Vertical distribution of infauna in sediments of a subestuary of central Chesapeake Bay
- Cite this article as:
- Hines, A.H. & Comtois, K.L. Estuaries (1985) 8: 296. doi:10.2307/1351490
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The vertical distribution of infauna was quantified in eight strata from 0–35 cm in sand and mud sediments of a lower mesohaline subestuary of Chesapeake Bay. Large numbers of small polychaetes, amphipods, and clams occurred in the upper 5 cm of both sediment types, whereas large clams (Macoma balthica in mud andMya arenaria in sand) extended down to 30 cm and comprised most of the biomass in their respective sediment types. There was extensive overlap of the species inhabiting both sediment types. Vertical stratification within and among species apparently reflected constraints on burrowing depth related to body size rather than resource partitioning among competitors. The maximal sediment penetration of 35 cm, which was exhibited byHeteromastus filiformis, was considerably less than the maximal penetration for deep burrowing species in some marine infaunal communities. Several species which burrowed deeper than 5 cm exhibited significant temporal shifts in their vertical distribution.