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Benthic infauna community analysis

Infaunal invertebrates were sampled using a van Veen grab and the community was described in terms of organisms retained within a 1mm mesh sieve. The same productivity models were used as with the epibenthic fauna, but size structuring was limited to estimates of mean individual biomass of each species retained in a range of sieve sizes and all individuals retained in the sieves were identified to one of 73 different taxon groups. Distributions of the key taxon groups tended to be more widely dispersed than the individual epibenthic species, because of the accumulation of several species per group.

The highest overall abundance and biomass of infaunal invertebrates were observed in the southern North Sea. Cluster analysis of the taxon group composition revealed two distinct communities, again occupying the northern and southern North Sea. Taxon group richness and diversity tended to be higher in the northern North Sea, whereas infaunal productivity tended to be highest in the southern North Sea, but with some isolated hotspots of productivity located in the north.

Once the MAFCONS consortium have made use of these data and been written up into a number of scientific papers, making the results available to a wider audience, the databases containing these data will be made available to the general public via our website.

Reported by

School of the Environment and Society
Singleton park
United Kingdom
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