Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Benthic trophic status of aquatic transitional environments with distinct morphological and dynamic characteristics on the south-western Atlantic coast

Ana Laura Pita A , Luis Giménez B , Noelia Kandratavicius C , Pablo Muniz C and Natalia Venturini A D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Laboratorio de Biogeoquímica Marina (LABIM), Instituto de Ecología y Ciencias Ambientales, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República (UdelaR), Iguá 4225, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay.

B School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, LL59 5AB, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, UK.

C Oceanografía y Ecología Marina, Instituto de Ecología y Ciencias Ambientales, Facultad de Ciencias, UdelaR, Iguá 4225, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay.

D Corresponding author. Email: rulo@fcien.edu.uy

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16284
Submitted: 15 August 2016  Accepted: 1 March 2017   Published online: 20 April 2017

Abstract

The benthic trophic status of Uruguayan coastal estuarine habitats (permanently open estuaries and open or closed coastal lagoons) was evaluated, twice in 1 year and at different spatial scales, using the amount and biochemical composition of the sedimentary organic matter. Nested hierarchical ANOVAs were applied to evaluate differences at the habitat level, among sites for each type of estuarine habitat (three estuaries and three lagoons) and between sectors located at different distances from the sea (inner v. outer sectors). Morphological and hydrodynamic differences between the two types of habitats explained site-to-site variations in eutrophic conditions in the open or closed coastal lagoons and meso-oligotrophic conditions in permanently open estuaries. These differences followed the patterns found for sediment grain size, with inner sectors (lower-energy areas) favouring the accumulation of finer sediments and higher amounts of degraded–detrital organic matter. In autumn, biochemical parameters indicated the dominance of aged and more degraded organic matter, with both types of habitats having a low nutritional value no matter which sector was considered. By contrast, in spring, biochemical composition showed the prevalence of fresh and more labile sedimentary organic matter with a high food value, especially in the outer sectors.

Additional keywords: coastal lagoons, estuaries, spatial scales, Uruguay.


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