Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 1314–1326 | Cite as

Long-Term Trends in Intertidal and Subtidal Benthic Communities in Response to Water Quality Improvement Measures

  • Paula ChainhoEmail author
  • Gilda Silva
  • Michael F. Lane
  • José L. Costa
  • Tadeu Pereira
  • Carla Azeda
  • Pedro R. Almeida
  • Inês Metelo
  • Maria J. Costa


Long-term monitoring studies are needed to understand changes in ecosystem status when restoration measures are implemented. A long-term data series (1996–2007) of the Tagus estuary (Portugal) intertidal and subtidal benthic communities was collected in a degraded area where mitigation measures were implemented. Multivariate analysis was used to analyze spatial and temporal patterns in benthic community composition and trends in five benthic community metrics (i.e., taxonomic richness, density, biomass, Shannon–Wiener diversity and the AMBI index) were also examined. The results revealed a clear separation between intertidal and subtidal assemblages, although they had 50% of taxa in common, including the most abundant. Significant positive trends were found for all metrics showing that both intertidal and subtidal communities responded to the restoration measures implemented. Nevertheless, biotic indices need some adaptation before being universally applied to intertidal and subtidal habitats.


Benthic quality assessment Long-term trends Spatial and temporal patterns Tagus estuary AMBI 



This study was supported by the institutions Parque EXPO, S. A. and Lisbon Municipality. This study was also supported by a Post Doc fellowship (SFRH/BPD/29579/2006) granted by FCT. We would like to thank our colleagues V. Amaral, M.J. Correia, M. Cunha, F. Jorge, J.P. Medeiros, M. Pardal, C. Pereira, C. Pestana, A.L. Rego, S. Rodrigues, J. Salgado, and C. Teixeira for assistance in different tasks.


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Chainho
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gilda Silva
    • 1
  • Michael F. Lane
    • 2
  • José L. Costa
    • 1
  • Tadeu Pereira
    • 1
  • Carla Azeda
    • 1
  • Pedro R. Almeida
    • 1
    • 3
  • Inês Metelo
    • 4
  • Maria J. Costa
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Centro de OceanografiaFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  3. 3.Departamento de Biologia, Escola de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade de ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  4. 4.Direcção Municipal de Ambiente Urbano, Departamento do Ambiente e Espaços Verdes, Divisão de Controlo AmbientalCâmara Municipal de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  5. 5.Departamento de Biologia AnimalFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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