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Biological recovery from organic enrichment: some systems cope better than others

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MacLeod, CK and Moltschaniwskyj, NA and Crawford, CM and Forbes, SE (2007) Biological recovery from organic enrichment: some systems cope better than others. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 342. 41 - 53. ISSN 0171-8630

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Abstract

This study examined the short-term recovery response at 2 salmon farms in southern
Tasmania where organic loads were equivalent, but where background environmental conditions
differed markedly. Although benthic communities at each of the farm locations showed good recovery
over the 3 mo fallow period, community structure did not fully return to that observed under
reference conditions at either location. At the Stringers Cove site the primary ecological functions of
the background community were restored, but this was not the case at Creeses Mistake. These
differences in recovery response were a direct reflection of background environmental conditions.
Stringers Cove sediments had naturally high organic carbon content and as a result there was greater
similarity in the ecological function of the unimpacted and impacted conditions at this location than
at Creeses Mistake, where, under unimpacted conditions, the sediments had a very low organic
content. In addition, the background fauna at Stringers Cove contained several species with reproductive
strategies suited to rapid recruitment and well adapted for early recolonisation in organically
enriched sediments. In contrast, the background fauna at Creeses Mistake not only changed more
with the impacts of organic enrichment, but was less able to re-establish populations directly by
immigration, needing to rely to a greater extent on remediation of the sediments by transitional
species before being able to colonise. This has important implications for environmental management,
as it suggests that the sediments in some areas have greater resilience to organic inputs.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Benthic recovery · Ecological function · Recolonisation · Organic enrichment · Resilience · Macrofauna · Salmon aquaculture
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Ecology Progress Series
Publisher: Inter-Research
Page Range: 41 - 53
ISSN: 0171-8630
Identification Number - DOI: 10.3354/meps342041
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2008 14:43
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:36
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