Sediment characteristics and colonization of soft-bottom benthos: A field manipulation experiment

Shiu Sun Rudolf WU, P. K. S. SHIN

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55 Citations (Scopus)


A field manipulation experiment was carried out to test the effects of sediment characteristics (particle size and organic content) on colonization of soft-bottom benthos. Defaunated mud and sand in experimental trays were exposed at sub-tidal levels of two sites with sandy and muddy sea bottom, and retrieved monthly for examination of benthic composition. Seventy-eight out of the 107 species recorded, and 50% of the dominant species identified in the present study, were common in both the sand and mud trays. Classification analysis revealed higher faunal similarity of benthic composition in both sediment types within each of the two study sites. Results of three-way ANOVA (Sediment, Site and Time) showed that sediment effect was only significant for colonization of bivalves and gastropods, but not for polychaetes, amphipods, total species and individual numbers, or overall benthic diversity and evenness. This suggested that many of the benthic species can colonize both sediment types, and that factors other than sediment particle size and organic content may play a significant role in determining colonization of these species. The faunal composition of the same sediment type between sites was found to be different, indicating that the availability and abundance of benthic larvae/adults may be more important than sediment characteristics in determining benthic settlement. An increase in faunal similarity between mud and sand was observed over the study period, implying that the importance of sediment characteristics to benthic colonization decreased with exposure time. Copyright © 1997 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-487
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1997


Wu, R. S. S., & Shin, P. K. S. (1997). Sediment characteristics and colonization of soft-bottom benthos: A field manipulation experiment. Marine Biology, 128(3), 475-487. doi: 10.1007/s002270050114


  • Bivalve
  • Tray
  • Polychaete
  • Organic content
  • Sediment type


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