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Mapping seafloor habitats in the Bay of Fundy to assess megafaunal assemblages associated with Modiolus modiolus beds

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Wilson, BR, Brown, CJ, Sameoto, JA, Lacharite, M ORCID: 0000-0001-7395-5236, Redden, AM and Gazzola, V 2021 , 'Mapping seafloor habitats in the Bay of Fundy to assess megafaunal assemblages associated with Modiolus modiolus beds' , Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. 252 , pp. 1-14 , doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2021.107294.

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Abstract

Dense aggregations of horse mussels exist in the Bay of Fundy and are thought to be associated with high biodiversity compared to surrounding habitats. Previous research show correlations between these aggregations and long narrow flow-parallel bedforms. In this study, high resolution seafloor photographs were compared to multibeam echosounder data to investigate benthic community and biodiversity patterns across the Bay of Fundy. Biophysical seafloor types (benthoscapes) were mapped with 71% accuracy using Object Based Image Analysis (OBIA) with fuzzy c-means classification. Community patterns were found to shift gradually across benthoscapes and mega-epifaunal biodiversity was highest in areas of mixed sediments and silty gravel and anemones. Horse mussels occurred mainly within the sand benthoscape where the flow parallel bedforms exist. Community patterns were also assessed at fine scales (5 m) using a by-eye interpretation of the flow parallel bedforms, where gradational shifts across the bedforms and surrounding areas were evident and abundance of horse mussels were found to be significantly greater on the bedforms. These findings will ultimately facilitate decisions around fisheries management, marine spatial planning, and monitoring of the horse mussel habitats and the surrounding benthoscapes within the Bay of Fundy.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Wilson, BR and Brown, CJ and Sameoto, JA and Lacharite, M and Redden, AM and Gazzola, V
Keywords: mussels, seafloor mapping, benthos, benthoscape, seascape ecology, benthic habitat, habitat classification, horse mussels
Journal or Publication Title: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Publisher: Academic Press Ltd Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN: 0272-7714
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.ecss.2021.107294
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

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