Presentation Abstract

Changes in habitat and benthic invertebrates indicate responses of the ecosystem to stressors. Since 1989, the Washington State Department of Ecology has monitored sediments and benthic invertebrate communities annually at ten sentinel stations. This is a unique and important dataset, providing yearly insights into benthic community structure and abundance cycles of individual species. Except where events destabilized the habitats and communities, the sediments at these ten long-term stations, and the invertebrate communities inhabiting them, have largely remained stable over time, though with some drift and cycles in species composition and abundance. A few of these long-term stations, however, have experienced profound change. Little to no relationship has been found between the sediment contaminants measured at these ten stations and the benthic communities. The lack of correlation likely relates to factors such as low contaminant levels, and cleanups and source control of point-source pollution. Annual changes at these stations will be discussed and placed in context with patterns seen at larger geographic scales. To date, benthos monitoring has included only count and species-level identification of organisms collected in sediment grabs. This numeric information, combined with functional feeding guild grouping, has provided insight into patterns of resource-use by the benthos. The sediment program is expanding its focus and adding new parameters, to assess the response of the benthos to pressures associated with nutrient loading and climate change. With this new emphasis, biomass measurements and other ecological function information (such as bioturbation rates, temperature sensitivity, tolerance to hypoxic conditions, etc.) will be explored to better understand benthic invertebrate community changes in response to current or future nutrient loading and climate change pressures in Puget Sound.

Session Title

Long-term Changes in Salish Sea Kelp Forests and the Benthos: Evidence of Response to Chemical Contaminants, Nutrient Loading, and Climate Change Pressures

Keywords

Long-term monitoring, Sediment

Conference Track

SSE16: Long-Term Monitoring of Salish Sea Ecosystems

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE16-400

Start Date

6-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

6-4-2018 11:45 AM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 6th, 11:30 AM Apr 6th, 11:45 AM

Lessons from long time-series of benthic invertebrate communities in the southern Salish Sea, and an expansion of parameters to assess nutrient loading and climate change pressures

Changes in habitat and benthic invertebrates indicate responses of the ecosystem to stressors. Since 1989, the Washington State Department of Ecology has monitored sediments and benthic invertebrate communities annually at ten sentinel stations. This is a unique and important dataset, providing yearly insights into benthic community structure and abundance cycles of individual species. Except where events destabilized the habitats and communities, the sediments at these ten long-term stations, and the invertebrate communities inhabiting them, have largely remained stable over time, though with some drift and cycles in species composition and abundance. A few of these long-term stations, however, have experienced profound change. Little to no relationship has been found between the sediment contaminants measured at these ten stations and the benthic communities. The lack of correlation likely relates to factors such as low contaminant levels, and cleanups and source control of point-source pollution. Annual changes at these stations will be discussed and placed in context with patterns seen at larger geographic scales. To date, benthos monitoring has included only count and species-level identification of organisms collected in sediment grabs. This numeric information, combined with functional feeding guild grouping, has provided insight into patterns of resource-use by the benthos. The sediment program is expanding its focus and adding new parameters, to assess the response of the benthos to pressures associated with nutrient loading and climate change. With this new emphasis, biomass measurements and other ecological function information (such as bioturbation rates, temperature sensitivity, tolerance to hypoxic conditions, etc.) will be explored to better understand benthic invertebrate community changes in response to current or future nutrient loading and climate change pressures in Puget Sound.