Skip to main content
Log in

Distribution and abundance of macrobenthic polychaetes along the South Indian coast

  • Published:
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Macrobenthic polychaetes play a significant role in marine benthic food chain. A study was carried out to observe the abundance and diversity of soft bottom macrobenthic polychaetes along the South Indian coast, along with observations on sediment characteristics. The present study indicated an increase in the polychaete diversity as compared to earlier reports. Sixty-three different forms of polychaetes were identified along the coast, which constitute the bulk of the macrobenthic fauna. Thirty-eight species of polychaetes showed higher abundance along the west coast, whereas 25 species showed higher abundance along the east coast. Seabed composition showed a spatial variation in its composition along the coast. Occurrence of Prionospio pinnata and Capitella capitata the deposit feeders and indicators of organic pollution suggesting the sampled area is organically rich. Polychaete abundance was found to be higher along the west coast and was attributed to loose texture of sediment due to high sand and sandy-silt resulting in higher interstitial space for organisms to harbor. Canonical correspondence analysis indicated that majority of polychaete species preferred low organic carbon, sandy silt, or sandy-clay substratum. The lower polychaete abundance at high organic carbon and high silt and clay areas can be attributed to avoidance of organisms to rich organic matter and suboxic levels, being a possible indication that these characteristics adversely affects the polychaete abundance and distribution.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Ansari, Z. A. (1977). Macrobenthos of the Cochin backwater. Mahasagar-Bulletin of the National Institute of Oceanography, 10(3 & 4), 169–171.

    Google Scholar 

  • Buchanan, J. B. (1984). Sediment analysis. In N. A. Holme & A. D. McIntyre (Eds.), Methods for the study of marine benthos (p. 41e645). Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clarke, K. R., & Gorley, R. N. (2001). PRIMER v5: User manual/Tutorial (p. 91). Plymouth: PRIMER-E Ltd.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crisp, D. J. (1971). Energy flow measurements. In N. A. Holme & A. D. Mcintyre (Eds.), Methods for the study of marine benthos. IBP Handbook 16 (pp. 197–279). Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Day, J. H. (1967). A monograph on the polychaete of Southern Africa Part-I and II, trustees of The British museum (Natural history). London.

  • Duineveld, G. C. A., Kunitzer, A., Niermann, U., Dewilde, P. A. W. J., & Gray, J. S. (1991). The macrobenthos of the North Sea. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research, 28(1/2), 53–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eagle, R. A., & Rees, E. I. S. (1973). Indicator species—A case for caution. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 4, 25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elias, R., Palacios, J. R., Rivero, M. S., & Vallarino, E. A. (2005). Short term responses to sewage discharge and storms of subtidal sand-bottom macrozoobenthic assemblages off Mar del Plata City, Argentina (SW Atlantic). Journal of Sea Research, 53, 231–242.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fauchald, K., & Jumars, P. A. (1979). The diet of worms: A study of polychaete feeding guilds. Oceanography and Marine Biology Annual Review, 17, 193–284.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gaudencio, M. J., & Cabral, H. N. (2007). Trophic structure of macrobenthos in the Tagus estuary and adjacent coastal shelf. Hydrobiologia, 587, 241–251.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Godfriaux, B. L. (1970). Food of predatory demersal fish in Hauraki Gulf. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 4(3), 248–266.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goes, J. I., Gomes, H., Kumar, A., Gouveia, A. D., Devassy, V. P., Parulekar, A. H., et al. (1992). Satellite and ship studies of phytoplankton along the west coast of India. In B. N. Desai, (Ed.), Oceanography of the Indian Ocean (pp. 67–80). New Delhi: Oxford & IBH.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gosner, K. L. (1971). Guide to identification of marine and estuarine invertebrates XIX: 693.

  • Grassle, J. F., & Grassle, J. P. (1974). Opportunistic life histories and genetic systems in marine benthic polychaetes. Journal of Marine Research, 32, 253–284.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grassle, J. F., & Grassle, J. P. (1976). Sibling species in the marine pollution indicator Capitella (Polychaeta). Science, 192, 567–569.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gray, J. S. (1981). The ecology of marine sediments. An introduction to the structure and function of benthic communities. In: Cambridge studies in modern biology (p. 185). Cambridge University Press.

  • Halcrow, W. D., Mackay, D. W., & Thorson, J. (1973). The distribution of trace metals and fauna in the firth of cycle in relation to the disposal of sewage sludge. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 53(3), 721–739.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Harkantra, S. N. (1982). Studies on sublittoral macrobenthic fauna of the inner Swansea bay. Indian Journal of marine Sciences, 11, 75–78.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harkantra, S. N. (1998). Benthos and demersal fishery resources assessment in the shelf region of Indian coast. Exploration and exploitation for sustainable development and conservation of fish stocks. In V. S. Somvanshi. (Ed.), International symposium on large marine ecosystems, Kochi, India (pp. 54–58). Fishery Survey of India.

  • Harkantra, S. N., & Parulekar, A. H. (1985). Community structure of sand-dwelling macrofauna of an estuarine beach in Goa, India. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 30, 291–294.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harkantra, S. N., Nair, A., Ansari, Z. A., & Parulekar, A. H. (1980). Benthos of the shelf region along the west coast of India. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, 9, 106–110.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harkantra, S. N., Rodrigues, C. L., & Parulekar, A. H. (1982). Macrobenthos of the shelf off northeastern Bay of Bengal. Indian Journal of marine Sciences, 11, 115–121.

    Google Scholar 

  • Herman, P. M. J., Middelburg, J. J., Widdows, J., Lucas, C. H., & Heip, C. H. R. (2000). Stable isotopes as trophic tracers: Combining field sampling and manipulative labeling of food resources for macrobenthos. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 204, 79–92.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hyland, J., Balthis, L., Karakassis, I., Magni, P., Petrov, A., Shine, J., et al. (2005). Organic carbon content of sediments as an indicator of stress in the marine benthos. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 295, 91–103.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Ingole, B. S., Ansari, Z. A., & Parulekar, A. H. (1998). Spatial variation in meiofaunal abundance of some coralline beaches of Mauritius. Tropical Ecology, 39(1), 103–108.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ingole, B. S., Rodrigues, N., & Ansari, Z. A. (2002). Macrobenthic communities of the coastal waters of Dabhol, west coast of India. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, 31(2), 93–99.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jayaraj, K. A., Jayalakshmi, K. V., & Saraladevi, K. (2007). Influence of environmental properties on macrobenthos in the northwest Indian shelf. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 127, 459–475.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Jayaraj, K. A., Jocob, J., & Dineshkumar, P. K. (2008). Infaunal macrobenthic community of soft bottom sediment in a tropical shelf. Journal of coastal research, 24(3), 708-718.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jørgensen, B. B. (1977). The sulfur cycle of a coastal marine sediment (Limfjorden, Denmark). Limnology and Oceanography, 22, 814–832.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kari, E. (2002). Soft sediment benthic biodiversity on the continental shelf in relation to environmental variability. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 232, 15–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kovach, W. (1998). Multi-variate statistical package. Ver. 3.01, Pentraeth.

  • Kurian, C. V. (1971). Distribution of benthos on the South-west coast of India. In J. D. Costlow Jr. (Ed.), Fertility of the sea (Vol. I, pp. 225–239). New York: Gordon and Breach Scientific Publication.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lu, L. (2005). The relationship between soft bottom macrobenthic communities and environmental variables in Singaporean waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 51, 1034–1040.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Magurran, A. E. (1988). Ecological diversity and its measurement. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meksumpun, C., & Meksumpun, S. (1999). Polychaete–sediment relations in Rayong, Thailand. Environmental Pollution, 105, 447–456.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Moiseev, P. A. (1971). The living resources of the world oceans (p. 34). Jerusalem: Israel Prgramme for Scientific Translation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Palacin, C., Martin, D., & Gili, J. M. (1991). Features of spatial distribution of benthic infauna in a Mediterranean shallow water Bay. Marine Biology, 110, 315–321.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parulekar, A. H., Harkantra, S. N., & Ansari, Z. A. (1982). Benthic production and the assessment of demersal fishery resources of the Indian sea. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, 11, 107–114.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parulekar, A. H., & Wagh, A. B. (1975). Quantitative studies on benthic macrofauna of north-eastern Arabian Sea shelf. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, 4, 174–176.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pearson, T. H. (1980). Marine pollution effects of pulp and paper industry wastes. Helgolander wiss Meersunters, 33, 340–365.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pettibone, M. H. (1963). Marine polychaetes worms of the New England region I. Aphroditidae through Trochochaetidae. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 227(Pt. I), 1–356.

    Google Scholar 

  • Remani, K. N., Devi, K. S., Venugopal, P., & Unnithan, R. V. (1983). Indicator organisms of pollution in Cochin backwaters. Mahasagar, 16(2), 199–207.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Revsbech, N. P., & Jørgensen, B. B. (1986). Microelectrodes: Their use in microbial ecology. Advances in Microbial Ecology, 9, 293–352.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sanders, H. L. (1958). Benthic studies in Buzzards Bay. Animal–sediment relationships. Limnology and Oceanography, 3, 245–258.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sanders, H. L. (1968). Marine benthic diversity: A comparative study. American Naturalist, 102(925), 243–282.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Saraladevi, K., Sheeba, P., Balasubramanian T., Venugopal, P., & Sankaranarayanan V. N. (1999). Benthic fauna of southwest and southeast coasts of India. In The fourth Indian fisheries forum proceedings, 24–28 November, Kochi (p. 9–12).

  • Shou, L., Huang, Y., Zeng, J., Gao, A., Liao, Y., & Chen, Q. (2009). Seasonal changes of macrobenthos distribution and diversity in Zhoushan sea area. Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management, 12(1), 110–115.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Snelgrove, P. V. R. (1998). The biodiversity of macro-faunal organisms in marine sediments. Biodiversity and Conservation, 7, 1123–1132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Snelgrove, P. V. R., & Butman, C. A. (1994). Animal–sediment relationships revisited: Cause versus effect. Oceanography and Marine Biology Annual Review, 32, 111–177.

    Google Scholar 

  • ter Braak, C. J. F. (1995). Ordination. In R. H. G. Jongman, C. J. F. ter Braak, & O. F. R. Van Tongeren (Eds.), Data analysis in community and landscape ecology (pp. 91–173). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Vizakat, L., Harkantra, S. N., & Parulekar, A. H. (1991). Population ecology and community structure of subtidal soft sediment dwelling macro-invertebrates of Konkan, west coast of India. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, 20(1), 40–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wakeel, S. K., & Riley, J. P. (1956). Determination of organic carbon in marine muds. Journal of Du. Conseil International Exploration, 22, 180–183.

    Google Scholar 

  • Warwick, R. M., & Ruswahyuni (1987) Comparative study of the structure of some tropical and temperate marine soft bottom macrobenthic communities. Marine Biology, 95, 641–649.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dattesh V. Desai.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Musale, A.S., Desai, D.V. Distribution and abundance of macrobenthic polychaetes along the South Indian coast. Environ Monit Assess 178, 423–436 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-010-1701-3

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-010-1701-3

Keywords

Navigation