Some Aspects of Nearshore Benthic Macrofauna in Western Cape Cod Bay
Intertidal and subtidal benthic macrofaunal study was undertaken in the shorezone of western Cape Cod Bay utilizing five (5) transects extending from the upper limit of the intertidal out to a subtidal depth of approximately 30 feet. One of the transects extended seaward from the power plant discharge canal; the other four “reference” transects were located at various distances north and south of the discharge or “Effluent” transect. One of the reference transects (White Horse Beach, Sandy) was primarily a sand, gravel, and silt habitat. The other three reference transects (Rocky Point; White Horse Beach, Rocky; and Manomet Point) were characterized by various combinations of boulders, cobble, sand, and silty flats.
Seasonal colonization by the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, was the single most dominant feature of solid surrace, attached communities. Deposition of silt and sand at greater depths altered community structure substantially, allowing tubicolous polychaetes and other soft substratum forms to survive in abundance. Wherever adequate surface for attachment was available, extensive beds of Chondrus and Phyllophora persisted. Sandy areas, particularly those subtidal locations subjected to wave-induced turbulence, displayed lower diversities and abundance levels, compared to rock habitats.
Habitats with solid substrata were frequently dominated by massive Mytilus sets and the algal grazing of the sea star Asterias sp. Seasonal dominance by Mytilus tended to reduce diversity during the late spring and through the summer. Diversity levels frequently rose during the fall and early winter as Mytilus density declined.
KeywordsIntertidal Zone Mytilus Edulis Blue Mussel Sandy Bottom Benthic MACROFAUNA
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