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The restoration of mud flats invaded by common cord-grass (Spartina anglica, CE Hubbard) using mechanical disturbance and its effects on the macrobenthic fauna

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christopher Frid


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1. The growth of the common cord-grass, Spartina anglica, across many temperate coastlines has resulted in a reduction in the extent of tidal flats. Its colonization has reduced the abundance of macrobenthic fauna and hence has had a direct effect on the feeding of shorebirds. Although the use of chemical methods has proven successful in controlling Spartina swards on tidal flats, factors such as environmental and human health concerns have stimulated a search for alternative control methods. However, any such control method must not impact the macrobenthic fauna. 2. The effectiveness of a physical disruption to control Spartina swards on tidal flats was investigated in the saltmarsh at Lindisfarne NNR, UK. The sediment was disturbed by a light-weight tracked vehicle until the Spartina swards were dislodged and buried within the sediment. The post-disturbance dynamics of the infauna in the disturbed area was investigated 1, 12, 31, 92 and 384 days after the disturbance. 3. In spite of the drastic change brought about in the flora, there was no evidence that the infauna were impacted by the disturbance at any sampling time. Two possible mechanisms to explain the absence of changes in the abundance of the infauna are discussed with special reference to the unconsolidated nature of the sediment and the high mobility of the adult infauna. The abundance of Spartina swards in the disturbed area was lower than that in the undisturbed area. Physical disturbance to Spartina swards by the tracked vehicle seems to be an appropriate method for its control in tidal flats which obviates the need, with associated financial costs and environmental risks, of chemical control.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Frid CLJ, Chandrasekara WU, Davey P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Year: 1999

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Pages: 47-61

Print publication date: 01/01/1999

ISSN (print): 1052-7613

ISSN (electronic): 1099-0755


DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0755(199901/02)9:1<47::AID-AQC326>3.0.CO;2-T


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