Benthic Species Distribution Linked to Morphological Features of a Barred Coast

Harriëtte Holzhauer, Bas W. Borsje, Jan A. Van Dalfsen, Kathelijne M. Wijnberg, Suzanne J.m.h. Hulscher, Peter M.J. Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


The composition of benthic species communities in the nearshore zone is closely related to the hydrodynamic and morphodynamic conditions. Sustainable management of the coastal ecosystem requires knowledge about the natural dynamics as well as human-induced changes on the ecosystem. To improve our knowledge of the benthic species distribution along a dissipative sandy shore with multiple breaker bars, an extensive dataset was collected in the nearshore zone of the barrier islands Ameland and Schiermonnikoog in the Dutch North Sea. From 2010 to 2014, every year, approximately 180 grab samples along 18 cross-shore transects were collected and analyzed for sediment characteristics and macrobenthic species composition. Mixed-effect-models and partial redundancy analysis were used to analyze the importance of morphological features (i.e., slopes, bar crests, and troughs) as an explanatory variable for the benthic species distribution. The results indicate that the morphological features in themselves explain three times more variation than the environmental parameters used. This demonstrates the importance of morphological features as a factor in explaining the distribution of benthic species communities in the nearshore. Detailed information on morphological features is easy to obtain from bathymetry maps or visual inspection. Incorporating morphological features in species distribution models will therefore help to improve sustainable management of our valuable sandy coastal systems
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalJournal of marine science and engineering
Issue number1
Early online date27 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Benthic Species Distribution Linked to Morphological Features of a Barred Coast'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this