Salt Marshes Buffer El Niño Effects on Benthic Secondary Production
MetadataShow full item record
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) strongly influences the planet climate and hydrology, consequently, the structure and functioning of estuarine biological communities. However, the effects of the ENSO on coastal areas are dependent of the spatial scale and the intrinsic characteristics of the estuary, such as different habitats. During six years (2013 to 2018) we investigate the interannual variability of macrobenthic secondary production of Spartina alterniflora marshes and adjacent unvegetated areas in a subtropical coastal lagoon in Southern Brazil and we tested whether the ENSO events (El Niño and La Niña) affect similarly the benthic secondary production of these two habitats. Our results show that the secondary production of benthic macrofauna varied over time, showing an increase related to the occurrence of the El Niño 2015/2016 event and consequent increase in precipitation. However, the salt marshes responded differently of the unvegetated areas, with a secondary production more stable. There is also a distinction in the effects on different taxa. Although the most representative macrobenthic species, Laeonereis acuta and Monokalliapseudes schubarti, increased secondary production in unvegetated areas, L. acuta showed an increase only in biomass, whereas for M. schubarti there was an increase in biomass and density. In contrast, both species showed density, biomass and secondary production with no significant differences over time in the salt marshes. These findings reinforce that climatic variations can influence secondary production, but the salt marshes have a buffering effect on the influence of El Niño on benthic associations.
The following license files are associated with this item:
- Click the Creative Commons icon for to know licensing terms