Disentangling trawling impact from natural variability on benthic communities

Type Article
Date 2022-09
Language English
Author(s) Jac CyrielleORCID1, Desroy NicolasORCID2, Foveau AurélieORCID2, Vaz SandrineORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : MARBEC – Marine Biodiversity Exploitation and Conservation Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, MARBEC, F-34200, Sète, France
2 : LITTORAL-Unité Littoral Ifremer, LITTORAL, F-35800, Dinard, France
Source Continental Shelf Research (0278-4343) (Elsevier BV), 2022-09 , Vol. 247 , P. 104828 (17p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.csr.2022.104828
WOS© Times Cited 1
Keyword(s) Environmental factors, Trawling impact, Resilience, Resistance, Natural disturbance

Various environmental parameters such as temperature, depth and currents influence the composition and distribution of benthic assemblages. However, the impact of trawling on benthic communities depends on their species composition since not all benthic species are equally sensitive to trawling. Moreover, trawling can have effects on benthic species similar to some natural disturbances, such as a local increase in turbidity. Thus, species adapted to these natural disturbances may be resistant to a certain level of trawling. This study evaluates the joint influence of environmental parameters and trawling pressure on four functional sensitivity indices in three environmentally contrasted areas: the English Channel, the Gulf of Lion and the eastern coast of Corsica, the two latter being located in the Mediterranean Sea. The different environmental parameters influencing the behaviour of these indices were identified in each of the study areas. These parameters were divided into two groups according to the type of influence they have on the benthic community. The first group of variables, used for modeling “Scope for Growth” (SfG), relates to the resilience of species, while the second, “Disturbance” (Dist), concerns their resistance to physical impacts. This work highlighted that the distribution of benthic species in the English Channel is mainly linked to physical disturbances and therefore to their resistance, whereas it is mainly parameters linked to the resilience of communities that influence the distribution of benthic fauna in the Mediterranean. The effect of abrasion could be distinguished from the natural environmental disturbances in the English Channel and Gulf of Lion where trawling was found to have a significant effect on functional sensitivity indices. The composition and distribution of benthic communities in Corsica, did not seem to be influenced by trawling pressure.

Full Text
File Pages Size Access
Author's final draft 37 1 MB Open access
3 MB Access on demand
17 6 MB Access on demand
Top of the page