Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 1178–1192 | Cite as

The Response of Macrobenthic Communities to Environmental Variability in Tropical Coastal Waters

  • Seyedeh Belin Tavakoly SanyEmail author
  • Mohammad Tajfard
  • Rosli Hashim
  • Majid Rezayi
  • Mohammad Azizur Rahman
  • David J. Karlen


The relative contributions of spatial and temporal fluctuations are different in shaping natural communities in a tropical coastal/estuarine system. Understanding how coastal communities respond to these fluctuations is still equivocal, and thus, available data are rare. Here, multiple analytical approaches were used to identify key spatial and temporal factors, and to quantify their relative roles in shaping a macrobenthic community through space (contamination degree, physical parameters, and sediment characteristics) and time (climatic factors, season, and year). A dataset of eight sampling times was analyzed over a period of 2 years, in which macrobenthic species abundances were sampled. A total of 33 species were identified, including 18 bivalves, 5 gastropods, and 4 crustaceans. The other taxa were less diverse. The results show that there were no significant temporal changes of macrobenthic community structure, but spatial changes were significant and synchronized with environmental factors (i.e., sediment characteristics, water depth, and the distance from anthropogenic sources). This study demonstrates that spatial factors played a primary role in structuring of macrobenthic assemblages, whereas the influence of temporal factors appeared less across geographically distinct sites. Thus, temporal variation of a coastal macrobenthic community appears to be controlled by partly different processes at different scales.


Macrobenthic community Spatiotemporal factors Environmental variables Tropical coastal water Malaysia 



The authors’ gratitude goes to the support of the University Malaya High Impact Research (HIR) grant with project number UM.C/625/1/HIR/270.

Supplementary material

12237_2017_346_MOESM1_ESM.doc (514 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 514 kb)


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seyedeh Belin Tavakoly Sany
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mohammad Tajfard
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rosli Hashim
    • 3
  • Majid Rezayi
    • 4
  • Mohammad Azizur Rahman
    • 5
  • David J. Karlen
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, Faculty of HealthMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  2. 2.Social Determinants of Health Research CenterMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  3. 3.Institute of Biological Sciences University of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  4. 4.Department of Modern Sciences and Technologies, School of MedicineMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  5. 5.School of the EnvironmentUniversity of Technology SydneyBroadwayAustralia
  6. 6.Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough CountyTampaUSA

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