereididae) in the ría de Bilbao, northen Spain. Journal of Marine Biology Association of the UK, 76, 617’23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. González-Oreja, J. A., & Saiz-Salinas, J. I. (1998a). Short-term spatio-temporal changes in urban pollution by means of fecal sterols analysis. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 36, 868’75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. González-Oreja, J. A., & Saiz-Salinas, J. I. (1998b). Exploring the relationships between abiotic variables and benthic community structure in a polluted estuarine system. Water Research, 32, 3799’807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. González-Oreja, J. A., & Saiz-Salinas, J. I. (1999). Loss of hetrotrophic biomass structure in an extreme estuarine environment. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 48, 391’99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gorostiaga, J. M., Borja, A., Diez, I., Frances, G., Pagola-Carte, S., & Saiz-Salinas, J. I. (2004). Recovery of benthic communities in polluted systems. In A. Borja & M. Collins (Eds.), Oceanography and marine environment of the Basque Country (pp. 549’78). Amsterdam: Elsevier Oceanography Series. doi: 10.1016/S0422-9894(04)80060-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gorostiaga, J. M., & Díez, I. (1996). Changes in sublittoral benthic marine macroalgae in the polluted area of Abra de Bilbao and proximal coast (northern Spain). Marine Ecology. Progress Series, 130, 157’67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gorostiaga, J. M., Santolaria, A., Secilla, A., Tajadura, J., Corcuera, I., Díez, I., et al. (2000). A preliminary study of the intertidal epilithis phytobenthos of the heavy polluted estuary of Bilbao (northern Spain). Paper presented at the 31st Symposium of the estuarine and Coastal sciences Association, Bilbao.Google Scholar
  25. Irabien, M. J., Yusta, I., & Zabaleta, A. (2001). Metales pesados en sedimentos contaminados: Variabilidad espacotemporal en la ría de Bilbao. Geogaceta, 30, 203’06.Google Scholar
  26. Karlson, K., Rosenberg, R., & Bonsdoff, E. (2002). Temporal and spatial large-sacle effects of eutrophication and oxygen deficiency on benthic fauna in Sacandinavian and Baltic waters ’A review. Oceanography and Marine Biology, 40, 427’89.Google Scholar
  27. Lourido, A., Gestoso, L., & Troncoso, J. S. (2006). Assemblages of the moulluscan fauna in subtidal soft bottoms of the Ría de Aldán (north-western Spain). Journal of Marine Biology Association of the UK, 86, 129’40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McLusky, D. S. (1987). Intertidal habitats and benthic macrofauna of the Forth estuary, Scotland. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 93B, 389’99.Google Scholar
  29. McLusky, D. S. (1999). Estuarine benthic ecology: A European perspective. Australian Journal of Ecology, 24, 302’11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pagola-Carte, S., & Saiz-Salinas, J. I. (2001). Changes in the sublittoral faunal biomass induced by the discharge of a polluted river along the adjacent rocky coast (N. Spain). Marine Ecology. Progress Series, 212, 13’7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pascual, A. (1992). Utilización de los foraminiferos y ostrácodos para un mejor conocimiento del medio ambiente en los estuarios vizcainos (Gernika y Bilbao). Revista Española de Micropaleontología, 24, 33’7.Google Scholar
  32. Raffaelli, D., & Hawkins, S. (Eds.) (1999). Intertidal ecology. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  33. Rakocinski, C. F., Brown, S. S., Gaston, G. R., Heard, R. W., Walker, W. W., & Summers, J. K. (1997). Macrobenthic responses to natural and contaminant-related gradients in northern Gulf of Mexico estuaries. Ecological Applications, 7, 1278’298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rogers, S. I., & Greenaway, B. (2005). A UK perspective on the development of marine ecosystem indicators. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 50, 9’9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rosenberg, R., Agrenius, S., Hellman, B., Nilsson, H. C., & Norling, K. (2002). Recovery of marine benthic habitats and fauna in a Swedish fjord following improved oxygen conditions. Marine Ecology. Progress Series, 234, 43’3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rosenberg, R., Loo, L.-O., & Möller, P. (1992). Hypoxia, salinity and temperature as structuring factors for marine benthic communities in a eutrophic area. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research, 30, 121’29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ruiz de la Rosa, J. M., & Saiz-Salinas, J. I. (1993). Niveles de metales pesados en sedimentos e infauna asociada de la ría de Bilbao. Publicaciones especiales del Instituto Español de Oceanografía, 11, 399’04.Google Scholar
  38. Saiz-Salinas, J. I. (1997). Evaluation of adverse biological effects induced by pollution in the Bilbao estuary. Environmental Pollution, 96, 351’59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Saiz-Salinas, J. I., & Francés-Zubillaga, G. (1997a). Tidal zonation on mud-flats in a polluted estuary caused by oxygen-depleted water. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 209, 157’70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Saiz-Salinas, J. I., & Francés-Zubillaga, G. (1997b). Enhaced growth in juvenile nereis diversicolor after its exposure to anaerobic polluted sediments. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 34, 437’42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Saiz-Salinas, J. I., & González-Oreja, J. A. (2000). Stress in estuarine communities: Lessons from the highly-impacted Bilbao estuary (Spain). Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery, 7, 43’5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Summers, J. K., Weisberg, S. B., Holland, A. F., Kou, J. Y., Engle, V. D., Breitberg, D. L., et al. (1996). Characterizing dissolved oxygen conditions in estuarine environments. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 45, 319’28.Google Scholar
  43. Tinsley, D. (1998). The Thames estuary: A history of the impact of humans on the environment and a description of the current approach to environmental management. In M. J. Attrill (Ed.), A rehabilitated estuarine ecosystem (pp. 5’5). London: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  44. Warwick, R. M. (1993). Environmental impact studies on marine communities: Pragmatical considerations. Australian Journal of Ecology, 18, 63’0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Bustamante
    • 1
  • F. J. Tajadura-Martín
    • 1
  • J. I. Saiz-Salinas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and ACBUniversity of the Basque CountryBilbaoSpain

Personalised recommendations