Gastropods and intertidal soft-sediments



Title Gastropods and intertidal soft-sediments : the case of Chilina ovalis Sowerby (Pulmonata: Basommatophora) in South-Central Chile
Author(s) Pedro A. Quijon, E. Jaramillo
Journal Veliger
Date 1999
Volume 42
Issue 1
Start page 72
End page 84
Abstract Field experiments (exclusion and inclusion of gastropods) were carried out in the intertidal of the Lingue River estuary (south-central Chile) during the summers of 1991 and 1992. Cages were used to analyze the effects of the snail Chilina ovalis Sowerby on the macroinfaunal community structure and the sedimentological properties of the top (1.5 cm) layer of the substrate. The experiments lasted 30 (1991) and 90 days (1992). We also studied the quality of sediment in snail trails versus sediment without trails, and the abundance and size structure of C. ovalis over a period of 15 months. In both field experiments, C. ovalis affected neither the macroinfaunal structure nor the sediment quality. Significant differences were detected for chlorophyll a content (phytobenthic biomass) when disturbed (trails sediment) versus undisturbed sediment were compared. The highest abundance of C. ovalis (up to 792 ind/m(-2)) occurred during summer months when the experiments were carried out. It is concluded that the disturbance of intertidal sediment by C. ovalis is quite local and of short duration, a situation which is discussed in connection with physical and biological factors involved in sediment stability and community organization of macroinfaunal assemblages.

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