Biology Bulletin

, Volume 44, Issue 9, pp 1019–1034 | Cite as

Peculiarities of the Structure of and Trends in the Macrobenthos Community of the Ermolinskaya Bay Lagoon Ecosystem, Kandalaksha Bay, White Sea



The species composition and spatial and trophic structures of the macrobenthos communities of the Ermolinskaya Bay were studied, and the main changes that had occurred since previous explorations (the 1960s) were analyzed. The most significant changes in the spatial structure of the macrobenthos community (species diversity, population density and biomass, and similarities of the species’ distribution) were observed with regard to the sea level zone: the most pronounced at the upper littoral, followed by the middle littoral, lower littoral, and sublittoral. The longitudinal gradient of the community structure (from the innermost area seaward) was pronounced less strongly. Altogether, four macrobenthos communities can be identified in Ermolinskaya Bay; they differ in species composition, diversity, population density and biomass, and trophic structure: (1) community of the upper littoral with the dominance of collecting deposit feeders, Hydrobia ulvae, and scrapers, Littorina saxatilis; (2) community of the middle littoral with the prevalence of deposit feeders, Hydrobia ulvae and Macoma balthica, seston feeders, Mya arenaria, and, to a lesser extent, Mytilus edulis; (3) community of the lower littoral with the domination of the filtering organisms, Mytilus edulis, to a lesser extent collecting deposit feeders, Hydrobia ulvae and Macoma balthica, and scrapers, Littorina littorea; and (4) community of the sublittoral, where the leading positions belong to the group of collecting deposit feeders, Macoma balthica, to a lesser extent also Hydrobia ulvae (in the innermost area) and Capitella capitata, Arenicola marina (in the marine part of the bay). The gradual siltation of the bay and the reduction of its connection to the sea have led to the development of a littoral complex of species in the sublittoral, whereas the species typical at the sublittoral in the 1960s are now mainly found at the outlet of the bay.


estuarine ecosystem macrobenthos community structure trend White Sea 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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