The Distribution of Macrozoobenthos in the Southern North Sea in Relation to Meso-Scale Bedforms

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This study investigates the distribution of macrozoobenthos in relation to meso-scale bedforms in the southern North Sea. Three sites on the Dutch Continental Shelf were sampled that are representative of large areas of the North Sea and show diverse morphological settings. These sites are (i) part of a shoreface-connected ridge, (ii) the lower part of a concave shoreface and (iii) a sandwave area. Within these sites, two or three different morphological units were distinguished. Sampling was undertaken in two seasons for two consecutive years. The species composition was analysed for differences in benthic assemblage within sites, based on the meso-scale morphology, and between sites and seasons. In addition, the benthic assemblage was correlated to water depth, median grain size (D50) and sorting (D60/D10). Results show that significant differences in the benthic assemblage can be found related to meso-scale bedforms, but macro-scale morphological setting and seasonal effects are more important.



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