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Factors influencing fish and macrocrustacean communities in the surf zone of sandy beaches in Belgium: temporal variation
Beyst, B.; Hostens, K.; Mees, J. (2001). Factors influencing fish and macrocrustacean communities in the surf zone of sandy beaches in Belgium: temporal variation. J. Sea Res. 46(3-4): 281-294.
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101; e-ISSN 1873-1414
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee: Open Marine Archive 316215 [ download pdf ]

    Behaviour > Migrations
    Coastal zone
    Composition > Community composition
    Environmental effects
    Fishes > Osteichthyes > Pleuronectiformes > Bothidae > Scophthalmus > Scophthalmus rhombus
    Fishes > Osteichthyes > Pleuronectiformes > Pleuronectidae > Limanda > Limanda limanda
    Topographic features > Beach features > Surf zone
    Velocity > Wind speed
    Wave height
    Dicentrarchus labrax (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Pleuronectes platessa Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
    ANE, Belgium [Marine Regions]
Author keywords
    surf zone; nursery; epibenthos; demersal fish; Europe; North Sea; Southern Bight; Belgian coast

Authors  Top 
  • Beyst, B.
  • Hostens, K.
  • Mees, J.

    Monthly samples were taken in the surf zone of sandy beaches along the Belgian coast from May 1996 until July 1997 at four selected stations. Temporal patterns of the macrocrustacean and fish species residing the surf zone were investigated, as well as the abiotic variables structuring the community. In total 34 species were recorded belonging to caridean shrimps (3), anomuran and brachyuran crabs (5), cephalopods (2) and fish (24). The brown shrimp Crangon crangon dominated almost all samples (>80%). Total densities often exceeded 400 ind per 100 m², and if C. crangon was excluded 10 ind per 100 m². Notwithstanding the harsh hydrodynamic conditions, the surf zone of Belgian sandy beaches is used intensively by a number of epibenthic macro-crustaceans and demersal fish species. Seven resident and ten migrant species were identified. As mainly juvenile fishes were present, the surf zone of the Belgian sandy beaches may act as a nursery for longer (e.g. plaice Pleuronectes platessa) or shorter (e.g. brill Scophthalmus rhombus) periods. However, its nursery function should be studied in more detail, since the highly dynamic circumstances and more specifically wave height and wind speed may be important structuring factors for the epibenthic communities. The surf zone of Belgian sandy beaches also seems to function as a transient area to other nurseries (e.g. bass Dicentrarchus labrax) or between a nursery and the true marine environment (e.g. dab Limanda limanda). Temporal variation in community structure was greatly masked by spatial differences between sites. Although variables such as salinity and hydrodynamic factors may have influenced the data, clear temperature-related, seasonal patterns occur. Most likely, extreme winter conditions and subsequent migration of organisms to deeper waters caused a decline in winter in both density and diversity.

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