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Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 1782–1796 | Cite as

Human Pressure on Sandy Beaches: Implications for Trophic Functioning

  • Mª José Reyes-Martínez
  • Diego Lercari
  • Mª Carmen Ruíz-Delgado
  • Juan Emilio Sánchez-Moyano
  • Antonia Jiménez-Rodríguez
  • Alejandro Pérez-Hurtado
  • Francisco José García-García
Article

Abstract

The effect of coastal development and tourism occupancy on the structure and trophic networks of sandy beaches was analysed for the first time, using mass-balanced trophic models. Ecopath models were applied to two beaches, representative of different anthropogenic pressures, a beach located inside a protected area and an urbanised beach with tourism infrastructure and high levels of visitors. Models comprised 28 compartment at the protected beach and 27 compartments at the urbanised beaches, including detritus, phytoplankton, zooplankton, invertebrates, fishes and birds. Results revealed that the protected area had higher values of total system throughput, biomass, ascendency and capacity, reflecting a more complex, organised, mature and active system, compared to the urbanised beach. Finally, different indicators of stress were analysed and we suggest the Finn cycling index as an indicator of anthropogenic impact on sandy beaches.

Keywords

Ecopath Food web Sandy beaches Human disturbance Spain 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Natural Park “Los Toruños” (Cádiz) and its staff for the facilities provided during sampling. We specially thank Dr. José Manuel Guerra García, Departamento de Zoología, Universidad de Sevilla (Spain) for assistance with gut content analysis and Diego Caballero Sadi, Universidad de la República (Uruguay) for advice on birds biology. The authors are grateful with the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. This work was supported by the incentive programme to excellent research projects, financed by the government of Andalucía (P09-HUM-4717) through a PhD Grant awarded to the first author and by the programme for academic mobility between Andalusian and Latin American AUIP Universities.

Supplementary material

12237_2014_9910_MOESM1_ESM.xls (64 kb)
ESM 1 (XLS 63 kb)

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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mª José Reyes-Martínez
    • 1
  • Diego Lercari
    • 2
  • Mª Carmen Ruíz-Delgado
    • 1
  • Juan Emilio Sánchez-Moyano
    • 3
  • Antonia Jiménez-Rodríguez
    • 1
  • Alejandro Pérez-Hurtado
    • 4
  • Francisco José García-García
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y NaturalesUniversidad Pablo de OlavideSevillaSpain
  2. 2.UNDECIMAR, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de la RepúblicaMontevideoUruguay
  3. 3.Departamento de ZoologíaUniversidad de SevillaSevillaSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Biología Animal y EcologíaUniversidad de CádizPuerto RealSpain

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