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An Assessment of Human Impacts on Benthic Invertebrate Communities, with an Emphasis on Polychaetes

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Title:An Assessment of Human Impacts on Benthic Invertebrate Communities, with an Emphasis on Polychaetes
Authors:Vahlsing, Blake
Contributors:Bailey-Brock, Julie (advisor)
Oceanography (department)
Global Environmental Science (department)
Keywords:benthic ecology
biological oceanography
Date Issued:2004
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Place of Publication:Honolulu
Abstract:Various human activities such as trampling through shallow waters and organic
enrichment can alter benthic invertebrate communities. To examine the impact of
human activities to shallow-water invertebrate communities on Oahu’s south shore,
sediment samples were collected from depths of 0.1 m, 1.0 m, and 3.0 m, from an area
frequently perturbed by humans, and an area that experiences little or no human
activity. Multiple samples were collected from six stations, and all invertebrates were
identified and preserved in ethanol. The members of the class Polychaeta were
identified to family, and grouped in guilds based on motility and trophic categories.
Overall, the stations that experience human perturbation displayed less taxa abundance,
were predominantly composed of nematodes (an indicator of organic enrichment), and
had very few amphipods (a crustacean sensitive to disturbance). The polychaete
communities at stations frequently visited by humans were dominated by detritivores,
and contained low numbers of suspension-feeding and tubicolous individuals and
families, indicating perturbation. In contrast, the stations that experience little or no
human activities yielded higher taxa abundance, high individual tallies, were composed
mostly of amphipods, and displayed higher percentages of suspension-feeding and
tubicolous polychaetes. Since the grain size of each sample site was the only physical
parameter taken into consideration, a more thorough study must be performed to
conclusively tie human activities to alterations in benthic invertebrate communities.
Pages/Duration:35 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Rights Holder:Vahlsing, Blake
Appears in Collections: Global Environmental Science (GES)

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