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Effects of sandy beach cusps on wrack accumulation, sediment characteristics and macrofaunal assemblages
- DUONG, H. L. STEPHANIE, FAIRWEATHER, PETER G.
- Austral ecology 2011 v.36 no.6 pp. 733-744
- beaches, fauna, habitats, macroalgae, nutrients, organic matter, particle size, sediments, South Australia
- Beachâcast marine macroalgae and seagrasses, collectively termed wrack, provide shelter and habitat for beach fauna and can often provide a large input of energy and nutrients to sandy beaches. Wrack deposition on sandy beaches varies spatially and could be affected by morphological features on the beach face such as cusps. This study tested a series of hypotheses regarding the differences in wrack deposits, sediments and macrofaunal assemblages between cusp bays and horns on two beaches in South Australia. Bays had greater cover and larger pieces of wrack than horns. Sediment organic matter content was greater on horns than in bays but mean particle size did not differ consistently between bays and horns. Macrofaunal diversity was higher in bays and this pattern was probably driven by differences in the cover of wrack between bays and horns. Cusp morphology thus influences the distribution of wrack on the beach face, which in turn influences the distribution of macrofauna. Studies of sandy beaches with cusps should therefore be explicitly designed to sample cusp features and associated wrack deposits.