Shoreline Armoring in an Estuary Constrains Wrack-Associated Invertebrate Communities

Abstract

Beach wrack is an organic subsidy that supports high intertidal and supralittoral invertebrate communities in many coastal systems. Beaches fringed with riparian vegetation accumulate wrack from both terrestrial leaf litter and marine algae/seagrasses, forming a reciprocal connection. Previous research has shown that shoreline armoring disrupts this marine-terrestrial connection and alters the amount and composition of beach wrack. We sampled invertebrates associated with beach wrack at 29 paired armored and unarmored beaches in Puget Sound, WA and conducted wrack decomposition experiments. Armored beaches had significantly fewer invertebrates as well as different assemblages. Unarmored assemblages were characterized by talitrid amphipods and dipteran and coleopteran insects (flies and beetles), and were correlated with the amount of beach wrack and logs, the proportion of terrestrial material in the wrack, and the maximum elevation of the beach. Experiments showed that talitrid amphipods and oligochaete worms were positively correlated with wrack decomposition rates. The substantial reduction in high-shore invertebrates at armored beaches represents a decrease in subsidies to secondary consumers in both adjacent terrestrial and nearshore ecosystems. These armoring effects may thus cascade, via altered food webs, to organisms in other environments. Our sampling of multiple armored-unarmored beach pairs allowed us to control for variability of many environmental parameters, improving our ability to identify armoring-related differences, and greatly expanding the scale of inference of previous studies showing the negative effects of armoring on beach fauna.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. Anderson, M.J., R.N. Gorley, and K.R. Clarke. 2008. PERMANOVA+ for PRIMER: Guide to Software and Statistical Methods. Plymouth, UK: PRIMER-E.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barrett, K., W.B. Anderson, D.A. Wait, L.L. Grismer, G.A. Polis, and M.D. Rose. 2005. Marine subsidies alter the diet and abundance of insular and coastal lizard populations. Oikos 109: 145–153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Baxter, C.V., K.D. Fausch, and W.C. Saunders. 2005. Tangled webs: reciprocal flows of invertebrate prey link streams and riparian zones. Freshwater Biology 50: 201–220.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bernatchez, P., and C. Fraser. 2012. Evolution of coastal defence structures and consequences for beach width trends, Quebec, Canada. Journal of Coastal Research 28: 1550–1566.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bishop, M.J., and B.P. Kelaher. 2008. Non-additive, identity-dependent effects of detrital species mixing on soft-sediment communities. Oikos 117: 531–542.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bulleri, F., and M.G. Chapman. 2010. The introduction of coastal infrastructure as a driver of change in marine environments. Journal of Applied Ecology 47: 26–35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bustamante, R.H., and G.M. Branch. 1996. The dependence of intertidal consumers on kelp-derived organic matter on the west coast of South Africa. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 196: 1–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Chapman, M.G., and F. Bulleri. 2003. Intertidal seawalls—new features of landscape in intertidal environments. Landscape and Urban Planning 62: 159–172.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Clarke, K.R., and R.N. Gorley. 2006. PRIMER v6: User Manual/Tutorial. Plymouth: PRIMER-E.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Colombini, I., A. Aloia, M. Fallaci, G. Pezzoli, and L. Chelazzi. 2000. Temporal and spatial use of stranded wrack by the macrofauna of a tropical sandy beach. Marine Biology 136: 531–541.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Colombini, I., and L. Chelazzi. 2003. Influence of marine allochthonous input on sandy beach communities. Oceanography and Marine Biology: an Annual Review 41: 115–159.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Colombini, I., M.A. Mateo, O. Serrano, M. Fallaci, E. Gagnarli, L. Serrano, and L. Chelazzi. 2009. On the role of Posidonia oceanica beach wrack for macroinvertebrates of a Tyrrhenian sandy shore. Acta Oecologica 35: 32–44.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Costall, J.A., and R.G. Death. 2009. Population structure and habitat use by the spider Latrodectus katipo along the Manawatu-Wanganui coastline. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 36: 407–415.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Coyle, J.M., and M.N. Dethier. 2010. Review of shoreline armoring literature, in Shipman, H., Dethier, M.N., Gelfenbaum, G., Fresh, K.L., and Dinicola, R.S., eds., 2010, Puget Sound Shorelines and the Impacts of Armoring – Proceedings of a State of the Science Workshop, May 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5254, pp 245 – 265.

  15. Defeo, O., A. McLachlan, D.S. Schoeman, T.A. Schlacher, J. Dugan, A. Jones, M. Lastra, and F. Scapini. 2009. Threats to sandy beach ecosystems: a review. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 81: 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Dugan, J.E., D.M. Hubbard, M.D. McCrary, and M.O. Pierson. 2003. The response of macrofauna communities and shorebirds to macrophyte wrack subsidies on exposed sandy beaches of southern California. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 58: 25–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Dugan, J.E., D.M. Hubbard, I.F. Rodil, D.L. Revell, and S. Schroeter. 2008. Ecological effects of coastal armoring on sandy beaches. Marine Ecology-An Evolutionary Perspective 29: 160–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Dye, A.H. 2006. Inhibition of the decomposition of Zostera capricornii litter by macrobenthos and meiobenthos in a brackish coastal lake system. Estuaries and Coasts 29: 802–809.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Fox, C.H., R. El-Sabaawi, P.C. Paquet, and T.E. Reimchen. 2014. Pacific herring Clupea pallasii and wrack macrophytes subsidize semi-terrestrial detritivores. Marine Ecology Progress Series 495: 49–64.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Gómez, M., F. Barreiro, J. López, M. Lastra, and R. de la Huz. 2013. Deposition patterns of algal wrack species on estuarine beaches. Aquatic Botany 105: 25–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Gonçalves, S.C., and J.C. Marques. 2011. The effects of season and wrack subsidy on the community functioning of exposed sandy beaches. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 95: 165–177.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Griffiths, C.L., and J. Stenton-Dozey. 1981. The fauna and rate of degradation of stranded kelp. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 12: 645–653.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Harris, C., D.L. Strayer, and S. Findlay. 2014. The ecology of freshwater wrack along natural and engineered Hudson River shorelines. Hydrobiologia 722: 233–245.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Heerhartz, S.M. 2013. Shoreline armoring disrupts marine-terrestrial connectivity across the nearshore ecotone. Doctoral dissertation, University of Washington, Seattle.

  25. Heerhartz, S.M., M.N. Dethier, J.D. Toft, J.R. Cordell, and A.S. Ogston. 2014. Effects of shoreline armoring on beach wrack subsidies to the nearshore ecotone in an estuarine fjord. Estuaries and Coasts 37: 1256–1268. doi:10.1007/s12237-013-9754-5.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Heerhartz, S.M., and J.D. Toft. 2015. Movement patterns and feeding behavior of juvenile salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) along armored and unarmored estuarine shorelines. Environmental Biology of Fishes. doi:10.1007/s10641-015-0377-5.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Hubbard, D.M., J.E. Dugan, N.K. Schooler, and S.M. Viola. 2013. Local extirpations and regional declines of endemic upper beach invertebrates in southern California. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2013.06.017.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Ince, R., G.A. Hyndes, P.S. Lavery, and M.A. Vanderklift. 2007. Marine macrophytes directly enhance abundances of sandy beach fauna through provision of food and habitat. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 74: 77–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Lastra, M., I.F. Rodil, A. Sanchez-Mata, M. Garcia-Gallego, and J. Mora. 2014. Fate and processing of macroalgal wrack subsidies in beaches of Deception Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Journal of Sea Research 88: 1–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Lavery, P.S., K. McMahon, J. Weyers, M.C. Boyce, and C.E. Oldham. 2013. Release of dissolved organic carbon from seagrass wrack and its implications for trophic connectivity. Marine Ecology Progress Series 494: 121–133.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Lewis, T.L., M. Mews, D.E. Jelinski, and M. Zimmer. 2007. Detrital subsidy to the supratidal zone provides feeding habitat for intertidal crabs. Estuaries and Coasts 30: 451–458.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. MacMillan, M.R., and P.A. Quijón. 2012. Wrack patches and their influence on upper-shore macrofaunal abundance in an Atlantic Canada sandy beach system. Journal of Sea Research 72: 28–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Mews, M., M. Zimmer, and D.E. Jelinski. 2006. Species-specific decomposition rates of beach-cast wrack in Barkley Sound, British Columbia, Canada. Marine Ecology Progress Series 328: 155–160.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Mellbrand, K., P.S. Lavery, G. Hyndes, and P.A. Hamback. 2011. Linking land and sea: different pathways for marine subsidies. Ecosystems 14: 732–744.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Murie, L.J. 1959. Fauna of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula. North American Fauna 61: 1–364.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Nakano, S., and M. Murakami. 2001. Reciprocal subsidies: dynamic interdependence between terrestrial and aquatic food webs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 98: 166–170.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Ochieng, C.A., and P.L.A. Erftemeijer. 1999. Accumulation of seagrass beach cast along the Kenyan coast: a quantitative assessment. Aquatic Botany 65: 221–238.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Olabarria, C., M. Incera, J. Garrido, and F. Rossi. 2010. The effect of wrack composition and diversity on macrofaunal assemblages in intertidal marine sediments. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 396: 18–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Orr, M., M. Zimmer, D.E. Jelinski, and M. Mews. 2005. Wrack deposition on different beach types: spatial and temporal variation in the pattern of subsidy. Ecology 86: 1496–1507.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Pelletier, A.J.D., D.E. Jelinski, M. Treplin, and M. Zimmer. 2011. Colonisation of beach-cast macrophyte wrack patches by Talitrid amphipods: a primer. Estuaries and Coasts 34: 863–871.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Pennings, S.C., T.H. Carefoot, M. Zimmer, J.P. Danko, and A. Ziegler. 2000. Feeding preferences of supralittoral isopods and amphipods. Canadian Journal of Zoology 78: 1918–1929.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Polis, G.A., and S.D. Hurd. 1996. Linking marine and terrestrial food webs: allochthonous input from the ocean supports high secondary productivity on small islands and coastal land communities. American Naturalist 147: 396–423.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Rice, C.A. 2006. Effects of shoreline modification on a northern Puget Sound beach: microclimate and embryo mortality in surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus). Estuaries and Coasts 29: 63–71.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Romanuk, T.N., and C.D. Levings. 2003. Associations between arthropods and the supralittoral ecotone: dependence of aquatic and terrestrial taxa on riparian vegetation. Environmental Entomology 32: 1343–1353.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Romanuk, T.N., and C.D. Levings. 2010. Reciprocal subsidies and food web pathways leading to Chum salmon fry in a temperate marine-terrestrial ecotone. Plos One 5: e10073.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Ruggiero, P. 2010. Impacts of shoreline armoring on sediment dynamics in Shipman, H., M.N. Dethier, G. Gelfenbaum, K.L. Fresh, and R.S. Dinicola, eds. 2010. Puget Sound Shorelines and the Impacts of Armoring – Proceedings of a State of the Science Workshop, May 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5254, pp 179–186.

  47. Ruiz-Delgado, M.C., J.V. Viera, V.G. Veloso, M.J. Reyes-Martinez, I.A. Sallorenzo, C.A. Borzone, J.E. Sanchez-Moyano, and F.J. Garcia Garcia. 2014. The role of wrack deposits for supralittoral arthropods: an example using Atlantic sandy beaches of Brazil and Spain. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 136: 61–71.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Shipman, H. 2010. The geomorphic setting of Puget Sound: implications for shoreline erosion and the impacts of erosion control structures, in Shipman, H., M.N. Dethier, G. Gelfenbaum, K.L. Fresh, and R.S. Dinicola, eds. 2010. Puget Sound Shorelines and the Impacts of Armoring – Proceedings of a State of the Science Workshop, May 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5254, pp 19–34.

  49. Sobocinski, K.L., J.R. Cordell, and C.A. Simenstad. 2010. Effects of shoreline modifications on supratidal macroinvertebrate fauna on Puget Sound, Washington beaches. Estuaries and Coasts 33: 699–711.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Stapp, P., and G.A. Polis. 2003. Marine resources subsidize insular rodent populations in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Oecologia 134: 496–504.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Toft, J.D., J.R. Cordell, C.A. Simenstad, and L.A. Stamatiou. 2007. Fish distribution, abundance, and behavior along city shoreline types in Puget Sound. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27: 465–480.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Toft, J.D., A.S. Ogston, S.M. Heerhartz, J.R. Cordell, and E.E. Flemer. 2013. Ecological response and physical stability of habitat enhancements along an urban armored shoreline. Ecological Engineering 57: 97–108.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Toft, J.D., J.R. Cordell, and E.A. Armbrust. 2014. Shoreline armoring impacts and beach restoration effectiveness vary with elevation. Northwest Science 88: 367–375.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Walker, S.J., T.A. Schlacher, and L.M.C. Thompson. 2008. Habitat modification in a dynamic environment: the influence of a small artificial groyne on macrofaunal assemblages of a sandy beach. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 79: 24–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Wright, A.N., J. Piovia-Scott, D.A. Spiller, G. Takimoto, L.H. Yang, and T.W. Schoener. 2013. Pulses of marine subsidies amplify reproductive potential of lizards by increasing individual growth rate. Oikos 122: 1496–1504.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research project required many hours of field and laboratory work and would not have been possible without the assistance of Helen Berry, Jeff Gaeckle, Erin Morgan, Katie Dowell, Claire Levy, the UW Wetland Ecosystem Team, and the UW Sediment Dynamics Group. We thank the property owners who allowed us access to their properties on the shores of Puget Sound. This work was part of the doctoral dissertation of the corresponding author, who would like to thank Charles Simenstad for providing academic and scientific mentorship. This research was funded in part by a grant from the Washington Sea Grant Program, University of Washington, pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. R/ES-57. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-agencies. Additional support came from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Matching funds were generously provided by the Washington Dept. of Natural Resources.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarah M. Heerhartz.

Additional information

Communicated by Alf Norkko

Appendix

Appendix

Table 4 List of all taxa identified in the wrack and their habitat categories

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Heerhartz, S.M., Toft, J.D., Cordell, J.R. et al. Shoreline Armoring in an Estuary Constrains Wrack-Associated Invertebrate Communities. Estuaries and Coasts 39, 171–188 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-015-9983-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Beach wrack
  • Estuary
  • Invertebrate
  • Talitrid
  • Decomposition
  • Shoreline armoring
  • Ecotone
  • Spatial subsidy