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The macro benthos of serpentine creek


, : The macro benthos of serpentine creek. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 18(1): 75-94

Fourteen transects were sampled for macrobenthos in a habitat of small mangrove-fringed creeks at 5 periods from Aug. 1972-Nov. 1973, using an 0.05 m2 van Veen grab and 1 mm mesh sieves. Data on depths, sediments, salinity and water temperature were obtained. These abiotic data showed marked temporal variation but indicated coarser sediments in midstream sites and those near the mouths of the estuaries. The most offshore sites showed a salinity range of .apprx. 26-35.permill. and the most upstream sites a range of .apprx. 6-27.permill. Much of the biota can not be identified to the specific level, reflecting the scant attention given to small estuarine systems on the eastern coast of Australia. Ninety-eight taxa were recorded, about half the number present in the adjacent Bramble Bay, and less than a quarter the number from other parts of Moreton Bay. Recordings of species in samples were highly skewed and most data were transformed using log10 (N + 1). Even after this there was a high proportion of species with 'patchy' high recordings. From the 3 dimensional data of species .times. sites .times. times, by summation, 2 dimensional matrices of species .times. sites and species .times. times were derived. Using the classificatory technique of Stephenson, Cook and Raphael (1977) site-groups and their conforming species were derived. Seven such groups were accepted, indicating fairly small scale topographic patterning, and this made conceptual sense in terms of abiotic data. Site-groups at the upper and lower portions of the sampled area showed the noticeably high population densities and low diversities regarded as characteristic of estuarine biotas. Classification of species .times. times results did not produce conceptual sense and it is suggested that intervals between sampling were too long. Nevertheless noteworthy fluctuations in the populations of several species were documented. Attempts are made to describe species in an ecological terminology developed from temperate experience, but problems over the temporal heterogeneity of non-estuarine situations in local waters suggest that caution is required. Of the commoner species Apseudes estuarius is the dominant species in all site-groups except those in or close to Bramble Bay, and approximates to an estuarine endemic species. While Spisula trigonella appears as an estuarine endemic on the present data elsewhere it acts as an euryhaline opportunistic species. Xenophthalmus pinnotheroides approximates to an euryhaline opportunist.

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