Macrofaunal recolonisation following the intertidal placement of fine-grained dredged material

Stefan Bolam, Jon Barry, Michaela Schratzberger, Paul Whomersley, Mike Dearnaley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dredged material is increasingly being regarded as a potential resource, and one of its many uses is to create and/or improve intertidal habitats (i.e. beneficial use). However, uncertainties over the longer-term environmental consequences of such schemes have, to date, limited the practice to small-scale applications in UK waters. This paper studies the macrofaunal recolonisation of fine-grained dredged material recharged concurrently at four adjacent recharge areas along the south-east coast of the UK in order to facilitate predictions regarding the recolonisation of comparable schemes and, thereby, to promote effective environmental management. During the 2-year study period, the four recharge areas were distinctly different in terms of their environmental characteristics, primarily wave exposure and bed level. These conditions resulted in different macrofaunal recolonisation rates and community structures. While the low-level, wave-sheltered area experienced rapid recolonisation, the process was delayed until 12 months post-recharge at the relatively wave-exposed areas. Bed level differences resulted in distinctly different communities in wave-sheltered areas but not under wave-exposed conditions. While we are unable to separate the effects of individual environmental variables on recolonisation, these results provide general conclusions as to the importance of environmental conditions on resulting macrofaunal communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-510
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Volume168
Issue number1-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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