The structure and functioning of the benthic macrofauna of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary, with predicted effects of a tidal barrage
Warwick, R.M. and Somerfield, P.J. (2010) The structure and functioning of the benthic macrofauna of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary, with predicted effects of a tidal barrage. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 61 (1-3). pp. 92-99.
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The severity of the physical regime in the hypertidal Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel decreases in intensity in the seaward direction. As a result, the diversity of benthic macrofaunal species is very low in the Estuary and Inner Channel, but is still relatively low in the Outer Channel compared with more benign conditions elsewhere in the UK. Nevertheless, the taxonomic spread of species (taxonomic distinctness) throughout the area is no lower than expected. Barrage construction would result in an increase in the area of soft sediment relative to hard bottom benthic assemblages and the disappearance of reduced communities seaward of the barrage, although the time-scale of such a change is not known. Above the barrage the overall species richness, density and biomass of the benthos are likely to increase, factors that will ameliorate the loss of inter-tidal area.
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