The benthos and fish of offshore sandbank habitats in the southern North Sea

Jim Ellis, Tracy Maxwell, Michaela Schratzberger, Stuart Rogers

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Meiofauna, macro-infauna and epifauna were sampled at two offshore sandbanks in the southern North Sea in 2006. The epifaunal and infaunal communities in the dynamic environment of the sandbank crests were species poor, with lesser weever, solenette, Crangon crangon, amphipods and deposit-feeding polychaetes the predominant benthic taxa. Abundant early life-history stages (24–39 mm) of the lesser weever Echiichthys vipera on the sandbank crests indicated that these habitats may be important nursery grounds for this species. Species diversity of infauna and epifauna was greater in the deeper waters parallel to the sandbanks. Contrasting patterns were evident for meiofaunal nematodes, where communities collected on the sandbank crests were more diverse than those recorded in the deeper off-bank sites. The fauna of sandbank crests is composed of a restricted range of the fauna typically associated with sandy habitats, particularly taxa adapted to live in this dynamic environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319-1335
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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