The University of Auckland

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Disturbance-recovery dynamics of seafloor communities

This study was designed to evaluate the effects of shell debris on disturbance-recovery dynamics of macroinvertebrate animals inhabiting intertidal soft-sediments. We developed an experiment to test the effects of shell debris on the early colonization of macroinvertebrates along a gradient of increasing mud (a key stressor in coastal marine ecosystems) in the Okura Estuary, North Island, New Zealand (36°40'1.70"S/174°43'42.70"E). Twelve sites were established, tens of meters apart, at the mid-intertidal level that encompassed the mud-sand gradient (from 2-25 % mud). Defaunated sediment trays with and without shell debris were placed in each site (three replicates of each experimental treatment). Sediment samples from the background landscape and recolonization trays were collected after 14 days and macrofaunal abundances and composition were assessed and compared.


Data was collected with support from a New Zealand Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship from Government funding, administered by the Royal Society Te Apārangi, the Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation (University of Helsinki), and the University of Auckland, New Zealand.



University of Auckland

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Okura Estuary, New Zealand

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