Marine Biology

, Volume 143, Issue 6, pp 1229–1238 | Cite as

Short- and long-term effects of eutrophication on the secondary production of an intertidal macrobenthic community

  • M. DolbethEmail author
  • M. A. Pardal
  • A. I. Lillebø
  • U. Azeiteiro
  • J. C. Marques


Secondary production of a macrobenthic community at an intertidal mudflat was estimated for 33 successive months. Sampling was carried out along a eutrophication gradient, including non-eutrophied Zostera meadows, an intermediate muddy area, and a strongly eutrophied sand-muddy flat, where macroalgal blooms of Enteromorpha spp. usually occur. The Zostera meadows were always the most productive habitat (145–225 g ash-free dry weight m−2 year−1). In the short term, the macroalgal bloom benefited the total estuarine production by enhancing the annual production in the eutrophied area. Nevertheless, our results show that this increase was short lived and in no way sufficient to match the production in the Zostera meadows. In the long term, the present study provides evidence that the disappearance of macrophyte beds, as a result of ongoing eutrophication, constitutes a major threat to the sustainability of the estuarine ecosystem.


Macrophyte Macroalgae Secondary Production Macrobenthic Community Intermediate Area 
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

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Dolbeth
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. A. Pardal
    • 1
  • A. I. Lillebø
    • 1
  • U. Azeiteiro
    • 1
  • J. C. Marques
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Marine Research (IMAR), Department of ZoologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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