Benthic polychaetes in the largest intertidal mudflat of Hong Kong were analysed for potentially stressed environmental conditions from pollution. Over a two-year period, a total of 14 species were recorded with the species diversity (H(log2)) ranged from 0.54 to 2.4. The community was dominated by two large polychaetes (Neanthes glandicincta and Potamilla acuminata) and a number of small pollution tolerant species (Tharyx, Capitella capitata and Prionospio cirrifera). It was also characterized by both temporal and spatial variations in terms of abundance and species composition with the lowest species number observed at onshore Station B in August and the highest at offshore Station D in February. Two distinct polychaete communities were formed along the intertidal towards subtidal mudflat, particularly the assemblage at onshore Station B showing a significant difference from those at the other three stations (P<0.05, N=32). Results of the abundance-biomass comparison (ABC) indicated a typical impacted community at the whole study area, especially at Station B which was close to the Shenzhen River mouth and mangrove forest. The total organic carbon had a significant positive effect on the abundance of Capitella capitata (P=0.037, N=8) while sedimentary compositions were statistically related to the abundance of Potamilla acuminata, Tharyx and total abundance of polychaetes (P<0.05, N=8). In conclusion, both the polluted Shenzhen River and nearby mangrove may be responsible for the decline in species richness and diversity as well as changes in community structure. Polychaetes can be used as the appropriate indicators in habitat ecological condition assessment instead of the whole benthic community.
|Number of pages
|Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
|Published - Aug 2010
- environmental stress
- intertidal mudflat