Benthic macrofauna structure in the northeast area of Todos os Santos Bay, Bahia State, Brazil: patterns of spatial and seasonal distribution

  • Ana Maria S Pires-Vanin Universidade de São Paulo; Instituto Oceanográfico; Laboratório de Ecologia Bêntica
  • Pablo Muniz Facultad de Ciencias; Sección Oceanología
  • Fabio Cabrera De Léo University of Hawaii at Manoa; Department of Oceanography
Keywords: Benthic ecosystem, Community structure, Macrofauna, Intertidal, Infralitoral, Todos os Santos Bay, Western Atlantic


Structure of intertidal and subtidal benthic macrofauna in the northeastern region of Todos os Santos Bay (TSB), northeast Brazil, was investigated during a period of two years. Relationships with environmental parameters were studied through uni-and multivariate statistical analyses, and the main distributional patterns shown to be especially related to sediment type and content of organic fractions (Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus), on both temporal and spatial scales. Polychaete annelids accounted for more than 70% of the total fauna and showed low densities, species richness and diversity, except for the area situated on the reef banks. These banks constitute a peculiar environment in relation to the rest of the region by having coarse sediments poor in organic matter and rich in biodetritic carbonates besides an abundant and diverse fauna. The intertidal region and the shallower area nearer to the oil refinery RLAM, with sediments composed mainly of fine sand, seem to constitute an unstable system with few highly dominant species, such as Armandia polyophthalma and Laeonereis acuta. In the other regions of TSB, where muddy bottoms predominated, densities and diversity were low, especially in the stations near the refinery. Here the lowest values of the biological indicators occurred together with the highest organic compound content. In addition, the nearest sites (stations 4 and 7) were sometimes azoic. The adjacent Caboto, considered as a control area at first, presented low density but intermediate values of species diversity, which indicates a less disturbed environment in relation to the pelitic infralittoral in front of the refinery. The results of the ordination analyses evidenced five homogeneous groups of stations (intertidal; reef banks; pelitic infralittoral; mixed sediments; Caboto) with different specific patterns, a fact which seems to be mainly related to granulometry and chemical sediment characteristics.


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How to Cite
Pires-Vanin, A., Muniz, P., & De Léo, F. (2011). Benthic macrofauna structure in the northeast area of Todos os Santos Bay, Bahia State, Brazil: patterns of spatial and seasonal distribution. Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, 59(1), 27-42.