Video Transects Reveal That Tidal Sand Waves Affect the Spatial Distribution of Benthic Organisms and Sand Ripples

J. H. Damveld (Corresponding Author), K. J. Van Der Reijden (Corresponding Author), C. Cheng, L. Koop, L. R. Haaksma, C. A. J. Walsh, K. Soetaert, B. W. Borsje, L. L. Govers, P. C. Roos, H. Olff, S. J. M. H. Hulscher

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    The sandy seabed of shallow coastal shelf seas displays morphological patterns of various dimensions. The seabed also harbors a rich ecosystem. Increasing pressure from human-induced disturbances necessitates further study on drivers of benthic community distributions over morphological patterns. Moreover, a greater understanding of the sand ripple distribution over tidal sand waves may improve morphological model predictions. Here we analyzed the biotic abundance and ripple morphology in sand wave troughs and crests using video transects. We found that both the epibenthos and endobenthos are significantly more abundant in sand wave troughs, where ripples are less abundant and more irregularly shaped. Finally, we show that camera systems are relatively quick and effective tools to study biotic spatial patterns in relation to seabed morphology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11.837-11.846
    JournalGeophysical research letters
    Issue number21
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2018



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