Scientia Marina, Vol 79, No 3 (2015)

Biodiversity and distribution of macroinfauna assemblages on sandy beaches along the Gulf of Cadiz (SW Spain)

M. José Reyes-Martínez
Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide , Spain

M. Carmen Ruiz-Delgado
Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide , Spain

Juan Emilio Sánchez-Moyano
Departamento de Zoología, Universidad de Sevilla , Spain

Francisco José García-García
Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide , Spain


In the current study, the macroinfauna communities inhabiting 12 sandy beaches along the Spanish coast of the Gulf of Cadiz were describe in order to characterize their unexplored biodiversity, their zonation patterns and their environmental features. A total of 66 macroinfauna taxa were recorded on 12 sandy beaches, ranging from 4 to 33 species. Density reached 848 individual per m2. The individual zonation pattern ranged from two to three zones, regardless of the morphodynamic state. A common zonation pattern of the whole set of beaches was established, comprising three across-shore biological zones. Generally, the supralittoral zone was typified by the air-breathing amphipod Talitrus saltator and coleopterans; the middle zone was dominated by true intertidal species, such as Haustoriidae amphipods (Haustorius arenarius), Cirolanidae isopods (Eurydice affinis), Spionidae polychaetes (Scolelepis spp.) and nemerteans; and the lower or sublittoral zone was typified by Pontoporeiidae amphipods, mysids and spionid polychaetes. Sediment moisture, average grain size, organic matter content and elevation were the main predictor variables of zonation patterns. We used the conservation and recreation potential indices to show how this information can be useful for coastal management. Most beaches studied show a score above 5 on the conservation index, so the beaches have a reasonable potential for conservation management.


sandy beaches; benthic macroinfauna; zonation pattern; environmental variables; Gulf of Cadiz, coastal management

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