Macrobenthos of the coastal Budi Lagoon, southern Chile: Changes associated with seasonal environmental variation

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the seasonal relationship of macrobenthos richness and abundance with sediment characteristics (i.e. texture and organic material) for the coastal Budi Lagoon in southern Chile. Physicochemical measurements and macrobenthos samples were taken over the course of a year at nine sampling stations. Sandy-muddy sediment was the most common, and high percentages of organic material were registered, varying significantly between seasons and stations. The recorded organic material was related to natural (resident wild birds) and anthropogenic (agriculture) sources. Regarding fauna, 28 benthonic taxa and 7092 individuals were identified, with temporal and spatial variations. The most abundant taxa year-round were the molluscs Littoridina cumingii and Kingiella chilenica and the bristle worm Prionospio patagonica. Together, the obtained results evidence the important impact of organic material on the macrobenthos, with macrobenthic richness and abundance decreasing in conditions of high organic material content. The recorded variations for different taxa may indicate a response to the land use around the Budi Lagoon, which is intensely subjected to agricultural and tourist activities.

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