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Effect of freshwater inflow on self-restoration of macrobenthic diversity in seaward intertidal wetlands influenced by reclamation projects in the Yangtze estuary, China

Lv, Weiwei, Zhou, Wenzong, Zhao, Yunlong
Marine pollution bulletin 2019 v.138 pp. 177-186
ecoregions, estuaries, freshwater, gravel, habitats, littoral zone, species richness, water pollution, wetlands, China
The Yangtze estuary is considered as an important eco-region of China, but it has been heavily disturbed by reclamation projects. We evaluated the effect of freshwater inflow on the self-restoration of macrobenthic diversity in 3-year-old vegetated, gravel, and mudflat habitats of reclaimed seaward intertidal wetlands. There was a significant self-restoration of species richness and diversity in vegetated and gravel habitats with no inflow of freshwater, but there were no significant changes in species diversity in three habitats subjected to freshwater inflow. Significant changes in community structures of macrobenthos occurred in vegetated and gravel habitats from pre- to post-restoration. Analysis of benthic health showed that gravel habitats were under moderate to high levels of disturbance in pre-restoration period. In contrast, there tended to be no evidence of disturbance in vegetated and mudflat habitats during two investigations. Restoration of macrobenthos is best achieved in vegetated habitats with on inflow of freshwater.