Advertisement

Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 967–980 | Cite as

Is Salinity Variability a Benthic Disturbance in Estuaries?

  • Amanda D. Van Diggelen
  • Paul A. MontagnaEmail author
Article

Abstract

Freshwater inflow is a driver of the functioning of estuaries, and average salinity is usually measured to identify the effects of inflow in salinity-zone habitats. However, salinity variability could act as a disturbance by producing unstable habitats, leading to the question: is salinity variance an indicator of benthic disturbance, and therefore a driver of community stability? The macrofauna communities of five estuaries that lie in a climatic gradient on the Texas coastline were analyzed using a 26-year data set. Comparisons within and between estuaries with different inflow regimes were used as a natural experiment to simulate press disturbance events (i.e., climatic inflow) and pulse disturbance (i.e., floods) in maintaining community stability. Salinity average and variance was compared with benthic community diversity, evenness, and species richness. Salinity variance was more correlated to benthic diversity for each estuarine system (r = −0.6610; p = 0.0015) than average salinity (r = 0.3818; p = 0.0967). As salinity variance decreased (i.e., stability increased), diversity levels of benthic communities increased, and areas with mgore freshwater inflow displayed lower levels of benthic diversity. These findings advance a component of the general theory of diversity maintenance that persistent stressors, such as salinity variability, can influence diversity.

Keywords

Press and pulse disturbances Infauna Freshwater inflow Long-term data Diversity-stability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The data collection has been funded by many agencies (with grants to PM) over many years. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) provided the initial funding that started the project in 1987 and continues to fund this work in 2015. Additional funding has come from the US Environmental Protection Agency (Gulf of Mexico Grant MX954526), The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (CAMEO Grant NA09NMF4720179), and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI). This research would not be possible without the diligent and consistent sampling and identification of benthic organisms led by Rick Kalke (HRI) and Larry Hyde (HRI). A final thanks to Terry Palmer (HRI) for helping with the statistical analysis in SAS and for generating the map of the study area.

Supplementary material

12237_2015_58_MOESM1_ESM.docx (69 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 68.9 kb)
12237_2015_58_MOESM2_ESM.docx (79 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 79.2 kb)
12237_2015_58_MOESM3_ESM.docx (55 kb)
ESM 3 (DOCX 54.8 kb)

References

  1. Alber, M. 2002. A conceptual model of estuarine freshwater inflow management. Estuaries 25: 1246–1261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Attrill, M. 2002. A testable linear model for diversity trends in estuaries. Journal of Animal Ecology 71: 262–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Attrill, M., S.D. Rundle, and R.M. Thomas. 1996. The influence of drought-induced low freshwater flow on an upper-estuarine macroinvertebrate community. Water Research 30: 261–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bender, A., T.J. Case, and M.E. Gilpin. 1984. Perturbation experiments in community ecology; theory and practice. Ecology 65: 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Calabrese, A. 1969. Individual and combined effects of salinity and temperature on embryos and larvae of the coot clam, Mulinia lateralis. Biological Bulletin 137: 417–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carpenter, S.R., and W.A. Brock. 2006. Rising variance: a leading indicator of ecological transition. Ecology Letters 9: 311–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clarke, K.R., and R.N. Gorley. 2006. PRIMER v6: User Manual/Tutorial. Plymouth: PRIMER-E. 192p.Google Scholar
  8. Clarke, K.R., and R.M. Warwick. 2001. Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 2nd ed. Plymouth: PRIMER-E.Google Scholar
  9. Connell, J.H. 1978. Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Science 199: 1302–1310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diener, R.A. 1975. Cooperative gulf of Mexico estuarine inventory and study-Texas area description. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Report, National Marine Fisheries Service Circular 393, 129 p. http://www.galvestonlab.sefsc.noaa.gov/publications/pdf/189.pdf. Accessed 8 Dec 2015.
  11. Doak, D.F., D. Bigger, E.K. Harding, M.A. Marvier, R.E. O’Malley, and D. Thompson. 1998. The statistical inevitability of stability-diversity relationships in community ecology. American Naturalist 151: 264–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Encarnação, J., T. Leitão, P. Morais, D. Piló, P. Range, L. Chícharo, and A. Chícharo. 2013. Effects of inter-annual freshwater inflow shifts on the community structure of estuarine decapods. Cahiers de Biologie Marine 54: 181–189.Google Scholar
  13. Flint, R.W., and J.A. Younk. 1983. Estuarine benthos: long-term variations, Corpus Christi, Texas. Estuaries 6: 126–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gillanders, B.M., and M.J. Kingsford. 2002. Impact of changes in flow of freshwater on estuarine and open coastal habitats and the associated organisms. In Oceanography and Marine Biology: an Annual Review, 40th ed, ed. R.N. Gibson, M. Barnes, and R.J.A. Atkinson, 233–309. London p: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  15. Glasby, T.M., and A.J. Underwood. 1996. Sampling to differentiate between pulse and press perturbations. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 42: 241–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hallegraeff, G.M. 2010. Review: ocean climate change, phytoplankton community responses, and harmful algal blooms: a formidable predictive challenge. Journal of Phycology. 46: 220–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heip, C.H.R., P.M.J. Herman, and K. Soetaert. 1998. Indices of diversity and evenness. Océanis (Paris) 24: 61–87.Google Scholar
  18. Holland, A.F., N.K. Mountford, and J.A. Mihursky. 1977. Temporal variation in upper bay mesohaline benthic communities the 9-m mud habitat. Chesapeake Science 18: 370–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holland, A.F., A.T. Shaughnessy, and M.H. Hiegel. 1987. Long-term variation in mesohaline Chesapeake Bay macrobenthos: spatial and temporal patterns. Estuaries 10: 227–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hurlbert, S.H. 1984. Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments. Ecological Monographs 54: 187–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Huston, M.A. 1994. Biological diversity: the coexistence of species. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Irlandi, E., S. Maciá, and J. Serafy. 1997. Salinity reduction from freshwater canal discharge: effects on mortality and feeding of an urchin (Lytechinus variegatus) and a gastropod (Lithopoma tectum). Bulletin of Marine Science 61: 869–879.Google Scholar
  23. Ives, A.R., and S.R. Carpenter. 2007. Stability and diversity of ecosystems. Science 317: 58–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ives, A.R., and J.B. Hughes. 2002. General relationships between species diversity and stability in competitive systems. American Naturalist 159: 388–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ives, A.R., J.L. Klug, and K. Gross. 2000. Stability and species richness in complex communities. Science 286: 542–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnston, E.L., and M.J. Keough. 2002. Direct and indirect effects of repeated pollution events on marine hard-substrate assemblages. Ecological Applications 12: 1212–1228.Google Scholar
  27. Jones, K.K., C.A. Simenstad, D.L. Higley, and D.L. Bottom. 1990. Community structure, distribution, and standing stock of benthos, epibenthos, and plankton in the Colombia River Estuary. Progress in Oceanography 25: 211–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kalke, R.D., and P.A. Montagna. 1991. The effect of freshwater inflow on macrobenthos in the Lavaca River Delta and Upper Lavaca Bay, Texas. Contributions in Marine Science 32: 49–71.Google Scholar
  29. Kim, H.C., and P.A. Montagna. 2009. Implications of Colorado River freshwater inflow to benthic ecosystem dynamics: a modeling study. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 83: 491–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kim, H.C., and P.A. Montagna. 2012. Effects of climate-driven freshwater inflow variability on macrobenthic secondary production in Texas lagoonal estuaries: a modeling study. Ecological Modeling 235: 67–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kimmel, D.G., and M.R. Roman. 2004. Long-term trends in mesozooplankton abundance in Chesapeake Bay, USA: influence of freshwater input. Marine Ecology Progress Series 267: 71–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kjerfve, B., and K.E. Magill. 1989. Geographic and hydrodynamic characteristics of shallow coastal lagoons. Marine Geology 88: 187–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Koepfler, E.T., R. Benner, and P.A. Montagna. 1993. Variability of dissolved organic carbon in sediments of a seagrass bed and an unvegetated area within an estuary in southern Texas. Estuaries 16: 391–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lake, P.S. 2000. Disturbance, patchiness, and diversity in streams. The North American Benthological Society 19: 573–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Larkin, T.J., and G.W. Bomar. 1983. Climatic Atlas of Texas. Texas Department of Water Resources. Austin: Texas.Google Scholar
  36. MacArthur, R. 1955. Fluctuations of animal populations and a measure of community stability. Ecology 36: 533–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mannino, A., and P.A. Montagna. 1997. Small-scale spatial variation of microbenthic community structure. Estuaries 20: 159–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Martinho, F., R. Leitão, I. Viegas, M. Dolbeth, J.M. Neto, H.N. Cabral, and M.A. Pardal. 2007. The influence of an extreme drought in the fish community of a southern Europe temperate estuary. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 75: 537–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McCann, K.S. 2000. The diversity–stability debate. Nature 405: 228–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McIvor, C.C., J.A. Ley, and R.D. Bjork. 1994. Changes in freshwater inflow from the Everglades to Florida Bay including effects on biota and biotic processes: a review, 117–146. Everglades: The Ecosystem and Its Restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, Florida.Google Scholar
  41. Menge, B.A. 1976. Organization of the New England rocky intertidal community: role of predation, competition, and environmental heterogeneity. Ecological Monographs 46: 355–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Montagna, P.A. 2000. Effect of freshwater inflow on macrobenthos productivity and nitrogen losses in Texas estuaries. Final Report to Texas Water Development Board, Contract No. 2000 483–323. Port Aransas, TX: University of Texas Marine Science Institute Technical Report Number TR/ 00–03.Google Scholar
  43. Montagna, P.A., and R.D. Kalke. 1992. The effect of freshwater inflow on meiofaunal and macrofaunal populations in the Guadalupe and Nueces Estuaries, Texas. Estuaries 15: 307–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Montagna, P.A., and R.D. Kalke. 1995. Ecology of infaunal mollusca in South Texas estuaries. American Malacological Bulletin 11: 163–75.Google Scholar
  45. Montagna, P.A., and J. Li. 2010. Effect of Freshwater inflow on nutrient loading and macrobenthos secondary production in Texas lagoons. In Coastal lagoons: critical habitats of environmental change, ed. M.J. Kennish and H.W. Pearl, 513–539. Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Montagna, P.A., R.D. Kalke, and C. Ritter. 2002. Effect of restored freshwater inflow on macrofauna and meiofauna in upper Rincon Bayou, Texas, USA. Estuaries 25: 1436–1447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Montagna, P.A., J.C. Gibeaut, and J.W. Tunnell. 2007. South Texas climate 2100: coastal impacts. In: South Texas Climate 2100: Problems and prospects, impacts and implications, (eds) Norwine J, John K Crest-Ressaca Texas A&M University- Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas, p.57-77.Google Scholar
  48. Montagna, P.A., E.D. Estevez, T.A. Palmer, and M.S. Flannery. 2008. Meta-analysis of the relationship between salinity and molluscs in tidal river estuaries of southwest Florida, U.S.A. American Malacological Bulletin 24: 101–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Montagna, P.A., J. Brenner, J. Gibeaut, and S. Morehead. 2011a. Coastal impacts. In The impact of global warming on Texas, 2nd ed, ed. J. Schmandt, G.R. North, and J. Clarkson, 96–123. Texas: University of Texas Press, Austin.Google Scholar
  50. Montagna, P., G. Ward, and B. Vaughan. 2011b. The importance and problem of freshwater inflows to Texas estuaries. In Water policy in Texas: responding to the rise of scarcity, ed. R.C. Griffin, 107–127. Washington, D.C.: The RFF Press.Google Scholar
  51. Montagna, P.A., T.A. Palmer, and J.B. Pollack. 2013. Hydrological changes and estuarine dynamics. New York, New York: Springer Briefs in Environmental Sciences.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Montague, C.L., and J.A. Ley. 1993. A possible effect of salinity fluctuation on abundance of benthic vegetation and associated fauna in northeastern Florida Bay. Estuaries 16: 703–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Moore, S.K., V.L. Trainer, N.J. Mantua, M.S. Parker, E.A. Laws, L.C. Backer, and L.E. Fleming. 2008. Impacts of climate variability and future climate change on harmful algal blooms and human health. Environmental Health 7(suppl 2): S4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. North, E.W., S.Y. Chao, L.P. Sanford, and R.R. Hood. 2004. The influence of wind and river pulses on an estuarine turbidity maximum: numerical studies and field observations in Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries 27: 132–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Palmer, T.A., P.A. Montagna, J.B. Pollack, R.D. Kalke, and H.R. DeYoe. 2011. The role of freshwater inflow in lagoons, rivers and bays. Hydrobiologia 667: 49–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Parker, R.H. 1975. The study of benthic communities: a model and a review. Elsevier, New York: Elsevier Oceanography Series.Google Scholar
  57. Pollack, J.B., J. Kinsey, and P. Montagna. 2009. Freshwater inflow biotic index (FIBI) for the Lavaca-Colorado Estuary, Texas. Environmental Bioindicators 4: 153–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pollack, J.B., H.C. Kim, E.K. Morgan, and P.A. Montagna. 2011. Role of flood disturbance in natural oyster (Crassostrea virginica) population maintenance in an estuary in south Texas, USA. Estuaries and Coasts 34: 187–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. SAS/STAT. 2013. User’s Guide, version 9, vol. 3, 2nd ed. Cary, NC: SAS Institute.Google Scholar
  60. Schlacher, T.A., and T.H. Wooldridge. 1996. Ecological responses to reductions in freshwater supply and quality in South Africa’s estuaries: lessons for management and conservation. Journal of Coastal Conservation 2: 115–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Sutherland, J.P. 1981. The fouling community at Baeufort, North Carolina: a study in stability. The American Naturalist 118: 499–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Telesh, I., H. Schubert, and S. Skarlato. 2013. Life in the salinity gradient: discovering mechanisms behind a new biodiversity pattern. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 135: 317–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Thébault, E., and M. Loreau. 2005. Trophic interactions and the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem stability. American Naturalist 166: E95–E114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Thompson, I., B. Mackey, S. McNulty, and A. Mosseler. 2009. A Synthesis of the biodiversity/resilience/stability relationship in forest ecosystems Forest Resilience, Biodiversity, and Climate Change. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal, Canada. Technical Series no. 43, 67 p. https://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-43-en.pdf. Accessed 8 Dec 2015.
  65. Tilman, D. 1999. The ecological consequences of changes in biodiversity: a search for general principles. Ecology 80: 1455–1474.Google Scholar
  66. Watt, K.E.F. 1964. Comments on fluctuations of animal populations and measures of community stability. The Canadian Entomologist 96: 1434–1442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Whitford, W.G., D.J. Rapport, and A.G. DeSoyza. 1999. Using resistance and resilience measurements for ‘fitness’ tests in ecosystem health. Journal of Environmental Management 57: 21–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wolff, W.J. 1983. Estuarine Benthos. In Ecosystems of the world 26: estuaries and enclosed seas, ed. B.H. Ketchum, 151–183. Amsterdam p: Elesavier.Google Scholar
  69. Ysebaert, T., and P.M.J. Herman. 2002. Spatial and temporal variation in benthic macrofauna and relationships with environmental variables in an estuarine, intertidal soft-sediment environment. Marine Ecology Progress Series 244: 105–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico StudiesTexas A&M University—Corpus ChristiCorpus ChristiUSA
  2. 2.California Department of Fish and WildlifeLos AlamitosUSA

Personalised recommendations