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dc.contributor.authorDeidun, Alan-
dc.contributor.authorSchembri, Patrick J.-
dc.identifier.citationDeidun, A., & Schembri, P. J. (2008). Long or short? Investigating the effect of beach length and other environmental parameters on macrofaunal assemblages of Maltese pocket beaches. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 79(1), 17-23.en_GB
dc.description.abstractDespite numerous published studies that have evaluated the influence of different physical parameters, including beach slope, sediment organic content and grain size, on beach macrofaunal assemblages, very few studies have investigated the influence of beach length on biotic attributes of the same assemblages. Four beaches on the Maltese Islands were sampled using pitfall traps at night for eight consecutive seasons during 2001–2003. Macrofaunal collections were dominated by arthropods, mostly isopods (especially Tylos europaeus) and tenebrionid beetles (especially Phaleria spp.). The environmental variables of beach slope, exposure to wave action, sediment organic content, mean particle diameter, log beach length, beach width and the beach deposit index (BDI) were regressed against a number of biotic parameters, including log individual abundance, total species, Shannon–Wiener (H0) diversity index value and the psammophilic fraction of the total species collected, whilst BIO-ENV and NMDS were used to identify the physical parameter which could best explain observed biotic patterns. RELATE was used to assess the long-term persistence of macrofaunal assemblages on beaches of different lengths. Results from this study suggest that, whilst the influence of beach length and beach width on individual abundance and total species number is unimportant, these ‘beach-area’ parameters may affect the taxonomic composition of a beach assemblage, mainly in terms of the psammophilic fraction of assemblages, as well as the permanence of macrofaunal assemblages on a beach. Shorter and narrower beaches were found to be more prone to sporadic and random events of colonisation by euryoecious species. In the absence of human disturbance and mass mortality events, beaches of limited dimensions can still maintain stable macrofaunal assemblages. Individual abundance and total species number could not be related to a single or small suite of physical parameters. The study further highlights the need to include biological interactions, the degree of human disturbance and other variables such as environmental heterogeneity and the connectivity of the individual beaches when assessing inter-beach differences in macrofaunal assemblages.en_GB
dc.publisherElsevier Ltd.en_GB
dc.subjectBeaches -- Maltaen_GB
dc.subjectBiodiversity -- Maltaen_GB
dc.subjectSpecies diversity -- Maltaen_GB
dc.subjectPsammophis -- Maltaen_GB
dc.titleLong or short? Investigating the effect of beach length and other environmental parameters on macrofaunal assemblages of Maltese pocket beachesen_GB
dc.rights.holderThe copyright of this work belongs to the author(s)/publisher. The rights of this work are as defined by the appropriate Copyright Legislation or as modified by any successive legislation. Users may access this work and can make use of the information contained in accordance with the Copyright Legislation provided that the author must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the prior permission of the copyright holder.en_GB
dc.publication.titleEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Scienceen_GB
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