Marine benthic faunal successional stages and related sedimentary activity


  • Rutger Rosenberg Department of Marine Ecology



benthos, bioturbation, functional group, benthic-pelagic coupling, deposit feeder, hypoxia


This paper is a brief review of successional stages and activity of benthic soft-bottom communities. Benthic communities was first described by Petersen in the 1910s and further developed by Molander, Thorson and Margalef. Successional stages of benthic communities chance in a predictable way in relation to environmental disturbance and food availability. Food supply to the bottom can occur as a vertical flux, but transport through lateral advection is more important in some areas. While at the bottom, the infauna processes the food in many different ways, and the feeding modes can be categorised into more than 20 functional groups, but fewer are present in brackish water. This categorisation is based on animal mobility and where and how they ingest the food. Animal activity in the sediment, bioturbation, has a significant effect on redox conditions and diagenetic processes. Structures in the sediment due to infaunal presence and activity can be observed in situ by sediment profile imaging, and the biogenic structures and redox conditions can be parameterised and have been shown to correlate to benthic community successional stages. The largest threat to benthic faunal biodiversity is the spread of near-bottom oxygen deficiency in many enclosed are stratified coastal areas.


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How to Cite

Rosenberg R. Marine benthic faunal successional stages and related sedimentary activity. scimar [Internet]. 2001Dec.30 [cited 2023Sep.25];65(S2):107-19. Available from: