Mudflat Ecosystem Engineers and Services

Part of the Aquatic Ecology Series book series (AQEC, volume 7)


Ecosystem engineers play a fundamental role in the creation, maintenance and transformation of habitats in tidal flats. Highly diverse in terms of size, phylogeny, and effect on their environment, they can facilitate or hinder a number of organisms, but generally have a positive influence on both the abundance and the diversity of mudflat organisms. The magnitude of the engineering effect is, however, largely dependent on the biotic and abiotic environment of the engineer. In particular, stressful habitats such as mudflats host a large number of ecosystem engineers; understanding interactions between them, and how they vary with abiotic variables, is therefore of crucial importance, to evaluate how ecosystem engineers affect benthic communities and ecosystem functioning. Such understanding will also help human populations which benefit from mudflat organisms and/or functioning (i.e. which derive ecosystem services from them), to maintain and manage the sustainably of tidal flats, in a way which maintains human health and well-being.



CP has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 702217, and this support is gratefully acknowledged. DMP received funding from the MASTS pooling initiative (The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland funded by the Scottish Funding Council; grant reference HR09011) and contributing institutions and work reported stems from support provided by the Templeton Foundation (JTF number 60501) and the NERC Blue-coast consortium (NE/N016009/1).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Essex, School of Biological SciencesColchesterUK
  2. 2.Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, UMR BOREA, MNHN-CNRS-UCN-UPMC-IRD-UA, Station Marine de ConcarneauConcarneauFrance
  3. 3.Sediment Ecology Research Group, Scottish Oceans Institute, School of BiologyUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

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