A field experiment was carried out in Hong Kong to study the patterns of recolonization and succession of subtidal macrobenthos in defaunated sediment contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and to determine the time required for benthic recovery from petroleum contamination. A total of 31 species was found and 83 animals/tray and 14 species/tray on an average were recorded after one month. Initial colonization was dominated by polychaetes in both abundance and species number (accounting for 69.1% and 64.5%, respectively). Abundance of macrobenthos came to a small crest (308 animals/tray) after three months, reached a sharp peak (1257 animals/tray) after six months, and then declined to a steady level. Abundance, species number and diversity in the petroleum-contaminated sediment were significantly lower than those in the control sediment in the early successional stages, indicating deleterious effects of petroleum hydrocarbons on recolonization and succession of macrobenthos. Petroleum hydrocarbons in sediment significantly altered species composition of macrobenthos in recolonization and succession. No significant differences in community parameters and species composition between the petroleum-contaminated and the control communities were found after 11 months, indicating that macrobenthic community had recovered from petroleum contamination. Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
CitationLu, L., & Wu, R. S. S. (2006). A field experimental study on recolonization and succession of macrobenthic infauna in defaunated sediment contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 68(3-4), 627-634. doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2006.03.011