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Tidal and diurnal periodicity in macrocrustaceans and demersal fish of an exposed sandy beach, with special emphasis on juvenile plaice Pleuronectes platessa
Beyst, B.; Vanaverbeke, J.; Vincx, M.; Mees, J. (2002). Tidal and diurnal periodicity in macrocrustaceans and demersal fish of an exposed sandy beach, with special emphasis on juvenile plaice Pleuronectes platessa. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 225: 263-274.
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630; e-ISSN 1616-1599
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee: Open access 98231 [ download pdf ]

    Analysis > Mathematical analysis > Statistical analysis > Variance analysis
    Analysis > Sediment analysis
    Composition > Community composition
    Data > Hydrographic data > Salinity data
    Developmental stages > Juveniles
    Environmental effects > Tidal effects
    Population characteristics > Population density
    Population characteristics > Population structure > Size distribution
    Temporal variations > Periodic variations > Diurnal variations
    Clupeidae Cuvier, 1816 [WoRMS]; Crangon crangon (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Pleuronectes platessa Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Solea solea (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    surf zone; sandy beach; Pleuronectes platessa; Crangon crangon; feeding periodicity; stomach content analyses; tidal migration

Authors  Top 
  • Beyst, B.
  • Vanaverbeke, J.
  • Vincx, M.
  • Mees, J.

    Macrocrustaceans and juvenile demersal fish were sampled in spring of 1997 in the surf zone of an exposed sandy beach on the Belgian coast. Three consecutive 24 h cycles were sampled to investigate tidal, diurnal and semi-lunar distribution patterns within the epibenthic community. Multivariate statistical techniques and 3-way ANOVA were used to evaluate the effects of the environmental variables measured. The most important variable correlated with the variation in epibenthic catch density was the state of the tide (ebb and flood), but light intensity (day and night) was also important. The individual catch density of several species differed significantly over the three 24 h cycles. Despite the strong turbulent conditions of the site studied, clear tidal (e.g. the brown shrimp Crangon crangon, juvenile plaice Pleuronectes platessa) and diurnal (e.g. juvenile sole Solea solea and clupeids, caught mainly during the night/day respectively) periodicities of many macrocrustacean and demersal fish species were observed. Nevertheless, the extremely turbulent conditions of the surf zone possibly affect the behaviour of many species (e.g. juvenile brown shrimp are not able to bury themselves as the water retreats). To investigate whether the high dynamics of the surf zone suppress the ability of juvenile plaice to actively search for food, stomach contents were analysed. Also, the interaction with potential prey was investigated: the hyperbenthic fauna was sampled simultaneously and macrobenthic data were available from the literature. Clearly, the Belgian sandy beaches are used as a feeding ground by I-group plaice. An opportunistic utilisation of available food resources is suggested. I-group plaice migrate high up the beach during the flood tide to profit from the rich macrobenthic intertidal area, while the 0-group feeds mainly on the most abundant hyperand macrobenthic organisms from somewhat deeper water. The presence of the 0-group in the intertidal area is possibly linked to refuge for predators or influenced by the strong surf zone currents.

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