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Effects of extreme climate events on the macrobenthic communities' structure and functioning of a temperate estuary.

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      Abstract

      The Mondego estuary (Portugal) experienced profound structural and functional modifications due to eutrophication, which was exacerbated by consecutive weather extremes that compromised a previous restoration project. This work explores multiple climate impacts on macrobenthic communities' structure and functioning and its implications on ecosystem's recovery. Floods and heat waves had a stronger negative effect on macrobenthic assemblages than the droughts, imposing a total abundance decline. Contrarily, biomass was not so affected by climate events, being stable and even increased in a mudflat area, where seagrass is re-colonizing. Bivalves and oligochaetes decreased with the flooding episodes, likewise subsurface-deposit feeders and suspension feeders, while crustaceans were particularly sensitive to heat waves. Species richness declined with the floods and heat waves, whilst evenness increased in sandflat area, constituting a positive sign towards recovery. Succession of different climate extremes affected ecosystem structure and functioning, delaying its recovery with possible consequent effects at higher trophic levels.

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      Author and article information

      Affiliations
      [1 ] Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. tfgrilo@student.biologia.uc.pt
      Journal
      Mar. Pollut. Bull.
      Marine pollution bulletin
      Elsevier BV
      1879-3363
      0025-326X
      Feb 2011
      : 62
      : 2
      21071045
      S0025-326X(10)00470-4
      10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.10.010

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