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Macrobenthic communities of interconnected seascapes in the Bijagós Archipelago of Guinea-Bissau West Africa

Meijer, Kasper (2019) Macrobenthic communities of interconnected seascapes in the Bijagós Archipelago of Guinea-Bissau West Africa. Research Project 1, Ecology and Evolution.


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The coastal systems of the Bijagós Archipelago in Guinea Bissau consist of extensive mudflat and mangrove systems that are known to provide essential ecosystem services. The macrofaunal benthic community, which is important in the proper functioning of these systems, is also an essential food resource for commercial fish and large invertebrates, as well as to 700 000 wintering waders visiting the Archipelago each year. These mudflats are fringed by large extents of mangroves forest and the functioning of the entire system is poorly understood. Here, we investigated the benthic community composition as well as the environmental factors driving these communities at a landscape scale. We found a substantial positive effect of the mangrove forest on the species richness. The mangrove forest also affected the community composition of these intertidal flats directly as well as indirectly by negatively affecting the organic matter content in the soil and positively affecting the grain size. Additionally, we found low macroinvertebrate biomass overall but high estimates of secondary productivity. This could explain why the Bijagós intertidal systems are such an important wintering site for many waders along the East-Atlantic Flyway. Our findings help in understanding the complex interactions that shape intertidal benthic communities, as well as the importance of interconnectivity between habitats in shaping conservation plans.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Project 1)
Supervisor nameSupervisor E mail
Degree programme: Ecology and Evolution
Thesis type: Research Project 1
Language: English
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2019
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 09:45

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