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Effects of Eutrophication on Benthic Communities including Fish: Swedish West Coast

Susanne P. Baden, Lars-Ove Loo, Leif Pihl and Rutger Rosenberg
Ambio
Vol. 19, No. 3, Marine Eutrophication (May, 1990), pp. 113-122
Published by: Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4313676
Page Count: 10
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Abstract

The southern Kattegat is susceptible to eutrophication due to shallow mean depth (23 m) and a strong halocline which reduces intrusion of oxygen to bottom waters. The effects of eutrophication were first observed in the area in the autumn of 1980. Since then investigations on primary producers, fish, lobsters, and benthic infauna have been conducted to document the effects of eutrophication. Above the halocline in the Laholm Bay a change in the macrophyte species from Fucus spp. to filamentous green algae has been observed. Mortality of benthic macrofauna, mainly bivalves, has been observed in most years and seasons. The recruitment of flatfish has not been negatively affected. Around the halocline the benthic infauna were seriously affected by oxygen deficiency. Below the halocline, fish disappeared and lobsters emerged from burrows when oxygen saturation declined below 40%. When oxygen saturation decreased below 15% Norway lobsters were immobilized and their blood-pigment concentration decreased. Benthic infaunal species emerged from the sediment. Lobsters died when saturation dropped to 10%, while many infauna species tolerated levels of 7-5% for some weeks. Analysis of stomach content indicated that neither fish nor lobsters died from lack of food, but from hypoxia. Subsequent to the reoxygenation of the bottom water during winter, flatfish and benthic infauna recovered whereas cod and lobster populations did not.

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