, Volume 468, Issue 1–3, pp 193–211 | Cite as

Macrobenthos of a tidal impoundment at the Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve, Hong Kong



The composition and spatial distribution patterns of the macrobenthic faunal assemblages of an 8-ha tidal impoundment operated as a traditional shrimp pond at the Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve, Hong Kong, were studied in relation to temporal changes in local environmental conditions. Species richness, abundance and biomass of macrobenthos across 5 different sub-habitats (seaward, middle, and landward parts of open water unvegetated areas, and Phragmites- and Kandelia-dominated, vegetated areas) within the pond were examined bimonthly between January 1997 and January 1998. Grab samples were collected randomly within the sub-habitats. Key physical environmental parameters of the sampling sites were also measured. A total of 46 species of macrobenthos was recorded: 11 polychaetes, 11 molluscs, 13 crustaceans and 11 insects. Mean species density in the five sub-habitats ranged from 0 to 3907 indċm−2, with mean biomass ranging from 0 to 96.9 gċm−2. The macrobenthos showed spatial and temporal differences among the sub-habitats and across sampling times. Species abundances of Polychaeta, Mollusca and Crustacea were significantly higher in the three open water areas than in the two vegetated (Phragmites- and Kandelia-dominated) areas, with an inverse pattern for Insecta. There were no clear temporal patterns although abundance and biomass generally increased in the cooler months. Results of a canonical correspondence analysis suggest that macrobenthic species richness, abundance and biomass in the open areas were positively correlated with salinity, while water depth, dissolved oxygen and sediment organic matter content had little relationship with the macrobenthic assemblage parameters. Ordination by multi-dimensional scaling suggests that different habitats supported distinct macrobenthic assemblages. The macrobenthic assemblage in the tidal pond was less species rich but denser than those in the neighboring tidal mangrove and mudflat, suggesting that conversion of these areas into extensively managed tidal aquaculture ponds results in reduced species richness in tropical mangrove habitats.

macrobenthos tidal shrimp pond mangrove Kandelia reed Phragmites Hong Kong salinity 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alongi, D. M. & A. Sasekumar, 1992. Benthic communities. In Robertson A. I. & D. M. Alongi (eds), Tropical Mangrove Ecosystems. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC: 137–171.Google Scholar
  2. Barcikowski, R. & J. P. Stevens, 1975. A Monte Carlo study of the stability of canonical correlations, canonical weights, and canonical variate-variable correlations. Multivar. Behav. Res. 10: 353–364.Google Scholar
  3. Bechara, J. A., 1996. The relative importance of water quality, sediment composition and floating vegetation in explaining the macrobenthic community structure of floodplain lakes (Paran River, Argentina). Hydrobiologia 333: 95–109.Google Scholar
  4. Breber, P. & R. Strada, 1995. The abundance in an extensive brackishwater fish farm (valle da pesca') of the animal macrobenthon that feeds the seabream (Sparus aurata). Rivista Italiana Acquacoltura 30: 181–186.Google Scholar
  5. Cattrijsse, A., J. Mees & O. Hamerlynck, 1993. The hyperbenthic Amphipoda and Isopoda of the Voordelta and the Westerschelde estuary. Cah. Biol. Mar. 34: 187–200.Google Scholar
  6. Covi, M. P. & R. T. Kneib, 1995. Intertidal distribution, population dynamics and production of the amphipod Uhlorchestia spartinophila in a Georgia, U.S.A. salt marsh. Mar. Biol. 121: 447–455.Google Scholar
  7. Daiber, F. C., 1977. Salt-marsh animals: distributions related to tidal flooding, salinity and vegetation. In Chapman, V. J. (ed.), Wet Coastal Ecosystems. Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam: 79–108.Google Scholar
  8. Dauer, D. M., A. J. Rodi, Jr. & J. A. Ranasinghe, 1992. Effects of low dissolved oxygen events on the macrobenthos of the lower Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries 15: 384–391.Google Scholar
  9. Dudgeon, D., 1987. The development of benthic macroinvertebrate communities in Plover Cove Reservoir, Hong Kong, with special reference to the significance of the marginal zone. Arch. Hydrobiol. Beih. 28: 497–502.Google Scholar
  10. Flint, R. W. & R. D. Kalke, 1985. Benthos structure and function in a south Texas estuary. Contrib. Mar. Sci. 28: 33–53.Google Scholar
  11. Frith, D. W., R. Tantanasiriwong & O. Bhatia, 1976. Zonation of macrofauna on a mangrove shore, Phuket Island. Phuket Mar. Biol. Cent. Res. Bull. 10: 1–37Google Scholar
  12. Golladay, S. W., B. W. Taylor & B. J. Palik, 1997. Invertebrate communities of forested limesink wetlands in southwest Georgia, U.S.A.: habitat use and influence of extended inundation. Wetlands 17: 383–393.Google Scholar
  13. Harrington, R. W., Jr. & E. S. Harrington, 1961. Food selection among fishes invading a high subtropical salt marsh: from onset of flooding through the progress of a mosquito brood. Ecology 42: 646–666.Google Scholar
  14. Harrington, R. W., Jr. & E. S. Harrington, 1982. Effects on fishes and their forage organisms of impounding a Florida salt marsh to prevent breeding by salt marsh mosquitoes. Bull. mar. Sci. 32: 523–531.Google Scholar
  15. Herke, W. H., E. E. Knudsen, P. A. Knudsen & B. D. Rogers, 1992. Effects of semi-impoundment of Louisiana marsh on fish and crustacean nursery use and export. N. am. J. Fisheries Manage. 12: 151–160.Google Scholar
  16. Hoese, H. D. & M. Konikoff, 1995. Effects of marsh management on fisheries organisms: the compensatory adjustment hypothesis. Estuaries 18: 180–197.Google Scholar
  17. Jensen, J. W., T. Nøst & Ø. Stokland, 1985. The invertebrate fauna of a small fjord subject to wide ranges of salinity and oxygen content. Sarsia 70: 33–43.Google Scholar
  18. Jones, A. R., C. J. Watson-Russell & A. Murray, 1986. Spatial patterns in the macrobenthic communities of the Hawkesbury Estuary, New South Wales. Aust. J. mar. Freshw. Res. 37: 521–543.Google Scholar
  19. Kihara, K., 1983. Influences of the marine environment upon the formations of the benthic species community in the eastern Bering Sea. Bull. Jap. Soc. Sci. Fish. 49: 49–54.Google Scholar
  20. Kneib, R. T., 1984. Patterns of invertebrate distribution and abundance in the intertidal salt marsh: causes and questions. Estuaries 7: 392–412.Google Scholar
  21. Kneib, R. T., 1992. Population dynamics of the tanaid Hargeria rapax (Crustacea: Peracarida) in a tidal marsh. Mar. Biol. 113: 437–445.Google Scholar
  22. Kneib, R. T., 1997. Early life stages of resident nekton in intertidal marshes. Estuaries 21: 214–230.Google Scholar
  23. Krebs, C. J., 1989. Ecological Methodology. Harper and Row, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Kurashov, E. A., I. V. Telesh, V. E. Panov, N. V. Usenko & M. A. Rychkova, 1996. Invertebrate communities associated with macrophytes in Lake Ladoga: effects of environmental factors. Hydrobiologia 322: 49–55.Google Scholar
  25. Lana, P. C. & C. Guiss, 1991. Influence of Spartina alterniflora on structure and temporal variability of macrobenthic associations in a tidal flat of Paranagu Bay (southeastern Brazil). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 73: 231–244.Google Scholar
  26. Lee, S. Y., 1992. The management of traditional tidal ponds for aquaculture and wildlife conservation in southeast Asia: problems and prospects. Biol. Cons. 63: 113–118.Google Scholar
  27. Lee, S. Y., C. W. Fong & R. S. S. Wu, 2001. The effects of seagrass (Zostera japonica) canopy structure on associated fauna: a study using artificial seagrass units and sampling of natural beds. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 259: 23–50.Google Scholar
  28. Leslie, A. J., T. L. Crisman, J. P. Prenger & K. C. Ewel, 1997. Benthic macroinvertebrates of small Florida pondcypress swamps and the influence of dry periods. Wetlands 17: 447–455.Google Scholar
  29. Levin, L. A., T. S. Talley & J. Hewitt, 1998. Macrobenthos of Spartina foliosa (Pacific cordgrass) salt marshes in southern California: community structure and comparison to a Pacific mudflat and a Spartina alterniflora (Atlantic smooth cordgrass) marsh. Estuaries 21: 129–144.Google Scholar
  30. Lin, J. & J. L. Beal, 1995. Effects of mangrove marsh management on fish and decapod communities. Bull. mar. Sci. 57: 193–201.Google Scholar
  31. Lindman, H. R., 1991. Analysis of Variance in Experimental Design. Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  32. Long, B. G. & I. R. Poiner, 1994. Infaunal benthic community structure and function in the Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Australia. Aust. J. mar. Freshw. Res. 45: 293–316.Google Scholar
  33. Luckenbach, M.W., R. J. Diaz, E. C. Zobrist & C. H. Hutton, 1990. Evaluation of the benthic resource value of impounded and nonimpounded tidal creeks in Virginia, U.S.A. Ocean & Shoreline Manage. 14: 35–50.Google Scholar
  34. Matricardi, G., G. Relini & G. Diviacco, 1980. Macrofouling of a lagoon in the Po River Delta. Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Marine Corrosion and Fouling: Marine Biology: 45–60.Google Scholar
  35. McChesney, S., 1997. The benthic invertebrate community of the intertidal mudflat at the Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve, with special reference to resources for migrant shorebirds. M.Phil. Thesis, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.Google Scholar
  36. Möller, P., L. Pihl & R. Rosenberg, 1985. Benthic faunal energy flow and biological interaction in some shallow marine soft bottom habitats. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 27: 109–121.Google Scholar
  37. Neckles, H. A., H. R. Murkin & J. A. Cooper, 1990. Influence of seasonal flooding on macroinvertebrate abundance in wetland habitats. Freshw. Biol. 23: 311–322.Google Scholar
  38. Odum, W. E. & E. J. Heald, 1972. Trophic analyses of an estuarine mangrove community. Bull. mar. Sci. 22: 671–738.Google Scholar
  39. Olafsson, E. B. & L. E. Persson, 1986. Distribution, life cycle and demography in a brackish water population of the isopod Cyathura carinata (Kröer) (Crustacea). Estuar. coast. shelf Sci. 23: 673–687.Google Scholar
  40. Orth, R. J., K. L. Heck, Jr. & J. van Montfrans, 1984. Faunal communities in seagrass beds: a review of the influence of plant structure and prey characteristics on predator‐prey relationships. Estuaries 7: 339–350.Google Scholar
  41. Pielou, E. C., 1966. The use of information theory in the study of ecological succession. J. Theor. Biol. 10: 370–383.Google Scholar
  42. Probert P. K. & P. W. Anderson, 1986. Quantitative distribution of benthic macrofauna off New Zealand, with particular reference to the west coast of the South Island. N.Z. J. mar. Freshw. Res. 20: 281–290.Google Scholar
  43. Reise, K., 1991. Macrofauna in mud and sand of tropical and temperate tidal flats. In Elliott, M. & J. P. Ducrotoy (eds), Estuaries and Coasts: Spatial and Temporal Comparisons. Olsen and Olsen, Sweden: 211–216.Google Scholar
  44. Ruber, E., A. Gilbert, P. A. Montagna, G. Gillis & E. Cummings, 1994. Effects of impounding coastal salt marsh for mosquito control on microcrustacean populations. Hydrobiologia 292/293: 497–503.Google Scholar
  45. Russo, A. R., 1987. Role of habitat complexity in mediating predation by the gray damselfish Abudefduf sordidus on epiphytal amphipods. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 36: 101–105.Google Scholar
  46. Sarda, R., K. Foreman, C. E. Werme & I. Valiela, 1998. The impact of epifaunal predation on the structure of macroinfaunal invertebrate communities of tidal saltmarsh creeks. Estuar. coast. shelf Sci. 46: 657–669.Google Scholar
  47. Schalles, J. F.& D. J. Shure, 1989. Hydrology, community structure, and productivity patterns of a dystrophic Carolina bay wetland. Ecol. Monogr. 59: 365–385.Google Scholar
  48. Shannon, C. E. & W. Weaver, 1949. The Mathematics Theory of Communication. Urbana, Ill: Univ. Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  49. Sheridan, P., 1997. Benthos of adjacent mangrove, seagrass and non-vegetated habitats in Rookery Bay, Florida, U.S.A.Estuar. coast. shelf Sci. 44: 455–469.Google Scholar
  50. Snelgrove, P. V. R. & C. A. Butman, 1994. Animal-sediment relationships revisited: cause versus effect. Oceanogr. mar. biol. Annu. Rev. 32: 111–177.Google Scholar
  51. Stevens, J., 1986. Applied Multivariate Statistics for the Social Sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  52. Taylor, J. D., 1993. Regional variation in the structure of tropical benthic communities: relation to regimes of nutrient input. In Morton, B. (ed.), The Marine Biology of the South China Sea. Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong: 337–356.Google Scholar
  53. Thrush, S. F., 1991. Spatial patterns in soft-bottom communities. Tr. Ecol. Evo. 6: 75–79.Google Scholar
  54. Vernberg, F. J., 1981. Benthic macrofauna. In Vernberg, F. J. & W. B. Vernberg (eds), Functional Adaptations of Marine Organisms. Academic Press: 179–230.Google Scholar
  55. Wells, F. E., 1983. An analysis of marine invertebrate distributions in a mangrove swamp in northwestern Australia. Bull. mar. Sci. 33: 736–744.Google Scholar
  56. Wells, F. E., 1984. Comparative distribution of macromolluscs and macrocrustaceansin a north-western Australian mangrove system. Aust. J. mar. Freshw. Res. 35: 591–596Google Scholar
  57. Wenner, E. L. & H. R. Beatty, 1988. Macrobenthic communities from wetland impoundments and adjacent open marsh habitats in South Carolina. Estuaries 11: 29–44.Google Scholar
  58. Wilkinson, C. R., S. Sudara & L. M. Chou, 1994. Proceedings, Third ASEAN-Australia Symposium on Living Coastal Resources. Volume 1. Status Reviews. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville.Google Scholar
  59. Yap H. T. & H. M. E. Nacorda, 1993. Some aspects of the ecology of sediment fauna in Balingasay, Bolinao, Pangasinan (northern Philippines). In Morton, B. (ed.), The Marine Biology of the South China Sea, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong: 509–519.Google Scholar
  60. Yu, R., G. Z. Chen, Y. S. Wong, N. F. Y. Tam & C. Y. Lan, 1997. Benthic macrofauna of the mangrove swamp treated with municipal wastewater. Hydrobiologia 347: 127–137.Google Scholar
  61. Zwarts, L. & J. H. Wanink, 1991. The macrobenthos fraction accessibleto waders may represent marginal prey. Oecologia 87:581–587.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology & BiodiversityThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental & Applied SciencesGriffith University Gold CoastAustralia

Personalised recommendations