Scientia Marina, Vol 79, No 3 (2015)

Influence of estuarine dynamics on macrobenthos spatial variability along the southeast continental shelf of Brazil

Ilana R. Zalmon
Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, Brazil

Carlos Eduardo de Rezende
Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, Brazil

Valeria G. Veloso
Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ilana Sallorenzo
Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil

Rodolfo Paranhos
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ana Paula Falcão

Tito Cesar M. de Almeida
Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense - Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, Brazil


Along the southeast continental shelf of Brazil, the Paraíba do Sul River (PSR) plays a fundamental role in sediment and nutrient transport. This study focuses on the contribution of the PSR and its effect on the benthic macrofauna. Physical and chemical analyses of the sediment were conducted, and the macrofauna were identified and counted. Multivariate analyses were used to compare the distribution patterns of the benthic assemblages related to the depth gradient over two sampling periods. The principal component analysis showed that shallow waters assemblages are mostly influenced by the environmental descriptors temperature, salinity and chlorophyll a, whereas pheophytin, degree of sediment sorting, total carbonate and organic carbon were correlated with benthic assemblages at greater depths. The high organic enrichment reflected an increase in surface and sub-surface deposit feeders such as the polychaetes Spiophanes sp. and Prionospio cristata and the crustacean Phtisica marinain the deeper stations, with a corresponding decrease in other trophic groups. This study provides evidence of differences in organic matter sources, from primary production in shallow waters to detritus in deep waters. These sources provide different niches for the corresponding macrofaunal assemblages along the continental shelf adjacent to the PSR, with species richness and abundance of benthic populations related to the river output.


sediment; macrofauna; organic carbon; phytopigments; continental shelf; Paraíba do Sul River

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